Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant

Degree Awarded: 
Associate of Applied Science Degree

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is still accepting applications for the Fall 2018 cohort. Applications may be considered on a space available basis.

Associate in Applied Science (AAS) programs are designed to provide preparation for entry level employment and are not intended for transfer. Certain courses in AAS degree programs may be accepted by a four year college or university for transfer credit in an associated field of study.

  • To learn more about the faculty and staff of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, click here.
  • To see Jefferson College of Health Sciences Catalog, with the Occupational Therapy Assistant section beginning on page 131, click here.

To view the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program “Online Information Session” click here.

Following viewing of the Online Information Session, a short quiz must be taken and submitted. These two components are part of the OTA Program application process. For further information regarding the admission requirements, please scroll down.

General Information

The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Jefferson College of Health Sciences is the oldest OTA program in Virginia, established in 1992.

Our small class size (average 25 students) allows for more individualized instruction and hands-on participation in the classroom. Students range in age from recent high school graduates to individuals returning to school to prepare a second career. These differences in age and life experiences make for lively discussions in classes as we explore different roles people assume throughout their life span. Awareness of cultural diversity is an important tenet of the profession and our student body reflects this diversity.

Philosophy and General Program Information

Our faculty believes students learn best by participation in active learning experiences. As a result, lectures may involve student presentations followed by labs where new techniques can be practiced. Our faculty to student lab ratio of 1 to 12 allows the faculty to get to know students personally. Involvement in professional activities and associations allows for more interaction both personally and professionally in the development of leadership and advocacy.

Part of the education process in this program is for the students to experience hands-on patient interactions. Fieldwork experiences provide these opportunities. Our academic fieldwork coordinator places students in facilities where their clinical skills can best be developed. Fieldwork placements can be local or long distance depending on availability.

Student may take all the courses required for this degree at Jefferson College, or may transfer any of the general education courses from other institutions, as deemed appropriate by the Registrar. All professional courses (those with OTA prefixes) must be taken at Jefferson College. Graduates from the OT Assistant program have consistently scored higher than the national average on the national certification examination.

Our graduates are generally employed within six weeks of graduation. It is not unusual for employers to contact our OTA Program for recruitment purposes. The program maintains a strong reputation for excellence throughout the state of Virginia and the nation. 


The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at:

c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449

The telephone number for ACOTE (c/o AOTA) is 301-652-2682 or (301-652-AOTA). The web site link is

Admission Requirements: 

Admissions General Information and Deadlines: Applicants are encouraged to use the College’s Early Action plan. Individuals who submit their application and transcripts by November 15th will receive early notification regarding their status for an OTA Program interview no later than December 31st. Those selected for interviews must meet all admission requirements (see below) by February 1st to guarantee their interview. Individuals applying after November 15th, must meet all admission requirements (see below) by February 1st to be considered for an interview. However, applicants are encouraged to complete all admission requirements prior to this date to have a greater chance of being selected for an interview.

Selected applicants will be invited for an on-campus interview and essay. Meeting all admission requirements does not guarantee an interview. Applicants will be notified of an admissions decision no later than March

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed application form.
  • GPA of 2.5 or higher, as documented on official transcripts.
  • Completed OTA Information Session (on-campus or online). The online OTA information session can be found here.
  • Submission of a portfolio. This document should be submitted electronically or in paper format, not in a hard binder. The portfolio should document the applicant’s experience, achievements, and growth. Common portfolio items may include but are not limited to: resume, personal statement, healthcare exposure (identify profession; setting; paid, unpaid, or as a patient; number of hours), community service (identify organization and population, including estimated number of hours), leadership experience, examples of performance excellence, sample works, honors, awards, special projects, and letters of recommendation.

For more information about the OTA Program at Jefferson, or to submit portfolios, contact:
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Admissions Office
101 Elm Avenue, SE
Roanoke, VA 24013-2222
Attn: Stacy Pronko

Other Information: 
Other Information

Certification and Licensure Information

Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. It is recommended that OTA program applicants who have a felony conviction apply for “Early Determination and Character Review” to determine their potential to sit for the national certification examination.

Information about the National Certification Exam can be found at

Information about licensure for Virginia Occupational Therapy Assistants can be found at

Student and Program Outcomes

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2014 23/18 78%
2015 25/20 80%
2016 19/18 95%
Total 67/56 84%

Information regarding JCHS OTA graduate pass rates on the national certification examination can be found on the following website: