Finish your occupational therapy assistant degree in two years (only one if you have finished the prerequisites).
The Union College occupational therapy assistant program is an associate’s degree that will take 24-28 months to complete.
The first year is comprised of two semesters of general education and prerequisite courses. After you have completed these two semesters of courses, either at Union or somewhere else, you can apply to the OTA program and take the final two semesters of OTA coursework and 16 weeks of clinical fieldwork.
Our first OTA cohort is scheduled to launch in Fall 2019, but you can apply to Union now to start any prerequisites you may need to complete. All prerequisite classes are required to be completed prior to starting any core OTA class with exception of Abnormal Psychology and two credits of art or music. These classes will be taken concurrently in the first semester of Core OTA coursework. Graduation for our first OTA students would be in December of 2020.
Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapy assistants, 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, all 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.
Check out the admission requirements for Union's OTA degree program.
1. Fill out the Union College application for admission.
Click here to begin. Once you fill out the general college application, you will be contacted to supply additional information.
2. Meet the academic and observation criteria.
- ACT composite of 18 or greater.
- GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
- Complete a minimum of 20 observation hours. Hours must be documented on official Union College tracking forms and signed by the supervising therapist
Download the tracking sheet.
3. Meet minimum grade requirements.
- “B” in BOIL 111 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I
- “C” in HHPT 256 - Medical Terminology
Learn more about how we rank applicants.
Scoring and Ranking
Scoring is based on a weighted calculation of the applicant's academic performance, written essay, resume scoring and extra credit.
Points are awarded based on GPA and ACT score. If an applicant is transferring in 24 credits or more or has an associate's degree or higher but is not able to provide documented proof of their ACT scores they will receive credit for 4 points without documentation. Official documentation of ACT score will be required to be awarded points above the minimum score requirement of 18. The career center is available to assist with ACT, SAT and placement testing.
The written essay is scored by all committee members. The individual scores are then averaged to calculate the final points awarded. (see rubric)
A half a point (.5) is available as extra credit for each of the three listed AP courses taken (algebra, biology or chemistry). Total points available are equal to 1.5. Two (2) extra credit points are available to applicants with an associates degree or above in a healthcare related field and one (1) point for degrees outside of healthcare. An applicant is not able to claim both AP and degree-related extra credit, however, the higher of the two areas will be awarded. Extra credit is also available for life/work experience. Students who provide evidence of related life experiences through their written essay and resume can receive up to one additional point.
All applicants must complete an interview with Union College OTA faculty—either in person or by video conference.
What happens once you're accepted to the OTA program?
Steps after acceptance to the program
Attend informational session—Attendance is required. Information about this session will be included with the applicant's acceptance letter.
Submit program deposit—A non-refundable fee of $350 is required once admission to the program has been granted. This fee holds your program seat and is credited to your program fee at the start of the first semester of OTAC classes.
Background and drug test—Details on how to complete this requirement will be included in the applicant's acceptance letter.
Keep your grades up to ensure you'll be successful.
Maintaining good academic standing
An applicant must remain current with the OTA program pathway. All general education courses must be completed prior to beginning any OTAC classes with the exception of PSYC 415 and one course in art or music. These classes will be taken concurrently with the first year of OTAC coursework (click the item for more info).
1. Meet program-specific academic eligibility.
- Maintain a GPA of 2.5 on a 4 point scale
- Achieve a minimum grade of a “B” in BIOL 111 & 112 - Human Anatomy & Physiology I & I
2. Complete community service requirements.
A minimum of eight hours required yearly. This can be completed through Project Impact, which takes place every fall and is coordinated by Campus Ministries.
Additional volunteer hours are required in CORE 120 and OTAC 100 as part of the student's service learning project. These hours are considered part of the course requirements.