Applied Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Occupational Therapy Assistants are in high demand, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 31% growth from 2018-2028 (much higher than average). New Jersey is the second-highest state for salaries, and the Newark area is the top in the state, with an average salary of $69,530.

Preparing Tomorrow’s Healthcare Leaders

Occupational therapy is a client-centered health profession. Using a holistic approach, occupational therapists facilitate improved capability in their clients and then adapt the task and environment, empowering the person to resume their meaningful occupations.

Occupational therapists work with clients of all ages from diverse cultures in a variety of treatment settings. Occupational therapy assistants work in collaboration with the occupational therapist to improve the health and well being of their clients within an ever-changing environment. Our students learn that inter-professional collaboration with other healthcare professionals improves client care and how sociopolitical issues impact vulnerable populations as well as global health care systems.

Through hands-on practice, our students learn the latest treatment techniques and interventions in a state-of-the-art lab in order to incorporate evidence-based interventions into their practice. The occupational therapy assistant program is a community of faculty, staff, and students who are ethical, caring, and compassionate. We foster strong leaders who practice in a dynamic global healthcare climate and who are passionate about their beliefs and advocacy position in caring for clients, families, and communities.

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The Felician University Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, within the framework of Catholic tradition and commitments to Franciscan values, strives to prepare a diverse student population with a customized education that provides the technical knowledge and professional skills required by current and emerging local, state, and national occupational therapy markets. The program has established high educational standards to facilitate the development of the professions, future leaders, to provide collaborative, effective, client-centered, outcome-based occupational therapy services within the ever-changing environments and demands in healthcare.


  • Students will demonstrate knowledge and appreciation of the client’s sociocultural background’s impact on health and participation in occupations and respect for the treatment of others in diverse settings. (Respect)
  • Students will uphold the Christian concepts of service and will advocate for and provide competent, compassionate care to those experiencing occupational dysfunction or deprivation. (Compassion)
  • Students will demonstrate a quest for truth and provide current evidence-based efficient effective client-centered care. (Competence)
  • Students will transform into health care professionals who communicate and demonstrate the use of self effectively as members of a health care team. (Character)
  • To educate, through a variety of learning experiences, a diversity of students that will become committed life-long learners who practice a client-centered approach that upholds the Franciscan values. (Diversity)
  • Students will use critical thinking as a basis for ethical decision making while engaging in peaceful interactions both in and out of the classroom, celebrating diversity, and providing service to others. (Service Learning)

The Felician University values (Respect for Human Dignity, Compassion, Transformation, Solidarity with the Poor, Justice, and Peace). are foundational to the OT Program philosophy, values, and beliefs. The OTA Program’s beliefs and values form the basis for curriculum design, delivery, assessment, and directed change. The OTA Program philosophy continues to evolve and respond to changes in the profession and to ensure relevance with current professional practice.  The faculty continuously engage in focused assessment and analysis of the educational program to make reasoned decisions for curricular changes based on current best practices, policy changes, and emerging practice areas that will affect the profession.

The transformation from student to the clinician can only effectively occur within a collaborative, supportive environment. Students are the future leaders of the occupational therapy profession. Membership in student and professional organizations and interdisciplinary experiences facilitate their ability to collaborate with members of other professions, as they learn the art of teamwork.    Both students and faculty are involved in an ongoing in a continuous learning process as they advocate for the advancement of the profession of occupational therapy.

A curricular focus on a foundation of interprofessional collaboration, breadth and depth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences, and an understanding of issues related to diversity, will thread through the courses and is reflected in requirements for program completion.

Opportunities for students to choose and pursue areas of interest, to direct their own learning, and to participate in inter-professional experiences will be built into the course projects, service learning, and fieldwork experiences, as faculty take on the roles of facilitators and mentors.


Program Requirements

  • Proof of current CPR certification from the American Heart Association – BLS for the Health Care Provider.
  • Proof of current health clearance issued by the Felician University Center for Health.
  • A positive drug test will result in the student being denied entry into clinical practice.
  • Adherence to a criminal history background checks as required by a clinical agency. The agency reserves the right to exclude a student from their site, based on the result of their
  • Proof of membership in the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA).
  • Standardized testing is used throughout the curriculum. Specifics in the use of standardized testing are contained within individualized course syllabi.
  • Degree requirements must be completed within 3 years from the start of the program. This time limit includes leaves-of-absence. Students who do not complete the program requirements within this time frame may be required to complete additional coursework.
  • Additional proof of vaccinations required; see student handbook for details.

Graduates are strongly encouraged to sit for the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam no later than 6 months after program completion. Graduates who opt to take the exam beyond this are advised to contact the Program Director who can recommend mentoring and remediation activities to prepare for the exam.


Upon successful completion of both the classroom and fieldwork components, students are awarded an Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS). In order to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, a student must graduate from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 300, Bethesda, MD, 20814-3449. Their phone number is (301) 652-AOTA, and the web address is The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Felician University has applied for accreditation by ACOTE which begins with a Candidacy Application on December 16, 2019. Upon receipt of Candidacy Status from ACOTE, students can be admitted into the program, which will begin in the fall of 2020. After a review of self-study and on-site evaluation, the University would be granted full accreditation in Spring 2022, prior to student graduation in May 2022. A program must be granted accreditation status before it’s graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of the exam, the individual will be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Admission Criteria

The OTA program will use a holistic admission process that supports a diverse student body. In this way, the University’s diversity and inclusion goals are supported. A well- developed rubric will combine quantitative data and qualitative indicators such as letters of recommendation, work experience, and career goals.

Application requirements for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program include:

  • Submit a completed Application.
  • Provide an official U.S. high school transcript indicating successful completion, or official documentation of a U.S. GED or provide documentation establishing successful completion of secondary school through homeschooling, as defined by the law of the State in which the homeschooling was provided.
  • Official sealed transcripts from all institutions attended.
  • Successfully completed chemistry or physics and biology at the high school or college level with a minimum of C within 3 years of initial start.
  • Attain minimum placement scores related to SAT 980 or ACT 20.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.5 from the last institution attended.
  • A letter of intent providing a description of why Felician University’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program was chosen by the applicant and how the program aligns with the applicant’s intended career goals.
  • Volunteer Hours.
  • A Minimum of 4 hours in a pediatric setting.
  • A Minimum of 4 hours in a geriatric setting.
  • A Minimum of 5 hours in a community setting.
  • Completed Volunteer Form for each setting.

Students will sign a disclosure documenting their knowledge that a negative background check may exclude them from clinical rotations prohibiting them from completing the program and obtaining licensure

Students will sign a disclosure documenting their knowledge that the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Felician University is in the Initial Accreditation Process.

Interview with the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director or designee.

The Program Director will subsequently complete the OTA Program Admissions Rubric. This rubric considers GPA, SAT/ACT scores success in prerequisite courses, observation experience, writing sample, prior degrees, and work in a related field such as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Last updated Jul 2020

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About the School

Founded in 1942 by the Felician Sisters, Felician University is one of the few Franciscan universities in the country, and the only one in New Jersey. We’ve built our reputation with an emphasis on se ... Read More

Founded in 1942 by the Felician Sisters, Felician University is one of the few Franciscan universities in the country, and the only one in New Jersey. We’ve built our reputation with an emphasis on service and respect for humanity, as was the dream of Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska - the foundress of the Felician Sisters more than a century ago. Even today, we strive to represent those values in everything we do. Read less