The Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Cayuga Community College’s Fulton Campus prepares the student to serve as an entry-level Occupational Therapy Assistant, and admits students every Fall semester.

Nursing student helping an elderly woman


The next semester to apply for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at the Fulton Campus will be the Fall 2021 semester.

Admission to the OTA program is a two-application process. Applicants must fill out the Admissions application and an OTA Admission Application. Completion of these two applications does not guarantee admission to the program. The application deadline for the Fall 2021 Program is April 15, 2021.

Step 1: Apply to Cayuga as a new, degree-seeking student

Step 2: Complete the OTA Admissions Application

Step 3: Submit Official High School/TASC/GED and AP/IB/College Transcripts

Step 4: Take the OTA Entrance Exam

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For more information about this program, contact Joan Meyers, Director of Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, at jmeyer10@cayuga-cc.edu.


Upcoming Information Sessions for Fall 2021 OTA Admission
Day Date Time
Thursday November 5, 2020 3:00 PM (as part of virtual Open House)
Monday January 11, 2021 7:00 PM (virtual)
Tuesday February 2, 2021 3:00 PM (virtual)
Wednesday March 3, 2021 7:00 PM (virtual)


The occupational therapy assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). ACOTE has granted a 7-year accreditation of Cayuga’s OTA program which is the maximum accreditation period granted for new programs. AOTA is located at:

6116 Executive Boulevard
Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929

ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA, and its Web address is https://acoteonline.org/. 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 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.



The growing demand for occupational therapy services is a product of the country’s aging population along with ongoing changes in the delivery of healthcare services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of OTAs will increase 32 percent by 2029. The New York State Department of Labor reports the average salary for an entry-level OTA is $42,960 in NYS. The average salary for all OTAs within NYS is $63,270.


Occupational therapy practitioners use purposeful activities to help individuals of all ages gain the skills to perform the everyday things that they need and want to do. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants work with individuals who are experiencing limitations as a result of physical injury, illness, developmental disability, the aging process, or psychological or social issues.

An OTA might:

  • help children with developmental delays improve fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills for increased participation in classroom activities.
  • help clients regain daily living skills after hip replacement or stroke.
  • educate patients in the use of adaptive equipment to ensure safety and independence upon discharge from the hospital.
  • work with individuals who have experienced injuries in order to modify work environments and establish a graded return to work programs.
  • develop coping strategies for clients overcoming mental health issues.


The skills of occupational therapy professionals can be applied to a variety of traditional and emerging practice settings.

Traditional practice settings include:
Hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, schools, private homes, and community agencies.

Emerging areas of practice include:
Health and wellness programs, sheltered workshops, veteran’s programs, animal-assisted therapy programs, activities director, driver rehabilitation training, assistive technology consulting, and home modifications consulting.


Registered Occupational Therapist (OTR): The OTR has earned an entry-level master’s degree, passed the national certification examination given by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and is licensed to practice by NYS. OTRs evaluate clients, establish treatment plans, and supervise occupational therapy assistants.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA): The COTA has earned an associate’s degree at an accredited institution, has passed the national certification exam given by NBCOT and is licensed to practice in NYS. In traditional practice settings, the COTA carries out the treatment plan under the supervision of the OTR.

The educational preparation for training as an occupational therapist and as an occupational therapy assistant are two distinct paths of study resulting in two distinct but complementary roles. An OTA student considering a transfer to an OT program at a different institution is subject to the requirements and transfer policies of that institution.


After successful completion of the OTA program, students will be able to:

  • Accurately gather information regarding the client’s performance of occupations.
  • Demonstrate entry-level competency in performing the skills required to meet the objectives of an intervention plan.
  • Demonstrate mature, responsible workplace behaviors.
  • Customize intervention strategies, activities, and environments to maximize client outcomes.
  • Utilize effective verbal, nonverbal and written communication.


Upon completion of the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program, the graduate will earn an Associate in Applied Science degree and will be prepared as an entry-level OTA.

Program coursework consists of general education classes focusing on biology, English, the social sciences and OTA professional classes. The OTA program incorporates the use of classroom, laboratory and fieldwork experiences toward the development of the therapeutic skills and professional behaviors necessary for effective practice.

NOTE: OTA professional classes are typically offered only on the Fulton campus. Other required courses may be taken on either campus or online. The program admits students every Fall. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, at this time some OTA courses or portions of OTA courses are being taught through distance learning.

OTA courses are offered one time per year and must be taken in sequence starting in the Fall semester.

The OTA curriculum includes 4 required fieldwork rotations. Students travel to community settings for each of the two Clinical and Community Practice fieldwork courses outside of scheduled class times. Two Level II fieldwork courses comprise the final semester of the program, and each consists of 8 weeks of full-time supervised training in a clinical setting. Students gain in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients of various ages, backgrounds and conditions. Level II fieldwork may require special housing. Transportation to all fieldwork sites is the responsibility of the student.

NOTE: Students are required to take OTA 120, Clinical and Community Practice IB fieldwork course during the 10-week summer session after successful completion of the second semester of the program. The summer course is offered only in this sequence and is a requirement for continuation as a third-semester student and for graduation within the stated time line. Students may not be eligible for financial aid during the summer session.


New full- and part-time students seeking admission to the OTA program must file both a Cayuga Community College application and an application to the OTA program. Preadmission requirements pertaining to medical or disabling conditions are prohibited by regulation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For students with documented functional limitations, reasonable accommodations will be made through Cayuga’s Office of Accessibility Resources. The application deadline for the Fall 2021 Program is April 15, 2021.


The curriculum is a recommended two-year course sequence. All students are required to complete all graduation requirements within four years from the start of enrollment in the first OTA course. OTA 210 and OTA 211 (both level II fieldwork courses) must be completed within 18 months of completing the academic portion of the curriculum.

OTA courses are offered one time per year and must be taken in sequence starting in the Fall semester.