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Degree Overview

Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant

South University 2018 Graduation

The Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant program at South University Virginia Beach prepares qualified students to become occupational therapy practitioners. The program prepares students with knowledge and skills for competent entry-level practice in a variety of contexts for an ever-changing world. Occupational Therapy (OT) is a profession that promotes the health and well-being of people across their lifespan and aims to 'treat the whole person' to help individuals perform meaningful and purposeful daily activities. Occupational therapy assistants work with people of all ages who have physical, psychological, or developmental conditions to help them gain or regain skills lost due to injury or illness to regain or accommodate the loss of motion, strength, coordination, sensation, perception, cognition, or balance. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program further seeks to lead the profession and community through its contributions in educational leadership, community and professional service, learning, and scholarship.

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education

The occupational therapy assistant program at South University, Virginia Beach is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA.
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, most 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 Requirements

Please see the South University academic catalog for program specific admissions requirements.

Career Outlook

Areas of practice for OTA's include pediatrics, mental health, physical disabilities, and geriatrics, working with people who have cancer, cardiopulmonary, metabolic, musculoskeletal, neurologic, neuromuscular, orthopedic, sensory conditions, and more.

Practice settings include but are not limited to acute care hospitals, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, public and private school systems, and private practice.



If you are interested in pursuing a career as an occupational therapy assistant, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent and an associate’s degree from an accredited program offering the occupational therapy assistant curriculum. Individuals graduating from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at South University will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Once all academic and fieldwork requirements are completed, students apply to take a national certification exam that is administered online by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Program performance data on the NBCOT certification examination is available for public viewing by state and program level:

Upon successful completion of this exam, individuals may use the designation COTA following their name. NBCOT re-certifies occupational therapy practitioners every three years and has set continuing education requirements as part of that process.

The practice of occupational therapy is regulated in all 50 states; different states have various types of regulation that range from licensure, the strongest form of regulation, to title protection or trademark law, the weakest form of regulation.

Be sure to contact the licensing department in your intended state of practice to obtain the appropriate information specific to you.

The Web site address for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) is

Virginia Beach OTA Performance Data on NBCOT Certification Exam

Program performance data on the NBCOT certification examination is available for public viewing by state and program level:


Graduation Rates

Graduation Rate for OTA Program at South University, Virginia Beach

The total number of students graduating from the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at South University, Virginia Beach, during the 3-year period of January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2018 is listed below. (Note: No students entered this OTA Program until Summer 2016).

 Year Students Enter/Graduate OTA Program Number of Students Newly Enrolled Number of Students Who Graduated Graduation Rate
Cohort 1: Summer 2016, graduating Fall 2017 6 6 100%*
Cohort 2: Winter 2017, graduating Spring 2018 7 6 86%**
Cohort 3: Summer 2017, graduating Fall 2018 5 4 80%***
*Cohort 1: Five students graduated Fall 2017, one student graduated Fall 2018.
**Cohort 2: Five students graduated Spring 2018, one student graduated Fall 2018. One student who entered but did not graduate was dismissed for academic reasons.
***Cohort 3: Four students graduated Fall 2018. One student who entered but did not graduate was dismissed for academic reasons.
NOTE: This information is posted in compliance with ACOTE Standard A.4.2. Accurate and current information regarding student and program outcomes must be readily available to the public on the program's Web page. At a minimum, the following data must be reported for the previous 3 years: Total number of program graduates and graduation rates.

NOTE: Graduation rate is determined by dividing the number of students newly enrolled in a cohort of the Professional OTA Program by the number of students in that cohort who successfully complete degree requirements within 150% of the published length of the Professional OTA Curriculum, or within nine quarters, which includes time enrolled.

Course Requirements

Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant: 109 Credits

Offered South University, Richmond and South University, Virginia Beach only.

This program is a technical program and credits generally earned in this program are not applicable to other degrees.

Area I Core Curriculum: 43 Credits
1st Quarter
AHS1001 Medical Terminology, 4 Credit Hours
ENG1100 Composition I, 4 Credit Hours
PSY1001 General Psychology, 4 Credit Hours
MAT1001 College Algebra I, 4 Credit Hours


MAT1005 College Algebra II, 4 Credit Hours

Note: Students will only be required to take UVC1000 Strategies for Success if they are required to take ENG0099 and/or MAT0099.

2nd Quarter
BIO1011 Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 Credit Hours

(must be taken concurrently with BIO 1012Anatomy and Physiology I Lab)

BIO1012 Anatomy and Physiology I Lab, 2 Credit Hours
ENG1200 Composition II, 4 Credit Hours
PSY2022 Human Growth and Development, 4 Credit Hours
3rd Quarter
BIO1013 Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 Credit Hours

(must be taken concurrently with BIO 1014 Anatomy and Physiology II Lab)

BIO1014 Anatomy and Physiology II Lab, 2 Credit Hours
OTA1001 Introduction to Occupational Therapy, 3 Credit Hours
SPC1026 Public Speaking, 4 Credit Hours
Area II Professional Curriculum: 66 Credits
4th Quarter
OTA1011 Medical Conditions, 3 Credit Hours
OTA1020 Occupational Analysis I, 4 Credit Hours
OTA1031 Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 5 Credit Hours
OTA1039 Level I Fieldwork in Mental Health, 1 Credit Hour
OTA1045 Professional Documentation, 1 Credit Hour
5th Quarter
OTA2020 Occupational Analysis II, 4 Credit Hours
OTA2031 Occupational Therapy for Children and Adolescents, 5 Credit Hours
OTA2039 Level I Fieldwork for Children and Adolescents, 1 Credit Hour
OTA2041 Movement for Human Occupation, 4 Credit Hours
6th Quarter
OTA2051 Occupational Therapy for Adults and the Elderly, 5 Credit Hours
OTA2059 Level I Fieldwork for Adults and the Elderly, 1 Credit Hour
OTA2060 Occupational Therapy Management, 4 Credit Hours
OTA2071 Community Practice, 2 Credit Hours
OTA2080 Professional Issues, 2 Credit Hours
7th Quarter
OTA2380 Level II Fieldwork A, 8 Credit Hours
OTA2385 Fieldwork Seminar A, 4 Credit Hours
8th Quarter
OTA2390 Level II Fieldwork B, 8 Credit Hours
OTA2395 Fieldwork Seminar B, 4 Credit Hours


The program goals of the South University, Virginia Beach Occupational Therapy Assistant Program are as follows:

  • Prepare occupational therapy assistants who appreciate and adapt to diverse and alternative cultures, settings, systems, processes, and ideas.
  • Foster student skill in accessing relevant literature and information, using research-based evidence to make informed decisions in occupational therapy practice.
  • Cultivate student skill in effective critical thinking, problem-solving, and clinical reasoning with clients across the lifespan in diverse practice settings.
  • Foster development of student’s communication skills to promote effective, appropriate interaction with all stakeholders.
  • Instill in the student the values, attitudes and behaviors consistent with the occupational therapy profession's philosophy, standards and ethics.
  • Provide the student with opportunities to acquire skills in advocacy for the profession of occupational therapy to other professionals, service providers, consumers, third-party payers,regulatory bodies, professional associations and the public.
  • Provide the student with a challenging curriculum that prepares students to deliver occupational therapy assistant services with entry-level competency under the supervision of an occupational therapist in a variety of practice settings.
  • Impart to the student a passion for lifelong professional development to meet changing societal needs.
  • Provide ongoing opportunities for stakeholders in the OTA Program to have input into the development and evaluation of the OTA Program in ensure the Program remains true to its mission and philosophy.

Learn More

Occupational Therapy Assistant at South University

When someone is in need, are you quick to lend a hand? Have you often been described as a good listener?  As you choose your own career path, it is important to think about areas where you naturally excel in day-to-day life. those everyday talents - such as showing compassion, paying attention to detail, and even physical strength - will serve you well as an occupational therapy assistant. We invite you to find out more by contacting the Admissions Department at South University. Let us help point you in the right direction as you explore your future career path

Success Stories

Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers

We're committed to helping our graduates make an impact in their professional and personal lives. We applaud our alumni and the difference they make. Check out what some of our healthcare graduates have to say.

Jason Miller 2017
Jason Miller Grad Alumni
Class of '17
Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant

“South University pushed me hard - to the limits of my mental capacity - and that brought out the best in me.”

Jay Bodalia 2006
Jay Bodalia Grad Alumni
Class of '06
Master of Medical Science in Anesthesiologist Assistant

“I was working as a neonatal pediatric respiratory therapist, and after five years I had reached my maximum potential. I had friends who were in AA school, and I saw how much they enjoyed it”

Jennifer DAngelo 2018
Jennifer DAngelo Grad Alumni
Bachelor of Health Sciences

“I needed a program that would support my professional and academic goals in addition to understanding my family obligations. South University did that and so much more. South University and their compassionate staff and educators never stopped encouraging me to follow my dreams. From helping me with class schedule adjustments to providing financial aid services, they always assisted me in my time of need.”

Jessica Patel 2009
Jessica Patel Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

“I was really seeking a more productive environment, and the possibility of one-on-one relationships with professors, and I've found it. At South, I have a number of favorite teachers, and I simply feel like I belong here because I'm surrounded by kind, friendly people -- and especially by professors who are helpful and accessible! I think I have really good role models for my work, and how I want to see myself in the workplace someday.”

John Fulton 2009
John Fulton Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

“As soon as I got here, I really felt like the  courses suited my personality.”

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