Main Content

Frequently Asked Questions

Occupational Therapy Assistant Education

  1. What is the difference between an Occupational Therapist (OT) and an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
    OTs are now required to complete a Master’s degree program, while an OTA completes a certificate or 2-year degree.  OTs evaluate and develop intervention plans and are responsible for supervising OTAs.  After being certified and licensed, OTAs may provide OT services under the supervision of an OT.
  1. What does COTA mean?
    C
    ertified Occupational Therapy Assistant.  A person becomes certified after completing an accredited program and sitting for the NBCOT Certification Examination.  (NBCOT = National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy)
  1.  Where are graduates from Allegany College of Maryland getting jobs?
    Graduates are employed at local facilities such as:  The Western Maryland Health System, Flagship (company contract in local nursing homes), School Therapy Services, and The Hand Institute.
  1. Is the program offered at ACM accredited?
    Yes.  Initial accreditation was given December 1993.  Re-accreditation status was granted August 2005.
  1. How much do graduates from ACM earn?
    Starting
    salaries vary depending on the facility and its location.  In the immediate Cumberland area, graduates are earning $12-$14 per hour.  In larger cities, graduates can earn up to $15-$20 starting salary.  Salaries can range from $22,000 - $35,000 per year.
  1. If I attend AC and become a COTA, can I return to school and become an OTR?
    Several AC graduates have returned to OT school and are now working as OTRs.  You can choose a traditional Monday through Friday OT program, but most of our OTA graduates choose the weekend option.  This allows the COTA to work full-time or part-time while earning their degree to become and OTR.

    You will need to contact the specific university you would like to attend to be sure credits will transfer.  Most OTA graduates will remain at AC and complete general education courses before actually transferring to a university for OT school.

    For a list of OT schools, contact American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) at 1-800-SAY-AOTA.
  1. Do ACM graduates pass the NBCOT Certification Examination?
    The passing rate has always been higher than the national average.  For graduating years 2010-2012

                            2010 = 92%

                            2011 = 100%

                            2012 = 96%

  1. If I graduate from a Maryland School such as ACM, can I work in PA or WV?
    After completing the 2-year program, you will be eligible to sit for the NBCOT Certification Examination.  Once you pass this Examination, you can apply for licensure in any state in the US as well as in other countries.
  1. What classes do I need to be eligible for ACM’s OTA program?
    Please view the Plan of Study
  1. If I complete classes at another college or university, will my credits transfer to ACM?
    All courses are evaluated to determine if they will transfer.  Generally, general education courses transfer, but you will need to contact the Admissions Office and send official transcripts for the course evaluation.
  1. Is there financial aid available for OTA students?
    There are several OTA scholarships specifically for OTA students through our Foundation.  Students can also apply for grants.  Contact our Financial Aid Office for additional financial assistance.