How Long it Takes to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Associate’s degree program in occupational therapy assisting

This program usually takes about 2 years to complete if you study full-time. If you choose to study part-time, it may take longer, depending on the pace at which you complete the required coursework.

Fieldwork experience

Fieldwork is often integrated into the OTA program and typically consists of at least 16 weeks of supervised practice. Some programs may require more fieldwork hours or distribute the hours differently throughout the program. The duration of fieldwork may also depend on your availability and the availability of fieldwork sites.

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National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam

The amount of time needed to prepare for the exam will vary based on your background and study habits. Some candidates may need a few weeks to a few months of dedicated study time to feel prepared. Once you are ready, you will need to schedule and take the exam, which typically lasts around 4 hours.

State licensure

The process of obtaining state licensure can vary depending on the state’s requirements and processing times. Generally, you can expect this step to take a few weeks to a few months. This includes time spent gathering necessary documentation, completing the application, and waiting for the review and approval process.

Considering the steps above, it takes approximately 2 years of education, an additional 16 weeks (or more) for fieldwork experience, and then some extra time for exam preparation, taking the certification exam, and obtaining state licensure. Overall, it may take around 2.5 to 3 years (or more) to become an OTA, depending on various factors such as your study pace, exam preparation, and the state licensure process.

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