National Credential
Credential: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)  In-Demand resource  GI Bill resource  NCCA resource  ANSI resource
Credentialing Agency: National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)

Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA) validates individuals ability to provide services for people suffering from mental, physical, emotional or developmental impairments. Occupational therapist assistants work under the direction of occupational therapists in a variety of healthcare settings, including outpatient treatment centers and clinics. They monitor patients' activities, record progress and document billing. This is a mid level certification. Applicants must hold an associate degree from an accredited occupational therapy program recognized by NBCOT and complete all fieldwork requirements to qualify to sit for the exam.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Renewal Period: 3 years

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

The following Army Occupations provide training and/or experience that contributes to attaining this credential:

Personnel Category Occupation Occupation Type Related As Promotion Points Skill Level Star Proponent Funded Gap Analysis
Enlisted 68L Occupational Therapy Specialist MOS most  Promotion Points: This certification has been approved for promotion points. Click for more information. I Star credentialStar    

Army Table Legend


Related As

The military occupations shown in this table are related to this credential in one of four ways: Most, Some, or Other.

Most: This credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Some: This credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (related 80% to at least one or more critical tasks but less than 80% of all of the entire military occupation). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Other: This credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience.

Promotion Points Promotion Points icon

This credential has been approved for promotion points for this MOS towards promotion to Sergeant and Staff Sergeant. Clicking the Promotion Points icon will open a link to the promotion points fact sheet.

Skill Level Designation

Skill Level I: This skill level consists of all Soldiers in the ranks of Private (pay grade E-1) up to Specialist (pay grade E-4). Time in Service (TIS) is generally between initial entry and four Years of Service (YOS). This skill level is Entry-level positions requiring performance of tasks under direct supervision.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level I
  • Basic Leader Course (BLC)

Skill Level II: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Sergeant (paygrade E-5). TIS is generally between 4-8 YOS. Positions requiring performance of more difficult tasks under general supervision; and in some instances, involving supervision of Soldiers in SL1.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level II
  • Advance Leader Course (ALC)

Skill Level III: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Staff Sergeant (paygrade E-6). TIS is generally between 8-12 YOS. Positions requiring performance of still more difficult tasks and involving first line supervision of Soldiers in SL1 & SL2.

Institutional training:

  • Senior Leader Course (SLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level III

Skill level IV: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class (paygrade E-7). TIS is generally between 12-18 YOS. Positions requiring relatively detailed knowledge of all tasks specified for a given MOS, normally involving first-line supervision of Soldiers in SLs 1, 2, and 3, and involving managerial duties.

Institutional training:

  • Master Leader Course (MLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level IV
  • Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME) I Course

Skill level V: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (paygrade E-8). TIS is generally between 18-22 YOS. Positions requiring direct and indirect leadership roles with expertise in company and battalion-level operations and competency across a given CMF, serving as members of a staff at every level in the Army, with a full understanding of the allocation of resources and their utilization in order to accomplish Army functions and missions.

Institutional training:

  • United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level V

Skill level VI: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeants Major (paygrade E-9). TIS is generally between 22-30 YOS. Positions requiring organizational leadership roles with multi-dimensional expertise in units and teams on division, corps, and Army staffs, integrated with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) partners with a full understanding of the Force Generation process, operations at all echelons, and how the Army runs.

Star Credential Star icon

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improve the MOS technical proficiency.

Proponent Funded Funded icon

This icon indicates credentials which Soldiers may have funded through their MOS proponent. Some proponents offer credentialing opportunities in conjunction with military training and/or as part of MOS development beyond the training base.

Gap Analysis Has Analysis icon

A detailed analysis comparing the credential requirements to the military occupation has been completed. Click on the gap analysis icon to view the analysis page.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Eligibility Requirements ()

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed below are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

  • Credential Prerequisite
  • Experience
  • Education: Associates
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Renewal Period: 3 years

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
12 South Summit Avenue
Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD  20877-4150
Phone: (301) 990-7979
Fax: (301) 869-8492
Email: info@nbcot.org

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Applicant must hold an associate degree in occupational therapy from an accredited program recognized by NBCOT and complete all fieldwork requirements.

The Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Applicants who have graduated from an occupational therapy program within the U.S. (or its territories) must submit the following documents to NBCOT:

    1. Official Final Transcript or Academic Credential Verification Form (ACVF).
    2. Fieldwork Verification.
    3. Special Testing Accommodations application and supporting documentation (if applicable).

    Additional details related to documentation required can be obtained from NBCOT Certification Examination Handbook and Application.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

  • Assist the OTR to acquire information regarding factors that influence occupational performance throughout the occupational therapy process (32%)
  • Implement interventions in accordance with the intervention plan and under the supervision of the OTR to support client participation in areas of occupation throughout the occupational therapy process (60%)
  • Uphold professional standards and responsibilities to promote quality in practice (8%)

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Renewal Period: 3 years

The Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) credential has the following recertification information:

  • Applicants must accrue 36 Comptency Assessment Units (CAU) and Professional Development Units (PDU) during the three-year renewal cycle.