Occupational Therapist Certification and Licensure
Become an Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapy is a licensed profession. Requirements vary somewhat from state to state. There are many commonalities, however, beginning with the examination process. Here is a general outline:
The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy certifies occupational therapists. In order to become certified, you will pass the NBCOT exam and also a character review. On the NBCOT site, you will find an overview of exam content.
You should contact your state board beforehand to find out what testing information that they require you to submit. (Some require a confirmation of exam registration, others a score report — or both items.) Some states will allow you to practice with a temporary license while waiting for test results.
The license renewal period is generally every two years. You can expect to do continuing education requirements to maintain your license. Again, individual states determine the particulars. There are typically a lot of choices including online CEUs and university courses. You may receive credit for publishing or making presentations. In-service may also count for some of the required hours.
You will also have the opportunity to obtain additional certifications; these attest to your skills in meeting particular therapy needs. The American Occupational Therapy Association offers board certification in pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, and physical rehabilitation. They also offer specialty certification in environmental modification, community mobility (including driving), feeding, eating, and swallowing issues, and low vision therapy needs. In order to obtain a specialty certificate, you will need to have considerable work experience. You earn additional certifications through a portfolio process. One component is a self-assessment.