Occupational Therapy Assistant Licensure and Certification

Most states license occupational therapy assistants. The process usually involves graduating from a program approved by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), passing an examination, and turning in an application.

Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Resources…

The NBCOT COTA test is used as a licensing exam in many jurisdictions. There is a general content outline available on the NBCOT site. Occupational therapy assistants must show competence in three domains: gathering information and formulating conclusions that inform therapy, selecting interventions, and upholding professional standards. The application generally includes questions about character and professional fitness. The board wants to know, for example, that licensees have not committed a serious crime or had a license revoked. There are policy differences from state to state. The American Occupational Therapy Association has a page with links to regulatory agencies around the nation. OTAs who work with young children through early intervention programs or school programs may have additional regulations.

States have different policies for license renewal and continuing education. Generally, licenses are renewed every two years. Occupational therapy assistants typically have a modest continuing education requirement which can be met in a number of ways, from seminar attendance to online coursework. Continuing education is an opportunity to pursue areas of special interest and make professional connections as well. There may be limits on how many units can be earned through a particular method, like home study. Some states require a particular class, for example, HIV training.

Again, you will want to be familiar with the requirements in your own state. There are a few states that don’t mandate licensure. Occupational therapist assistants may pursue voluntary certification through NBCOT. Meeting prerequisites and passing the exam confers the title Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.