Occupational Therapy License Requirements in Georgia
Occupational therapists help people meet the tasks of living. The Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy defines occupational therapy as evaluation and treatment of individuals whose abilities to meet these tasks are impaired or threatened. People might need occupational therapy for many reasons, including physical disease, injury, developmental issues, learning disabilities, psychological disabilities, environmental factors, and aging. Services might be extended to those with anticipated dysfunction.Occupational therapy services are available to adult and pediatric populations alike. Occupational therapists provide services directly and also supervise the work of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) who work under them.
Becoming a Georgia OT
Georgia OTs will seek certification from the National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) before they pursue licensure.
Occupational therapists can meet eligibility requirements for the certification examination by completing programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Accreditation (ACOTE). Accredited programs are offered at the graduate level. Georgia has three accredited programs. Students will complete advanced fieldwork experiences as part of their education.
State licensure is granted by the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy. A license applicant will need to submit three references to the Georgia Board.
Additoinal Credentials for Occupational Therapists
Georgia has a separate certification process for physical agent modalities. The Board requires 90 contact hours of education. Candidates may use their transcripts for a portion of the required coursework if they can certify the inclusion of the hours of physical agent modalities. However, they will need at least 36 hours of additional continuing education.
Some occupational therapists pursue third party certifications such as lymphedema certification.
Occupational Therapy Employers in Georgia
Occupational therapists work in a range of healthcare and educational settings.
Some occupational therapists work for major healthcare systems like Piedmont Healthcare or WellStar Health System. Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital, Montrose Memorial Hospital, and Northside Hospital are among the many hospitals that utilize occupational therapists. One will also find occupational therapists at long-term care facilities such as the following: Ageility at Madeline of Decatur, Rockdale Healthcare Center, Tifton Health and Rehabilitation Center, and Parkside Post Acute Care and Rehabilitation. Occupational therapists may provide services to homebound patients through organizations such as Kindred at Home, Rehab Without Walls, and Amedisys, Inc.
Many OTs are recruited by organizations like Integra that provide rehabilitation services for the elderly and disabled. Integra provides services for a number of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, home health organizations, and hospitals around Georgia. Aegis Therapies provides contract rehabilitation and wellness services in Georgia and throughout the nation.
Pediatrics is a common practice area. Pediatric occupational therapists may be employed in any of many settings, including hospitals and private treatment centers. Pediatric treatment centers help children who have conditions such as low muscle tone, feeding disorders, autism, motor planning or sensory processing difficulties, and Down Syndrome or other chromosomal disorders. The following are among Georgia’s pediatric treatment centers:
• Atlanta Pediatric Therapy/ Applied Pediatrics
• Pediatric Development Center of Atlanta
• Valdosta Pediatric Therapy Services
• McKenna Farms Therapy Services
• Building Blocks Pediatrics
Children’s Hospital of Georgia was among the many employers advertising in 2019. Some general hospitals also employ occupational therapists specifically for pediatrics.
Additionally, occupational therapists work in public school settings like Savannah-Chatham County Schools and Bibb County Public Schools. Occupational therapy, like physical therapy, is authorized under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as a related service.
Georgia Occupational Therapy Salary and Career Outlook
Georgia’s occupational therapists earned a mean salary of $82,060 (or $39.45 an hour) in 2018. A wide range of salaries were reported, with those at the 10th percentile earning $48,080 and those at the 90th percentile earning $118,510.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported an especially high job concentration or location quotient in the Dalton area. The Columbus area is also above average. The state as a whole has a location quotient of .76, below the national average.
Georgia’s OT profession has been projected to experience 26.2% occupational growth across the 2016-2026 decade.
Top Occupational Therapy Schools in Georgia
Brenau University has two campuses, one in Norcross, the other in Gainesville. Currently, students graduate with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT); this program is fully ACOTE-accredited. Beginning in 2020, students will also have a doctoral (OTD) option through the North Atlanta/Norcross campus; this is dependent on the program achieving ACOTE candidacy status. Brenau University provides community outreach through The Center for Productive Living (CPL) in Gainesville. The school also offers a post-professional doctoral degree for OTs.
Augusta University offers a master’s option. Fieldwork consists of six weeklong rotation and two 12 week rotations. The school boasts a 98% graduation rate for the years 2016 to 2018.
The Georgia State University Occupational Therapy Masters (OTM) program, offered through the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, is the state’s newest. An announcement on the website states that the program is now fully accredited. The program can be completed in 24 months.
Student and Professional Resources
Georgia occupational therapists are under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Board of Occupational Therapy (https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/36). Application materials are available on the Board website.
The Georgia Occupational Therapy Association serves as the primary state professional association (https://www.gaota.com). GOTA offers networking, continuing education, and professional development opportunities. Some website resources are available only to members. Membership opportunities are extended to students and professionals alike.
The Georgia Alliance of School Occupational and Physical Therapists is a resource for occupational therapists who work in school settings (https://www.gasopt.org).