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How to Get a License

Most states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico require occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants to be licensed (a few states have certification or registration by a state agency). States have similar, but not identical requirements and procedures for obtaining a license. For specific state licensure requirements always consult the state occupational therapy regulatory agency. (See "State Regulatory Contacts" at left.)

To obtain a license you will need to:

  • Graduate from an accredited OT or OTA educational program.
  • Complete your fieldwork requirements.
  • Apply for and Pass the NBCOT® Certification Examination. For additional information regarding the examination, including ordering Score Transfers and/or State Confirmation Notices, refer to the NBCOT Web site.
  • Apply for a license and pay a fee for each state/jurisdiction in which you wish to practice or hold a license.

Many, but not all states allow practitioners to practice on a temporary license or limited permit while waiting to take or receive the results of the certification exam. If you fail the exam, you may not be able to continue to practice. Each state OT regulatory agency should be consulted for specific requirements.

Information for international students can be found here.