Steps to Get Your Occupational Therapy License State by State
One of the most common and important questions any new occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant wants to know is, “How do I get my occupational therapy license in my state?”
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always as simple as one might think.
The process for getting your state occupational therapy license itself is not that complicated. So why the confusion?
Well, every state has its own, different process that you need to follow to get (and keep) your occupational therapy license (or licenses, if you’re traveling).
Because of the confusion that new practitioners may have with getting their OT license, we’ve compiled this list of the national requirements followed by every state’s individual requirements into one handy article. We want give a huge thanks to Michel Moniger, COTA/L for his immense help in co-authoring this article.
We also want to note that this article will be updated quarterly as states’ protocols change regularly. If you notice an update is needed for your state, please let us know in the comments below.
What are the ACOTE and NBCOT National Requirements?
Before applying for your state licensure as an occupational therapy practitioner, you must complete the appropriate occupational therapy schooling. What qualifies the schooling as “appropriate”?
The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, or ACOTE, provides accreditation to schools that meet the minimum requirements. This includes prerequisite education, coursework, and fieldwork rotations. Without properly accredited occupational therapy education, licensure cannot be obtained.
One of the primary methods of ensuring that all OT practitioners across the country meet the same minimum standard is the use of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, or NBCOT. This agency creates a board exam that all potential OTs and OTAs must take prior to practicing. Passing of this exam allows the use of the credential R or C, for Registered Occupational Therapists and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants.
Once the general national requirements for licensure have been completed, local guidelines must also be followed.
Below are listed each state with their licensure requirements as of the writing of this article. Please note that these regulations are subject to change. Click on the link for each state you’re applying to to find the most up-to-date information.
In order to obtain a license in Alabama, you will need a properly filled out application for licensure, the name of a currently licensed supervising OT, proof of citizenship, an attached passport photo, and the appropriate fee ($140 for an OT, $115 for an OTA). In addition, proof of verification by NBCOT and any other states in which you hold or have held a license.
This license lasts 2 years, with a renewal fee of $140 for an OT and $115 for an OTA. Also required for renewal is proof of the appropriate amount of continuing education courses, 30 hours for OTs and 20 for OTAs.
In Alaska, along with the completed notarized application, proof of successful completion of the NBCOT exam must be submitted along with an initial licensure fee of $240 for OTs and $175 for OTAs, as well as a $150 application fee and completion of their jurisprudence questionnaire. Release of relevant forms and a professional reference from an instructor or other professional are also required.
For renewal, a minimum of 24 continuing education hours are required for those who held a license for more than 12 months of the past licensing period of 24 months.
If you’re applying for your first OT state license, you will need a completed application for licensure, in Arizona attestation to the Statutes and Rules form, an FD-258 fingerprint form, NBCOT verification, two professional recommendations, a completed statement of citizenship form, verification of any held medical licenses from other states, and the required fees must be attached. This includes a required $100 fingerprinting fee, $22 fingerprinting processing fee, and then a $135 licensing fee for OTs or a $70 licensing fee for OTAs.
If you already have an OT license from another state that is at least one year old and it is in good standing, Arizona will recognize that license once you meet their residency, testing, and background checks required on their state board’s website.
For renewal, an OT must have 20 hours of CEU time for every 2-year license, while an OTA must have 12 hours.
To hold a license in Arkansas, an initial fee of $75 for an OT or $50 for an OTA must be attached with the completed application. A passport style photo, explanation of any gaps of greater than 30 days between graduation and licensure that has been signed and dated, a copy of your driver’s license or passport, and current resume must accompany the application. A background check will also be completed for this license, and you will need to have your OT school transcripts and NBCOT scores verified.
All OT practitioners, regardless of the type of license held, must get 10 continuing education hours every year, so 20 hours for each 2-year license renewal.
In order to be licensed in California, a completed application must be submitted. Along with this application, applicants must submit a $50 application fee, a background check (this may include a $49 fingerprinting fee if you are living outside of California), NBCOT exam scores, transcripts from an accredited program, letter of good standing from each state in which you hold or have held a medical license, appropriate verification of good standing, and initial application fee. This fee is based on your date of birth and month of issuance of the license, so it will vary from person to person.
Every two years, proof of 24 CEU hours must be submitted for license renewal.
To get your license as an OT in Colorado, you must complete the required application with a $60 fee for OTs or $25 fee for OTAs, as well as verification of any other license held. NBCOT scores and ACOTE accredited education must be proven, as well as an affidavit of eligibility, your social security number, answering criminal history screening questions, and answer the questions for the Healthcare Professions Profiling Program.
In Connecticut, an OT or OTA seeking their license will need to pay a $200 license fee along with their transcripts, NBCOT scores, and verification from other states in which a medical license is or has been held. In addition, a photo must be attached to the file. The application must be completed online.
For renewal, proof of 24 contact hours and a $205 renewal fee must be submitted.
An occupational therapist seeking their license in Delaware must submit the notarized application. The NBCOT exam must also be completed. An OT must attach a $209 fee, while an OTA has a $78 fee. Transcripts, proof of good standing (between a Criminal History Record Check Authorization and verification of licensure from other states in which a medical license has been held) must also be provided.
For renewals, 20 continuing education hours must be completed every 2 years.
To become an OT or OTA in Florida, one must be of “good moral character, have completed an ACOTE accredited course (with transcripts forwarded), and have completed the NBCOT exam.” A $100 application fee, followed by a $75 initial license fee and $5 unlicensed activity fee must all be submitted.
For renewal, a $60 fee must be submitted with 26 continuing education hours. 14 of these hours must be live hours, along with a Board-approved medical error course, Florida Laws and Rules course, and a Human Trafficking course.
An OT license can be held in Georgia after successful completion of an ACOTE program and the NBCOT exam. The application must be submitted along with a fee of $60 for OTs or $50 for OTAs, 3 professional references (at least one from an OT practitioner), official transcripts, and proof of NBCOT completion. If you want to use physical agent modalities, you must also take a special certification course after you’re licensed.
For renewal, a $65 fee for OTs or a $55 fee for OTAs must be submitted, along with proof of 24 continuing education hours, including 2 hours of ethics, with only 12 hours allowed for online CEUs.
To obtain a license in Hawaii, an OT must complete the appropriate application, complete the verification of NBCOT exam scores, and a submit a check for $279 if an OT or OTA is applying in an odd-numbered year, or $186 for an even-numbered year.
For license renewal, you will need to renew by Dec. 31 of every odd-numbered year with a fee of $186. In Hawaii, there are no CEU requirements for renewal.
Idaho’s requirements for licensure include a properly filled out notarized application, proof of graduation from an accredited program and NBCOT exam score, and 2 professional recommendations. This application includes a brief summary of the fieldwork experiences. The fees for initial application are $80 for an occupational therapist and $60 for an occupational therapy assistant.
To renew your license, an occupational therapist will have to pay $40 and an OTA will have to pay $30, and both will be required to submit proof of 20 continuing education contact hours.
OT practitioners in Illinois seeking their initial license will need to submit an application along with the profession name and reference number (Registered Occupational Therapist and 056 or Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and 057), a $25 fee, proof of education and NBCOT exam completion, answer a few questions regarding past licensure, with personal history information.
For license renewal, you will need to renew by Dec. 31 on each odd-numbered year with 24 contact hours of continuing education required.
To get your license to practice in Indiana, you need to fill out the appropriate application, attach a $100 licensing fee, submit a passport style photo, a brief summary of your OT education, and list/verify any other state OT licenses held.
Every two years, OT practitioners must pay $100 and provide proof of 18 hours of continuing competency courses for license renewal.
In Iowa, license renewal involves correctly filling out the application, paying a $120 licensure fee, providing proof of education and examination, verifying licenses held in other states, and sending transcripts.
For biannual renewal, an OT must prove completion of 30 hours of CEU courses while an OTA must provide proof of 15 hours. A $60 renewal fee is required for both occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants every two years.
The application process in Kansas includes downloading and filling out a digital application, attaching an $80 fee as well as a $3 fee for a national practitioner data bank report, and sending in all necessary documentation such as transcripts and proof of NBCOT scores. Further information may be requested during the review.
The yearly renewal includes a $75 fee and proof of 40 hours of continuing education for the preceding two year period, required on the odd-numbered years. Licenses expire every year and must be renewed between February 15th-March 31st.
Those seeking their occupational therapy license in Kentucky will be required to fill out the application, include a $50 application fee for an OT or a $35 application fee for an OTA, provide evidence of successful completion of OT education, and an NBCOT confirmation of eligibility letter. You must also complete a Kentucky OT Board-approved 6 hour course in suicide assessment and training within 6 years of your initial licensure date.
To renew your Kentucky occupational therapy license annually, 12 continuing education hours must be submitted along with a $50 fee.
Occupational therapy license requirements in Louisiana include an initial online application, an oath stating that you are in good condition to practice, acceptance of the board examining your eligibility, a certificate from your program director, a passport style photograph, and a background check. To be licensed, an occupational therapist must submit $150 and an occupational therapy assistant must submit $100. Proof of citizenship, NBCOT scores, and verification of any other state licenses is also required.
Louisiana occupational therapy licenses must be renewed every year, with 12 contact hours and renewal fee of $100 for OTs and $75 for OTAs required.
In order to obtain licensure in Maine, an OT must submit a proper application, along with a $60 application fee, a $40 licensure fee, a $21 criminal history records check fee, and proof of successful completion of coursework and NBCOT scores. For an OTA, the licensure fee is $35.
Renewal fees are $40 annually for OTRs, and $35 for OTAs, with proof of 36 contact hours of continuing education taken every two years.
The requirements to obtain your OT license in Maryland include submitting a completed application for a background check, providing your graduation information, NBCOT eligibility for certification, verification from each state in which you are or were licensed, a passport photo of yourself, and payment of the $200 application fee.
To renew your license every two years, you will need to submit a renewal application, a $200 fee for OTAs or a $280 fee for OTs, and proof of 24 continuing competency hours in the licensing period.
Obtaining your OT or OTA license in Massachusetts involves submitting your application, providing a $209 fee for your initial OT license (or $265 if you’re applying by reciprocity), providing transcripts and proof of NBCOT certification, and a background check via criminal offender record information form.
To renew your license, you will have to submit $100 every 2 years. No proof of continuing education courses is required at this time.
Those looking to get their occupational therapy license in Michigan must first submit an application along with fingerprinting and background check reports. Proof of successful education and NBCOT examination is required, as well as a $102.70 fee, and a review of basic personal information, for both OTs and OTAs.
A one-time training course on Human Trafficking, separate from continuing ed, is also required, as well as a passing score on the MI jurisprudence exam.
To renew your license, proof of 20 hours of continuing education information must be submitted every two years, along with a fee of $162.20.
An occupational therapy license can be held in Minnesota after submitting a completed application, proof of education and successful completion of the NBCOT exam, a fee of $185 for an OT or $105 for an OTA, and a $33.25 fee for a criminal background check. Minnesota uses a helpful online portal that guides the applicant through the process.
This license must be renewed every 2 years with an OT providing proof of 24 contact hours of continuing education, and OTAs providing proof of 18 contact hours. The renewal fee is the same as the initial licensure fee.
To become an OT in Mississippi, you must submit an application in its entirety, a passport style photo, a fee of $100 for the application, and an additional $150 or $100 for an OT or OTA, verification of NBCOT certification and verification of licensure in any other state.
For renewal, every two years you must provide proof of 20 hours of continuing education, along with the additional free mentioned above of $150 or $100 depending on if you have an OT or OTA license.
To hold an occupational therapy license in Missouri, you must fill out the appropriate application completely. Included with the notarized application, you will need to pay a $30 fee for an occupational therapist or a $10 fee for an occupational therapy assistant. The application requires passing of the jurisprudence exam, fingerprints, history of education, current national credentials from the NBCOT, licensure history, work experience, and eligibility for work in this field according to the state board.
For license renewal, 24 continuing competency credits must be completed every two years. Renewal fees are $30 for OTs and $10 for OTAs.
To become a licensed occupational therapy practitioner in Montana, the application must be completed in it’s entirety and submitted along with a $190 fee, proof of appropriate education and experience, NBCOT exam information, a copy of your driver’s license or some type of photographic identification, and a list of all professional licenses you currently hold or have held.
For renewal of a Montana license, a fee of $110.02 must be submitted along with proof of 10 contact hours every year.
To get your OT license in Nebraska, you must physically mail the completed application, including a fee of $120 unless submitted between February and July of an even-numbered year. Also included in the application is proof of citizenship, conviction information regarding legal action taken in the past, other state license information, and proof of education and proof of examination by the NBCOT. To use physical agent modalities, you must obtain a separate certification as well.
For license renewal, 20 hours of continuing education courses must be taken every two years for an OT, 15 hours must be completed every two years for an OTA, with a renewal fee of $120 for OTs and OTAs.
Those seeking their occupational therapy license in Nevada will need to submit certification from NBCOT, a $400 fee ($325 for OTAs), a photograph ID, verification of licensure in other states, and passing of the Nevada jurisprudence exam.
To renew your license every two years, you will need to provide proof of 12 hours of continuing education every year and a fee of $175 for OTs, or $125 for OTAs.
To be licensed in New Hampshire, you will first need to submit a licensure application request form, then complete the application. This includes a $60 application fee and $110 initial licensure fee. Proof of approved OT education and NBCOT passing scores are also required.
For license renewal every two years (on December 31 of odd-numbered years), 24 hours of continuing education are required along with a $110 renewal fee.
To get your license in New Jersey, you will need to fill out the application completely and have it notarized once completed. The application also requires a passport-style photo, verification of state license forms, transcripts, two certificates of good moral character, authorization for a criminal history background check, and passing of the jurisprudence exam. There is a $100 application fee that must be provided.
If it is the first year of the biennial renewal period, there will be an additional $160 or $100 fee for an OT or an OTA. If it is the second year of the biennial renewal period, there will be an $80 or $50 renewal fee for an OT or an OTA.
Every two years after licensure is held, the renewal fee is $160 for an OT or $100 for an OTA.
Licensure in New Mexico can be obtained after filling out the application and submitting it to the board. This application must include a fee of $120 for an OT or $110 for an OTA if submitted between September 1st and May 31st. If submitted between June 1st and August 31st, the fees go down to $70 for an OT and $60 for an OTA. Attached to the application must also include a photograph, a successfully completed jurisprudence exam, verification of NBCOT certification, and verification from every state that you’ve been licensed in. OTAs must also submit the supervision form that has been signed by a supervisor.
For license renewal, 20 hours of continuing education courses must be completed every year and a renewal fee of $85 for OTs or $60 for OTAs must be submitted.
Getting your occupational therapy license in New York requires that you be of good moral character, submit the correct application, be the minimum age required for your license (21 for an OT and 18 for an OTA), submit the fee of $294 for an OT or $147 for an OTA, and provide proof of OT education and passing NBCOT exam scores.
In order to renew your license, you will need to submit proof of at least 36 hours of continuing education courses every 3 years as well as a fee of $224 or $114 for an OT or OTA.
To get your OT license in North Carolina you must submit an application (which costs $10), provide a $100 licensing fee, be of good moral character, complete the required OT schooling and NBCOT exam, and pass the NC jurisprudence exam.
To renew your license annually, you must pay $50 and provide proof of 15 hours of continuing education, including one ethics course.
In order to obtain your OT license in North Dakota, you will have to submit the application and licensing fees, which vary from $125 or $200 for OTs and $105 or $160 for OTAs depending on the time of year you apply, provide proof of NBCOT scores, and pass the jurisprudence exam
For renewal, you will pay a fee of $150 as an OT or $110 as an OTA and provide proof of 20 hours of continuing education (or 10 hours if it is your first renewal and you were initially licensed in the second half of the 2-year licensing period). You will also need to take the jurisprudence exam for renewal. If you are an OTA, you also need to include the required supervision form.
To obtain your OT or OTA license in Ohio, you will need to fill out their application (via their eLicense system), pay a $100 fee, submit a transcript from your OT school, forward your NBCOT scores, pass the jurisprudence exam, complete the background check, and verify your license(s) from any other states held.
To renew your license, you will need to attest to the fact that you have completed 20 CEU courses in the past 2 years and pay a fee of $70.
To get your Oklahoma OT or OTA license, you will need to provide proof of successful completion of educational, fieldwork, and NBCOT exam requirements. You will also need to provide evidence of current or previous OT state licenses, proof of citizenship, request an extended background check, swear to the required affidavit, and pay a fee of $120 for initial licensure.
For license renewal, an additional $100 fee will be submitted every two years, along with proof of 20 continuing education hours.
Obtaining your license to practice OT in Oregon involves submitting your application, providing a total of $140 for fees, forwarding your transcripts and NBCOT scores to the Board, pass the Oregon Ethics/Law Exam, and pass the fingerprint background check required (fee included in $140 bundle above). If you are an OTA, your fee bundle will only be $110. OTs and OTAs must also take a one-time 7 hour Pain Management course for licensure.
When renewing your license every two years, you will have to demonstrate that you have completed 30 hours of continuing competency courses as well as pay the $150 or $100 fee depending on whether you are an OT or an OTA.
To become licensed in Pennsylvania, you must first submit a completed application online. Included in this application will be basic identification information, a background check, proof of OT coursework and NBCOT passing, and verification of OT licenses held in other states. A fee of $30 must be submitted for application as well as completion of a 3 hour Child Abuse CE course.
Renewal fees are $55/$45 for an OT/OTA with proof of 24 hours of continuing education, every two years on June 30th of odd-numbered years.
Those seeking their OT or OTA license in Rhode Island will be required to fill out an application, send a fee of $140, forward their transcripts and NBCOT scores, and provide verification of any other OT licenses held. A hard copy license will cost an additional $30.
When renewing your license every two years, you will need to complete 20 hours of continuing education and submit a fee of $140 for OTs and OTAs.
To get your occupational therapy license in South Carolina, you’ll fill out the application, attach a passport style photo, provide proof of citizenship, a copy of your social security card, attest to the truth of the information in the application, provide educational and examination information, and share prior work history. The application must be notarized when completed. A fee of $135 for an occupational therapist or $115 for an occupational therapy assistant is also required.
Every two years, OTs must provide $100 and OTAs must provide $80, as well as provide proof of 16 continuing education hours for license renewal.
To get your South Dakota OT license, you will need to submit the proper application, forward information from your OT school and NBCOT scores, verify any other OT state licenses you hold or have held, and pay the licensing fee of $50.
To renew your license, every year 12 hours of continuing education must be completed along with an additional $50 renewal fee.
Becoming an OT in the state of Tennessee involves the process of submitting an online application, forwarding transcripts and NBCOT scores, providing verification of any past or currently held OT licenses, a letter of recommendation and proof of good moral character, a passport style photo, proof of citizenship, a background check, completion of the Practitioner Profile Questionnaire, and a $100 fee for an OT or a $75 fee for an OTA. Additional training must be completed to use physical agent modalities.
For renewal every two years, proof of 24 hours of continuing education must be submitted along with $85 for OTs or $60 for OTAs.
Licensure in Texas can be obtained by completing the online application, providing NBCOT scores and school transcripts, a $140 fee for an OT or a $100 fee for an OTA, passport style photo, fingerprinting, and the Texas jurisprudence exam.
For renewal every two years, a fee of $248 for OTs or $184 for OTAs must be submitted along with proof of 24 hours of CE courses.
To get your OT or OTA license in Utah, you need to first complete and submit proof of the educational requirements and NBCOT exam scores. You will also need to attest to your citizenship, complete a brief qualifying questionnaire, pay a $70 fee, and provide any additional documentation required in your specific case.
For biannual renewal (on May 31 of odd-numbered years), proof of 24 CEU hours, with 2 hours of ethics, and a $47 fee must be submitted.
An occupational therapy license can be obtained in Vermont by completing the online application, forwarding transcripts and NBCOT scores, pay the fee of $100, and potentially submit additional documentation if deemed necessary.
For renewal, 20 hours of CEU courses must be completed every two years, along with a $50 fee.
For the Virginia OT and OTA application, you must complete the application fully, attach a $130 fee, certificate of credentials from NBCOT, verification of education, possibly further work history documentation (if you’ve worked as an OT/OTA), an NPDB self query (including a $4 fee), and a jurisprudence clearance.
For renewal, every two years a fee of $135 and 20 hours of continuing education courses must be provided.
To hold an occupational therapy license in Washington, you must complete the application, provide verification of NBCOT exam scores and other state licenses, forward OT school transcripts, pass the online jurisprudence exam and pay a fee of $166 (for both OTs and OTAs). You must also attest to taking 7 hours of HIV/AIDs continuing education prior to applying.
To renew your license, you will need to submit proof of 30 hours of continuing competency courses along with a $157 renewal fee for OTs or a $137 renewal fee for OTAs.
Licensure in West Virginia can be obtained after completing the appropriate application, providing an original passport style picture, a $150 fee for OTs or a $100 fee for an OTA, a supervisory statement for COTAs, and NBCOT scores and transcripts. Verification of other OT state licenses held is also required.
Every two years, 24 hours of CEUs must be provided along with $140 for OTs or $120 for OTAs.
Getting your OT or OTA license in Wisconsin includes completing the application, paying the fee of $150, obtaining letters from other state boards where you’re licensed, copies of any malpractice suit(s), passing of the Wisconsin statutes and rules examination, and verification of OT education and NBCOT scores.
License renewal requires a $75 fee and 24 hours of CEU courses completed every two years for OTs and OTAs.
To be licensed as an OT in Wyoming, you will need to provide a fully completed application, a current photograph, proof of lawful presence (by submitting a copy of your passport or birth certificate), a fee of $225 for an OT license or $175 for an OTA license, verification of any other OT licenses held, two letters of reference, and NBCOT and ACOTE accredited school transcripts.
To renew your license annually, the fees are $110 for an OT or $60 for an OTA, and proof of 32 hours of continuing education every two years (in even years).
How Long Does Each License Take To Get?
The licensing time length has not been included in this article as each state varies on time length from just a few weeks to several months. A state might estimate one time frame but this can be longer or shorter depending on the time of year and how many license applications they’ve received. For the most accurate, up to date information, you can contact the state’s board before applying to get a potential answer on how long you can expect.
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