Occupational therapy (OT) is a health and medicine profession that helps people of all ages to develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. OTs work with individuals who have physical, mental, emotional, or developmental disabilities to help them lead independent and productive lives. Becoming an OT requires a combination of education, experience, and certification. This guide will provide an overview of the steps you need to take to become an OT in the United States.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s DegreeThe first step to becoming an OT is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Most OTs have a degree in occupational therapy, psychology, sociology, or another related field. You should also take courses in anatomy, physiology, biology, and other sciences.
Step 2: Complete an Accredited Occupational Therapy ProgramOnce you have earned your bachelor’s degree, you must complete an accredited occupational therapy program.
These programs are typically two or three years long and include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. During your program, you will learn about the principles of occupational therapy and how to apply them in practice.
Step 3: Pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy ExamOnce you have completed your occupational therapy program, you must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam. This exam is designed to assess your knowledge and skills as an OT.
It consists of multiple-choice questions and is administered by computer.
Step 4: Obtain a State LicenseAfter passing the NBCOT exam, you must obtain a state license in order to practice as an OT. Each state has its own licensing requirements, so it is important to research the requirements for the state where you plan to practice. Generally speaking, you will need to submit an application and pay a fee in order to obtain your license.
Step 5: Maintain Your CertificationOnce you have obtained your license, it is important to maintain your certification by completing continuing education courses and renewing your license every few years. This will ensure that you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of occupational therapy.
ConclusionBecoming an occupational therapist (OT) requires a combination of education, experience, and certification. To become an OT in the United States, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field, complete an accredited occupational therapy program, pass the NBCOT exam, obtain a state license, and maintain your certification by completing continuing education courses and renewing your license every few years.
Following these steps will help ensure that you are prepared to practice as an OT in the United States.