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Occupational Therapist


Occupational therapists are licensed rehabilitation care professionals who work to restore or improve physical abilities, promote behavioral changes, adapt surroundings, and teach new skills; the goal is to have the individual achieve her or his best physical and/or mental functioning in daily life tasks. Occupational therapists provide these services on the referral or prescription of a physician, physician assistant, or other licensed health care professional, for treatment designed to restore function.

Licensing Requirements:

Any use of the title occupational therapist within New York State requires licensure as an occupational therapist.

To be licensed as an occupational therapist in New York State you must:

  • be of good moral character
  • be at least 21 years of age
  • meet education and examination requirements

The specific requirements for licensure/authorization are contained in Title 8, Article 156, Section 7904 and Section 7906 (c) of New York's Education Law and Part 76 of the Commissioner's Regulations.

Education and Experience Requirements:

To meet the professional education requirement for licensure as an occupational therapist, if your education was from a:

  • New York State Registered or AOTA Accredited Occupational Therapist Program, you must have:
    • a baccalaureate or entry-level master's degree in occupational therapy, or
    • a post-baccalaureate certificate in occupational therapy from an institution acceptable to the Department.

You must have a minimum of six months of supervised occupational therapy experience satisfactory to the New York State Board for Occupational Therapy. Graduates of New York State registered or AOTA-accredited programs meet this requirement as part of their educational program.

  • Occupational Therapist Program Located Outside the United States that is Not AOTA Accredited, you must have:

    Completed a program satisfactory to the Department that:

    • totals not less than four years of postsecondary study and includes the professional study of occupational therapy,
    • culminates in a degree or diploma accepted by the civil authorities of the country in which the studies were completed as preparation in occupational therapy in that country, and
    • is determined equivalent by the New York State Education Department to a registered or accredited program, including the required clinical experience.

For individuals who did not meet the experience requirement within their educational program, full-time experience must be under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist. Part-time experience may be counted if you completed a minimum of 15 hours per week during at least two full days each week for continuous periods of not less than two months for a total of six months.

Examination Requirements:

Occupational therapists must pass the NBCOT OTR examination of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT).

  • The passing score is 450.
  • Examination scores must be sent directly from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) to:

New York State Education Department,
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Occupational Therapy Unit
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234-1000.

Fees (as of November 2, 2016)

The fee for licensure for occupational therapy is $294.
The fee for a limited permit for occupational therapy is $70.

Licenses Issued and Active:

In 2014, there were 849 licenses issued for this occupation.
In 2015, there were 892 licenses issued for this occupation.
As of July 1, 2016, there were 12,948 active licenses for this occupation.

Licensing Authority:

New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Occupational Therapy Unit
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234-1000
518-474-3817, ext. 270 (voice)
518-474-3398 (fax)

Standard Occupational Classification:

29-1122 - Occupational Therapists
To learn more about this occupation search the ONET Online.

Additional Information:

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.
12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877-4150
Phone: (301) 990-7979
Fax: (301) 869-8492


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 12/01/16.

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