Education Law

Article 156, Occupational Therapy

§ 7900. Introduction. | § 7901. Definition. | § 7902. Practice of occupational therapy and use of title "occupational therapist". | § 7903. State board for occupational therapy. | § 7904. Requirements for a professional license. | § 7905. Limited permits. | § 7906. Exempt persons. | § 7907. Special conditions. | § 7908 Mandatory continuing competency.

§7900. Introduction.

This article applies to the profession of occupational therapy. The general provisions for all professions contained in article one hundred thirty of this title apply to this article.


§7901. Definition.

The practice of the profession of occupational therapy is defined as the functional evaluation of the client, the planning and utilization of a program of purposeful activities, the development and utilization of a treatment program, and/or consultation with the client, family, caregiver or organization in order to restore, develop or maintain adaptive skills, and/or performance abilities designed to achieve maximal physical, cognitive and mental functioning of the client associated with his or her activities of daily living and daily life tasks. A treatment program designed to restore function, shall be rendered on the prescription or referral of a physician, nurse practitioner or other health care provider acting within his or her scope of practice pursuant to this title. However, nothing contained in this article shall be construed to permit any licensee hereunder to practice medicine or psychology, including psychotherapy or to otherwise expand such licensee's scope of practice beyond what is authorized by this chapter.


§7902. Practice of occupational therapy and use of title "occupational therapist".

Only a person licensed or otherwise authorized to practice under this article shall practice occupational therapy or use the title "occupational therapist".


§7903. State board for occupational therapy.

A state board for occupational therapy shall be appointed by the board of regents on the recommendation of the commissioner for the purpose of assisting the board of regents and the department on matters of professional licensing and professional conduct in accordance with section sixty-five hundred eight of this title. The board shall be composed of not less than seven licensed occupational therapists, one physician, and two members of the public who are not licensed under this title. An executive secretary to the board shall be appointed by the board of regents on recommendation of the commissioner.


§7904. Requirements for a professional license.

To qualify for a license as an occupational therapist, an applicant shall fulfill the following requirements:

  1. File an application with the department.
  2. Have satisfactorily completed an approved occupational therapy curriculum in a baccalaureate or masters program, or a certificate program satisfactory to the department which is substantially equivalent to a baccalaureate degree program, in accordance with the commissioner's regulations.
  3. Have a minimum of six months of supervised occupational therapy experience which supervision and experience shall be satisfactory to the board of occupational therapy and in accordance with the commissioner's regulations.
  4. Pass an examination satisfactory to the board of occupational therapy and in accordance with the commissioner's regulations.
  5. Be at least twenty-one years of age.
  6. Meet no requirements as to United States citizenship.
  7. Be of good moral character as determined by the department.
  8. Pay a fee of one hundred forty dollars to the department for admission to a department conducted examination and for an initial license, a fee of seventy dollars for each re-examination, a fee of one hundred fifteen dollars for an initial license for persons not requiring admission to a department conducted examination, and a fee of one hundred fifty-five dollars for each triennial registration period.

§7905. Limited permits.

Permits limited as to eligibility, practice, and duration, shall be issued by the department to eligible applicants, as follows:

  1. The following persons shall be eligible for a limited permit:
    1. An occupational therapist who has graduated from an occupational therapy curriculum with a baccalaureate degree or certificate in occupational therapy which is substantially equivalent to a baccalaureate degree satisfactory to the board of occupational therapy and in accordance with the commissioner's regulations; or
    2. A foreign occupational therapist who is in this country on a non-immigration visa for the continuation of occupational therapy study, pursuant to the exchange student program of the United States Department of State.
    3. An occupational therapy assistant who has graduated from an accredited occupational therapy assistant curriculum with an associate's degree satisfactory to the board of occupational therapy and in accordance with the commissioner's regulations.
  2. A limited permittee shall be authorized to practice occupational therapy, or in the case of a limited permit issued pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision one of this section, practice under the exemption established pursuant to subdivision seven of section seventy-nine hundred six of this article, only under the direct supervision of a licensed occupational therapist or a licensed physician and shall practice only in a public, voluntary, or proprietary hospital, health care agency or in a preschool or an elementary or secondary school for the purpose of providing occupational therapy as a related service for a handicapped child.
    For purposes of this subdivision, supervision of an individual with a limited permit to practice occupational therapy issued by the department shall be direct supervision as defined by the commissioner's regulations.
  3. A limited permit shall be valid for one year. It may be renewed once for a period not to exceed one additional year, at the discretion of the department, upon the submission of an explanation satisfactory to the department for an applicant's failure to become licensed within the original one-year period.
  4. The fee for a limited permit shall be seventy dollars.

§7906. Exempt persons.

This article shall not be construed to affect or prevent the following, provided that no title, sign, card or device shall be used in such manner as to tend to convey the impression that the person rendering such service is a licensed occupational therapist:

  1. A licensed physician from practicing his or her profession as defined under article one hundred thirty-one and article one hundred thirty-one-B of this title.
  2. Qualified members of other licensed or legally recognized professions from performing work incidental to the practice of their profession, except that such persons may not hold themselves out under the title occupational therapist or as performing occupational therapy.
  3. A student from engaging in clinical practice as part of an accredited program in occupational therapy, pursuant to subdivision three of section seventy-nine hundred four of this article.
  4. An occupational therapy assistant student from engaging in clinical practice under the direction and supervision of an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant who has obtained authorization pursuant to subdivision seven of this section, and who is under the supervision of an occupational therapist, as part of an accredited occupational therapy assistant program, as defined by the commissioner and in accordance with the commissioner's regulations.
  5. The care of the sick by any person, provided such person is employed primarily in a domestic capacity. This shall not authorize the treatment of patients in a home care service of any hospital, clinic, institution or agency.
  6. An employee of a federal agency from using the title or practicing as an occupational therapist insofar as such activities are required by his salaried position and the use of such title shall be limited to such employment.
  7. Occupational therapy assistants, as defined by the commissioner, authorized by the department, and under the direction and supervision of a licensed occupational therapist or a licensed physician. In the case of those working under a licensed physician such exemption shall apply only in a public, voluntary or proprietary hospital or health or home care agency. Such authorization shall be issued to individuals who have met standards, including those relating to education, experience, examination and character, as promulgated in regulations of the commissioner. Such authorization shall be subject to full disciplinary and regulatory authority of the board of regents and the state education department, pursuant to this title, as if such authorization were a professional license issued under this article. The application fee for such authorization shall be established in regulation by the board of regents. Each authorized occupational therapy assistant shall register with the department every three years and shall pay a registration fee established in regulation by the board of regents.
  8. The following people from working under the direct supervision of a licensed occupational therapist: An individual employed by the state or municipal government at the effective date of this article who performs supportive services in occupational therapy solely for the time such person continues in that employment.
  9. Any occupational therapist who is licensed in another state, United States possession or country or who has received at least a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent in occupational therapy and who is either in this state for the purposes of (a) consultation, provided such practice is limited to such consultation; or (b) an occupational therapist authorized to practice in another state or country from conducting a teaching clinical demonstration in connection with a program of basic clinical education, graduate education or post graduate education in an approved school of occupational therapy or its affiliated clinical facility or health care agency or before a group of licensed occupational therapists; or (c) because he or she resides near a border of this state, provided such practice is limited in this state to the vicinity of such border and said occupational therapist does not maintain an office or place to meet patients or receive calls in this state.

§7907. Special conditions.

  1. A person who on the effective date of this article:
    1. submits evidence of a minimum of three years experience with training satisfactory to the board in occupational therapy and in accordance with the regulations of the commissioner; or
    2. a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent in occupational therapy, shall be licensed upon the filing of an application with the department within six months of the effective date of this article.
  2. A person who on the effective date of the chapter of the laws of two thousand eleven which added this subdivision has a current registration with the department as an occupational therapy assistant, if such person meets the requirements for an authorization established within this article, except for examination, the department shall issue an authorization without examination.

§7908. Mandatory continuing competency.

  1.  
    1. Each licensed occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant required under this article to register triennially with the department to practice in the state shall comply with the provisions of the mandatory continuing competency requirements prescribed in subdivision two of this section, except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subdivision. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who do not satisfy the mandatory continuing competency requirements shall not be authorized to practice until they have met such requirements, and they have been issued a registration certificate, except that an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant may practice without having met such requirements if he or she is issued a conditional registration pursuant to subdivision three of this section.
    2. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants shall be exempt from the mandatory continuing competency requirement for the triennial registration period during which they are first licensed. Adjustment to the mandatory continuing competency requirements may be granted by the department for reasons of health of the licensee where certified by an appropriate health care professional, for extended active duty with the armed forces of the United States, or for other good cause acceptable to the department which may prevent compliance.
    3. A licensed occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant not engaged in practice, as determined by the department, shall be exempt from the mandatory continuing competency requirement upon the filing of a statement with the department declaring such status. Any licensee who returns to the practice of occupational therapy during the triennial registration period shall notify the department prior to reentering the profession and shall meet such mandatory continuing competency requirements as shall be prescribed by regulations of the commissioner.
  2.  
    1. During each triennial registration period an applicant for registration as an occupational therapist shall complete a minimum of thirty-six hours of learning activities which contribute to continuing competence, as specified in subdivision four of this section, provided further that at least twenty-four hours shall be in areas of study pertinent to the scope of practice of occupational therapy. With the exception of continuing education hours taken during the registration period immediately preceding the effective date of this section, continuing education hours taken during one triennium may not be transferred to a subsequent triennium.
    2. During each triennial registration period an applicant for registration as an occupational therapy assistant shall complete a minimum of thirty-six hours of learning activities which contribute to continuing competence as specified in subdivision four of this section, provided further that at least twenty-four hours shall be in recognized areas of study pertinent to the licensee's professional scope of practice of occupational therapy. With the exception of continuing education hours taken during the registration period immediately preceding the effective date of this section, continuing education hours taken during one triennium may not be transferred to a subsequent triennium.
    3. Any occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant whose first registration date following the effective date of this section occurs less than three years from such effective date but on or after January first, two thousand thirteen, shall complete continuing competency hours on a prorated basis at the rate of one-half hour per month for the period beginning January first, two thousand thirteen up to the first registration date.
    4. Thereafter, a licensee who has not satisfied the mandatory continuing competency requirements shall not be issued a triennial registration certificate by the department and shall not practice unless and until a conditional registration certificate is issued as provided for in subdivision three of this section.
  3. The department, in its discretion, may issue a conditional registration to a licensee who fails to meet the continuing competency requirements established in subdivision two of this section, but who agrees to make up any deficiencies and complete any additional learning activities which the department may require. The fee for such a conditional registration shall be the same as, and in addition to, the fee for the triennial registration. The duration of such conditional registration shall be determined by the department but shall not exceed one year. Any licensee who is notified of the denial of registration for failure to submit evidence, satisfactory to the department, of required continuing competency learning activities and who practices without such registration, may be subject to disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section sixty-five hundred ten of this title.
  4. As used in subdivision two of this section, "acceptable learning activities" shall mean activities which contribute to professional practice in occupational therapy, and which meet the standards prescribed in the regulations of the commissioner. Such learning activities shall include, but not be limited to, collegiate level credit and non-credit courses, self-study activities, independent study, formal mentoring activities, publications in professional journals, professional development programs and technical sessions; such learning activities may be offered and sponsored by national, state and local professional associations and other organizations or parties acceptable to the department, and any other organized educational and technical learning activities acceptable to the department. The department may, in its discretion and as needed to contribute to the health and welfare of the public, require the completion of continuing competency learning activities in specific subjects to fulfill this mandatory continuing competency requirement. Learning activities must be taken from a sponsor approved by the department, pursuant to the regulations of the commissioner.
  5. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants shall maintain adequate documentation of completion of (a) a learning plan that shall record current and anticipated roles and responsibilities but shall not require the records of peer review or self-assessment of competencies, and (b) acceptable continuing competency learning activities and shall provide such documentation at the request of the department. Failure to provide such documentation upon request of the department shall be an act of misconduct subject to the disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section sixty-five hundred ten of this title.
  6. The mandatory continuing competency fee shall be forty-five dollars for occupational therapists and twenty-five dollars for occupational therapy assistants, shall be payable on or before the first day of each triennial registration period, and shall be paid in addition to the triennial registration fee required by section seventy-nine hundred four of this article.
Last Updated: May 9, 2013