Occupational Therapy

Effective February 13, 2013, to renew your registration as an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant, New York State Education Law requires completion of 36 contact hours of approved continuing competency within each three-year renewal period. However, these requirements will be phased in during the first three years, therefore, only requiring one-half hour of continuing competency for each month beginning in March 2013 through February 2016, for those registrants whose three-year renewal period falls within this time frame. Commencing with March 2016, registrants will be required to complete the full 36 hours of continuing competency. The complete standards for continuing competency for Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants can be found in section 76.10 of the Commissioner's Rules and Regulations. See Questions and Answers about this requirement.

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 nurse practitioner.

Occupational therapy assistants provide treatment according to a plan developed by or in collaboration with a licensed occupational therapist. They must work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist or a licensed physician.
Occupational therapy practitioners help people adapt to a variety of challenges:

  • developmental disabilities
  • learning disabilities
  • job-related injuries
  • neurological problems
  • orthopedic injuries
  • birth defects
  • stroke
  • psychosocial disorders
  • chemical dependency
  • age-related disorders

They help with:

  • impaired physical functioning which hampers the ability to perform daily life tasks
  • psychosocial problems which hamper the ability to function in daily life
  • special needs which require modification of the physical environment and/or use of specialized equipment and technologies (e.g., changes in the home or job site for a person in a wheelchair)

Read more about this profession.

Last Updated: April 5, 2013