Continuing Competency: Questions and Answers

For Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants

What is the Continuing Competency Requirement? | My Registration Period Expires in 2013, How Many Continuing Competency Hours Do I Need? | Has the Registration Fee Changed? | What are Approved Learning Activities? | What Documentation is Required for Registration Renewal? | What if I have a Lapse in Practice? | What if I Am Audited? | How Can My Organization Become a Sponsor for Occupational Therapy Continuing Competency Courses?

What is the Continuing Competency Requirement?

Effective February 13, 2013, to renew your registration as an occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant, New York State Education Law requires the completion of 36 hours of continuing education during each 3-year registration period. However, if your renewal date falls between 3/1/13 through 1/31/16, you will only be required to complete a portion of the required competency hours. Please see pro-rate chart below.

Please Note: A licensee seeking registration as both an occupational therapist AND occupational therapy assistant must complete a total of 72 hours in compliance with the requirements for both registrations.

Continuing Competency Resources Menu


My Registration Period Expires in 2013, How Many Continuing Competency Hours Do I Need?

Practitioners whose first re-registration date occurs less than 3 years from February 13, 2013 will have to complete continuing education hours at the rate of one-half hour per month for the period. Please refer to the Proration Chart for the hours required during this initial phase-in period. (Click Here to See How Many Hours You Need)

Proration Chart

Date Your Registration is Due for Renewal Required Number of Continuing Competency Hours
3/1/13 0.5
4/1/13 1
5/1/13 1.5
6/1/13 2
7/1/13 2.5
8/1/13 3
9/1/13 3.5
10/1/13 4
11/1/13 4.5
12/1/13 5
1/1/14 5.5
2/1/14 6
3/1/14 6.5
4/1/14 7
5/1/14 7.5
6/1/14 8
7/1/14 8.5
8/1/14 9
9/1/14 9.5
10/1/14 10
11/1/14 10.5
12/1/14 11
1/1/15 11.5
2/1/15 12
3/1/15 12.5
4/1/15 13
5/1/15 13.5
6/1/15 14.5
7/1/15 15
8/1/15 15.5
9/1/15 16
10/1/15 16.5
11/1/15 17
12/1/15 18
1/1/16 18.5
2/1/16 36

Has the Registration Fee Changed?

At the beginning of each 3-year registration period, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants shall be required to pay a continuing competency fee in addition to their registration fee.

Profession Registration Fee Continuing Comp. Fee Total Due
Occupational Therapist $179 $45 $224
Occupational Therapy Assistant $58 $25 $83

What are Approved Learning Activities?

What is the difference between a professional subject and a related subject?

Professional Subjects

These are subjects that contribute to the continuing competency in the professional practice of occupational therapy.

Related Subjects

These are subjects such as legal or regulatory issues, reimbursement issues, supervision, business practices, or other matters of health care, law, ethics and professional responsibility which contribute to the health and welfare of the public.

  1. Formal Academic Study, Continuing Education Courses, and/or Workshops
    1. Definition: Courses, workshops, or seminars offered by an approved continuing education sponsor, credit-bearing academic study offered by an accredited college or university, or in-service training programs offered by an employer to its employees, or self-study. Self study is structured study based on audio, audio-visual, written, on-line and other media. In service training programs and self-study must be offered by an approved sponsor. No more than two-thirds (24 hours) of the continuing competency requirement may be completed through self-study.
    2. Limitations: A minimum of 50 minutes of non-credit-bearing formal continuing education courses/ workshops shall equal 1 continuing competency hour.
      1. For activities that carry continuing education units (CEUs):
        0.1 CEU = 1 continuing competency hour.
      2. For credit-bearing university or college courses:
        1 semester-hour of credit = 15 continuing competency hours, and
        1 quarter-hour of credit = 10 continuing competency hours.
  2. Independent Study
    1. Definition: Self-initiated, goal-driven individualized professional study that is based on reading and research.
    2. Verification: You will need to create a narrative account of what was learned and an overall written evaluation of the learning activity.
    3. Limitations: 3 hours of independent study = 1 continuing competency hour. No more than 6 continuing competency hours may be completed through independent study.
  3. Mentoring
    1. Definition: Experience-based learning through a one-on-one mentorship, during which both the mentor and the learner may earn continuing competency hours. The mentorship shall provide a minimum of 15 hours of direct contact between the mentor and the mentee.
    2. Verification: A record of the name of the mentor and learner, the mentorship goals, the mentor’s teaching plan and evaluation of the learner, and the learners narrative account of what was learned along with an evaluation of the mentorship should be retained by both the mentor and the learner.
    3. Limitations
      1. The mentor must be licensed as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, and have at least 5 years of post-licensure experience in the subject of the mentorship.
      2. The learner must be licensed as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.
      3. Each mentoring relationship may earn a maximum of 10 continuing competency hours.
      4. No more than 18 continuing competency hours can be completed through mentorship.
  4. Publication of a field related article or textbook
    1. Definition: Authorship of an article published in a peer-reviewed journal, professional article in a non-peer-reviewed journal, or textbook related to occupational therapy.
    2. Verification: A copy of the published article or textbook.
    3. Limitations
      1. A maximum of 10 continuing competency hours can be earned for work as primary or co-author for an article published in a peer-reviewed journal or a textbook related to occupational therapy.
      2. A maximum of 5 continuing competency hours can be earned for work as primary or co-author for a professional article in a non-peer-reviewed journal related to occupational therapy.
      3. No more than 18 continuing competency hours may be completed through aforementioned publications.
    4. Related Activities
      1. A maximum of 10 continuing competency hours can be earned as primary or co-primary investigator in research activities.
      2. A maximum of 5 continuing competency hours can be earned for developing instructional materials, including but not limited to training manuals, multimedia or software programs, the subject of which shall be a professional subject.
      3. A maximum of 5 continuing competency hours can be earned for the peer review of an article in a journal or textbook.
  5. Participation in a Professional Presentation
    1. Definition: A presentation by the licensee at a professional conference sponsored by an approved organization that has an established record of sponsoring conferences for a profession licensed in Occupational Therapy.
    2. Limitations: A maximum of 5 continuing competency hours can be earned in through professional presentation.
  6. Participation in a Professional Association and/or Practice Committee
    1. Definition: Chairing a professional practice committee of an international, national, state or local professional association that has an established record of providing support and guidance for the practice of occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants.
    2. Limitations: A maximum of 5 continuing competency hours can be earned by a licensee serving as chair for a professional association or practice committee. Said chairpersonship must be for a duration of at least 1 year within the registration period.
  7. Participation in a Professional Study Group
    1. Definition: The professional study group shall be composed of 3 or more licensed occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants. The study group must have written goals for what it expects to accomplish along with a written study plan to meet these goals. The study group shall evaluate the learning activity in writing when the group has met its study goals. The study group shall maintain attendance records and meeting notes for what transpired at each meeting of the study group.
    2. Verification: Records including a list of participants, an attendance record, group goals, study plan, notes of meetings, and the evaluation of the learning activity must be retained by all participants.
    3. Limitations: 2 hours of participation in a study group = 1 continuing competency hour. No more than 18 continuing competency hours can be completed through participation in a study group.

What Documentation is Required for Registration Renewal?

None, you just need to apply for re-registration and pay the fee.

However, as part of the renewal process, you will be asked if you have satisfactorily completed the required 36 continuing competency hours.

  • If you have completed your 36 hours, you will answer "yes".
  • If you cannot meet this requirement, you must answer "no" and apply for an exemption or adjustment.

Exemptions and Adjustments

  1. Exemptions:
    1. You are exempt from the continuing competency requirements during your first 3-year registration period directly following your initial licensure to practice occupational therapy in New York State.
      ***This exemption does not apply to NYS licensees who have been previously licensed in occupational therapy in another state or jurisdiction.
    2. NYS licensees who have had a Lapse in Registration, and are not practicing occupational therapy in New York State, are exempt until they resume practice in New York State.
  2. Adjustments:
    1. An adjustment to the continuing competency requirement may be justified for licensees who can show “good cause” for their non-compliance. This includes, but is not limited to:
      1. Poor health (certified by a physician);
      2. A specific physical or mental disability (certified by an appropriate health care professional);
      3. Extended active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States;
      4. Other good cause to be determined by the Department.

Conditional Registration

A conditional registration may be issued to a licensee who admits to noncompliance with the continuing competency requirements, provided that they meet the following requirements:

  1. The licensee agrees to complete the remaining continuing competency hours within the conditional registration period,
  2. The licensee agrees to complete at least 1 continuing competency hour per month to fulfill their continuing competency requirement within the conditional registration period, and
  3. The licensee agrees to complete any additional continuing competency requirements within the conditional registration period as deemed necessary to ensure the proper delivery of professional care consistent with the practice of occupational therapy.
  4. The licensee agrees to pay a fee that is the same as and in addition to, any applicable fee for the triennial registration required by section 7904 of the Education Law (occupational therapists) or required by Part 76.7 of the Commissioner's Regulations (occupational therapy assistants). In addition, you must pay the $45 (occupational therapists) or $25 (occupational therapy assistants) mandatory continuing education fee.

You can request a conditional registration when completing your renewal application online or by submitting the Registration Renewal Addendum when submitting a paper renewal application.

Please Note: The duration of such conditional registration shall not exceed 1 year and shall not be renewed or extended.


What if I Have a Lapse in Practice?

Lapse in NYS Practice

Prior to February 13, 2013

A licensee returning to the practice of occupational therapy after a lapse in practice in New York State, who was authorized to practice occupational therapy in another state or jurisdiction whose first registration date after said lapse begins prior to February 13, 2016, shall complete acceptable learning activities at the rate of 1/2 hour per month for the period beginning February 13, 2013.

On or After February 13, 2013

A licensee returning to the practice of occupational therapy after a lapse in practice in New York State, who was authorized to practice occupational therapy in another state or jurisdiction whose first registration date after said lapse begins on or after February 13, 2016, shall complete 36 continuing competency hours.

Lapse in General Practice

Prior to February 13, 2013

A licensee returning to the practice of occupational therapy after a lapse in practice in New York State who was not authorized to practice occupational therapy in another state or jurisdiction whose first registration date after said lapse begins prior to February 13, 2016, shall complete acceptable learning activities at the rate of 1 hour per month for each month in which the licensee was not authorized to practice occupational therapy up to an additional 36 continuing competency hours for the period beginning February 13, 2013.

Please Note: The required continuing competency hours must be completed in the 3-year period prior to the new registration period, except that at least 12 hours shall be completed in the 12 months prior to the new registration period.

On or After February 13, 2013

A licensee returning to the practice of occupational therapy after a lapse in practice in New York State who was not authorized to practice occupational therapy in another state or jurisdiction whose first registration date after said lapse begins on or after February 13, 2016, shall complete acceptable learning activities at the rate of 1 hour per month for each month in which the licensee was not authorized to practice occupational therapy up to an additional 36 continuing competency hours for the period beginning February 13, 2013.

Please Note: The required continuing competency hours must be completed within the 3-year period prior to the new registration period, except that at least 12 hours must be completed in the 12 months prior to the new registration period.


What If I Am Audited?

Each licensee must maintain the following records:

  1. A learning plan for continuing competency that shall record current and anticipated goals.
  2. A comprehensive list of completed learning activities, which includes:
    1. The sponsor's name, and any identifying number as applicable,
    2. A written verification of attendance, if attendance as applicable,
    3. The date and location of the learning activity,
    4. The number of continuing competency hours completed,
    5. Any additional recordkeeping requirements as applicable to other learning activities such as: independent study, mentorship, publication, presentation, or professional study group.

Please Note: These records must be retained for at least 6 years from the date of completion of the activity and shall be available for review by the Department.


How Can My Organization Become a Sponsor for Occupational Therapy Continuing Competency Courses?

In order to be approved by the Department, organizations offering coursework or training to licensed occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants must meet the following criteria:

  1. A sponsor of coursework or training that is approved by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), or the New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA), or the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), or an equivalent organization as determined by the Department.

    OR

  2. Postsecondary institutions, provided that such approval is limited only to the offering of courses in programs that are registered by the Department, or in equivalent programs that are accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency.

    OR

  3. Postsecondary institutions, or a consortium of such institutions, that offer programs that are registered as leading to either licensure in occupational therapy or authorization to practice as an occupational therapy assistant, or equivalent professional education programs accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency, for credit and noncredit offerings.

If you do not meet the aforementioned criteria, please submit the CE Sponsorship Approval Application, Form 1-SB OT ( PDF 15 KB) along with the required attachments to the Department at the address at the end of the form.

About the Approval Process

Upon receipt of your application the Department shall conduct a review of your application for advance approval of coursework or training offered to a licensed occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants to meet the continuing competency requirement. As a part of this application process you are responsible for submitting the application at least 90 days prior to the scheduled date of such coursework or training.

You shall be required to submit additional documentation verifying that your organization:

  1. Will offer courses of study in one or more professional subjects,
  2. Is an organized educational entity or an entity that has expertise in the professional area being taught, (i.e. a postsecondary degree-granting institution, occupational therapy association, hospital or health maintenance organization, public school, or other acceptable organization as determined by the Department)
  3. Provides instructors who are qualified to teach the courses which will be offered, (i.e. faculty of an accredited occupational therapy or an occupational therapy assistant program, instructors specially qualified as authorities in the health sciences, or other acceptable course instructors as determined by the Department in consultation with the State Board for Occupational Therapy,
  4. Has and can clearly describe a method of assessing the learning of participants, and
  5. Will maintain records for at least 6 years from the date of coursework completion including:
    1. The name and curriculum vitae of the faculty,
    2. A record of attendance for of all participating licensed occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants,
    3. A course outline detailing the instruction curriculum,
    4. Date and location of the course, and
    5. The number of hours for completion of the course.

The Department may conduct site visits or request information from an approved sponsor to ensure compliance with such requirements, and a sponsor shall cooperate with the Department in permitting such site visits and in providing such information. Should a determination by the Department indicate that approved sponsor is not meeting the standards as indicated, it shall result in the denial or termination of the approved status of the sponsor.

Please Note: Department approval shall be valid for a 3-year term. Upon approval as a sponsor, in the event that your organization discontinues operation, the governing body of your organization is responsible for notifying the Department and transferring any and all records as directed by the Department. Please refer to §76.10 of the Education Law for further clarification.

Last Updated: April 2, 2014