License Requirements: Occupational Therapist & Occupational Therapy Assistant

General Requirements | Fees | Partial Refunds | Education Requirements | Examination Requirements | English Proficiency | Limited Permits | Application Forms

General Requirements

Any use of the titles occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant within New York State requires licensure as an occupational therapist or authorization as an occupational therapy assistant.

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

To be authorized as an occupational therapy assistant in New York State you must:

  • be of good moral character
  • be at least 18 years of age
  • meet education and examination requirements

You must submit an Application for Licensure/Authorization (Form 1) and the other forms indicated, along with the appropriate fee, to the Office of the Professions at the address specified on each form. It is your responsibility to follow up with anyone you have asked to send us material.

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.

You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.


Fees

  • The fee for licensure for occupational therapy is $294.
  • The fee for a limited permit for occupational therapy is $70.
  • The fee for authorization for occupational therapy assistant is $147.
  • The fee for a limited permit for occupational therapy assistant is $70.

Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received (unless fees are increased retroactively). You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.

  • Do not send cash.
  • Make your check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
  • Mail your application and fee to:

    New York State Education Department
    Office of the Professions
    P.O. Box 22063
    Albany, New York 12201

NOTE: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.


Partial Refunds

Individuals who withdraw their licensure application may be entitled to a partial refund.

  • For the procedure to withdraw your application, contact the Occupational Therapy Unit at opunit3@mail.nysed.gov or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 270 or by fax at 518-402-5354.
  • The State Education Department is not responsible for any fees paid to an outside testing or credentials verification agency.

If you withdraw your application, obtain a refund, and then decide to seek New York State licensure at a later date, you will be considered a new applicant, and you will be required to pay the licensure and registration fees and meet the licensure requirements in place at the time you reapply.


Education Requirements

Approved and Accredited Occupational Therapy Programs

For a list of New York State approved programs for both occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant, see the New York State Education Department's Inventory of Registered Programs at www.nysed.gov/heds/irpsl1.html.

For a list of programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), visit AOTA's website at: www.aota.org External Link Iconor contact AOTA at:

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane
P.O. Box 31220
Bethesda, MD 20824-1220
Phone 301-652-2682
Fax 301-652-7711.

NOTE: If you seek to meet the education requirement through a program completed outside the United States that is not AOTA accredited, your educational credentials must be verified by an independent credentials verification organization. See below for further instructions.

Occupational Therapist applicants:

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 (please see "Proof of Education" instructions below for verifying your education credentials), 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.

Occupational Therapy Assistant applicants:

To meet the professional education requirement for authorization as an occupational therapy assistant, if your education was from a:

  • New York State Registered Occupational Therapy Assistant Program or AOTA Accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, you must have completed:
    • a two-year associate degree program for occupational therapy assistants.
  • non-New York State Registered or non-AOTA Accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant degree Program, you must have completed:
    • a post-secondary program in occupational therapy of at least two years duration which is satisfactory to the New York State Education Department.

Proof of Education for Occupational Therapist and Occupational Therapy Assistant:

  • Graduates of New York State Registered Programs or AOTA Accredited Programs

    You must have your Registrar's Office forward a completed Certification of Professional Education (Form 2) which documents that you have satisfactorily completed all requirements for your degree. The Registrar's Office must send the completed Certification of Professional Education (Form 2) directly to:

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

  • Graduates of Programs Located Outside the United States that are not AOTA Accredited

    If you seek to meet the education requirements with credentials from programs outside the United States that are not accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), you must have your educational credentials verified by an independent credentials verification organization acceptable to the Department. In the profession of Occupational Therapy, that is the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

    Contact CGFNS at the address below for the application and instructions to complete the CGFNS Credentials Verification Service for New York State licensure applicants. Please note this verification service is not the same as CGFNS Visa screen. The CGFNS Credentials Verification Service for NYS licensure applicants is a process for verifying the authenticity of your education credentials. It is not an evaluation or certification process.

    The CGFNS credentials verification service for New York State applicants does not indicate approval by the New York State Education Department of the content of your education. After your educational credentials are validated by CGFNS they will be evaluated by the New York State Education Department and you will be advised of the result. Contact CGFNS at:

    The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
    PO Box 8628
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-8628
    Phone 215-349-8767
    Fax 215-349-0026
    Web www.cgfns.org External Link Icon


Examination Requirements

Occupational therapists must pass the NBCOT OTR examination and occupational therapy assistants must pass the COTA 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.

To obtain a Candidate Handbook for the examination contact NBCOT at:

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.
800 S. Frederick Avenue, Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150
Phone 301-990-7979
Web www.nbcot.org External Link Icon

If you have previously taken and passed the certification examination, ask NBCOT to provide written verification of your certification directly to the address listed above.


English Proficiency

If your application is based on credit granted for the completion of courses of study in a country where English is not the principal language spoken, you must demonstrate proficiency in English by passing either an examination in English proficiency or a licensing examination given in English (for example, the NBCOT certification examination). Either exam must be acceptable to the Department. For further information, contact the New York State Education Department's Bureau for Comparative Education at comped@mail.nysed.gov or 518-474-3817, ext. 300.


Limited Permits

A limited permit in occupational therapy allows an individual who has completed an occupational therapy educational program to work, under supervision, between the completion of the program and the time that the licensing examination results are received. You may apply for a limited permit to practice as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant with or after you submit the Application for Licensure/Authorization (Form 1), the application fee, and evidence of completion of a satisfactory educational program.

A permittee is authorized to practice as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant only under the supervision of a New York State licensed occupational therapist or a New York State licensed physician and may practice only in a public, voluntary, or proprietary hospital, or health care agency, or in a preschool or elementary school as a related service for a handicapped child. Permittees are not authorized to practice in the private office of a licensed occupational therapist or physician.

The limited permit is valid for one year and may be renewed once, at the discretion of the Department, for one additional year. To do so you must submit a new application, an explanation as to why you failed to become licensed within the year of the original permit and the appropriate fee.

NOTE: Both the employer and the employee may be prosecuted under Title VIII of the Education Law if an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant is employed without a license or limited permit.

Last Updated: April 8, 2014