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How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Alaska

The state of Alaska boasts stunning vistas and unparalleled natural beauty, and it is also a great state to have a career as an Occupational Therapist. The state of Alaska had roughly 200 Occupational Therapists, which is a number that is expected to increase 33% faster than the average sector of the economy over the next decade according to the BLS. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics had a 2010 median salary in Alaska of $75,050 per year for Occupational Therapists.

In Alaska, the State Board of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy licenses both Registered Occupational Therapists an Occupational Therapy Assistants. If you want to become an Occupational Therapist in Alaska, or an Occupational Therapist Assistant you will need to fulfill the following steps:

Alaska Physical Therapy Certification

Occupational Therapist Assistant:

  • You must earn an Associate’s degree or higher in Occupational Therapy Assistant program from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (AOTE) certified school.
  • Submit proof of at least 60 hours of occupational therapy supervised field experience as part of a practicum developed by your school or as paid work experience.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Provide at least one letter of reference from a supervisor or professor.
  • Pass the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination.
  • Pass the Alaska Jurisprudence examination for Occupational Therapists.
  • Complete 40 hours of Continuing Education credits during every two year licensure period.
  • You can find the application form here.

Registered Occupational Therapist

  • You must earn a Bachelor or Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (AOTE) certified school.
  • Performed at least 60 hours of occupational therapy service AND completed at least 24 contact hours of occupational therapy related course work; OR Pass a 150 hour internship as determined by the board; OR Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Provide at least one letter of reference from a supervisor or professor.
  • Pass the Alaska Jurisprudence examination for Occupational Therapists.
  • Complete 40 hours of Continuing Education credits during every two year licensure period.
  • You can find the application form here.

For a detailed description on how to become a Registered Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapist Assistant, please examine the following steps.

Step 1: Graduate from an Accredited Occupational Therapy Program

Occupational Therapy Assistants:

Occupational Therapy Assistants must complete a two year program of study at an accredited college.

Registered Occupational Therapists:

If you are seeking a career as a Registered Occupational Therapist must graduate with a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree from an accredited OT program. In Alaska, there is one university with an accredited OT program:

  • Creighton University at the University of Alaska-Anchorage

Step 2: Complete a Practicum or Internship

Internships and practicums are performed in a clinical setting under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist. Usually you may enroll in an internship through university or college programs, but you may also find them independently.

Occupational Therapy Assistants:

In Alaska, you must complete 60 hours of supervised field service prior to licensing as an Occupational Therapist Assistant.

Registered Occupational Therapists:

If you are seeking a career as a Registered Occupational Therapist, you must complete 150 hours of supervised clinical work; or 60 hours of occupational therapy service in addition to 24 contact hours of course work related to occupational therapy.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

In order to serve as a Registered Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapist Assistant in Alaska, you must successfully complete the required exam by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NCBOT). The cost of a paper exam is $540, while an online exam is $500. If you fail the exam, you may repeat taking the exam until you pass.

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must take and pass the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam in order to obtain a license.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

If you are seeking licensure as a Registered Occupational Therapist, you must pass the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam.

Step 4: Take the Alaska Licensing Exam and Apply for a State License

Prior to practicing OT in Alaska, you must first sit for the state licensing examination. This is offered periodically by the State Board of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Applicants may apply for a temporary permit to begin practicing, which is good until the results of the next exam become publicly available.

You must complete the following steps to obtain a license.

  • Submit a notarized application along with a $50 application fee
  • Provide professional reference form from a supervisor, instructor, doctor or school
  • Provide Verification of Licensure from jurisdictions in which you have previously practiced
  • Submit Verification of Certification from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
  • Provide a licensure fee of $180 for Occupational Therapist licenses or $130 for Occupational Therapist Assistant licenses

If approved, you should receive a license within four to six weeks.

Step 5: Maintaining Your License

Occupational Therapist Assistants:

You must complete 40 continuing education units every two years to maintain your Occupational Therapist Assistant License.

Registered Occupational Therapists:

In order to maintain your Registered Occupational Therapist license, you must successfully obtain 40 CEUs every two years.

New occupational therapy professionals may find assistance or networking opportunities at the following professional associations:

Alaska Occupational Therapy Association (AKOTA)
American Occupational Therapy Foundation