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How To Become an Occupational Therapist Colorado


Colorado is nestled in the incredible Rocky Mountains and is not only home to unparalleled skiing, but also tremendous opportunities for Occupational Therapists. The 2010 census revealed that Colorado employed 9,250+ Occupational Therapists. In addition to the large amount of Occupational Therapists already employed, the BLS projects the sector to grow about 33% faster than the average for the US economy during the current 10 year period. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also has data showing that Occupational Therapists in Colorado had a 2010 median yearly salary of $86,380.

The Office of Occupational Therapist Registration is the licensing body for Occupational Therapists in Colorado. There is only one level of licensure in Colorado the Registered Occupational Therapist. While you are waiting to sit for your examination you can apply for a temporary license to practice.

If you want to become a Registered Occupational Therapist in Colorado you will need to fulfill the following steps to become registered:

Colorado Physical Therapy Certification

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 24 weeks of occupational therapy work experience as part of an internship under a Registered Occupational Therapist.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • There is no continuing education or continuing competency requirement in Colorado.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Although Occupational Therapy Assistants may practice in Colorado, they are not licensed by the Colorado state government yet. Colorado, however, has recently enacted a new law that will begin licensing Occupational Therapy Assistants in 2014. Although the exact details of this licensing process have not been disclosed by the licensing body, you should expect similar but less demanding procedures to those regarding Registered Occupational therapists.

For a more detailed procedural on how to become a Registered Occupational Therapist in Colorado, please examine the following.

Step 1: Obtain a Degree from an Accredited University

If you would like to join the OT profession as a Registered Occupational Therapist, you must graduate from a college or university that has been accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (AOTE). A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for Registered Occupational Therapists.

Colorado has only one school with an AOTE accreditation for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program:

  • Colorado State University

There are, however, two AOTE certified programs if you wish to prepare for a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistants in 2014, or out of the state:

  • Pueblo Community College
  • Pima Medical Institute-Denver

Step 2: Complete an Internship or Practicum

Colorado requires that you complete at least 24 weeks of supervised occupational therapy work in a clinical setting prior to issuance of a license for a Registered Occupational Therapist. This must be documented by the supervising Registered Occupational Therapist, and the documents submitted to the state licensing board.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy offers the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam, which you must successfully pass in order to practice in Colorado. This exam is available as a hard copy or online. The paper version requires a fee of $540, while the online version only costs $500. You may take the exam as many times as necessary to pass it, but you must wait 45 days between each attempt. The Notices of Verification cost $45 each, while the score reports are $40 each.

Step 4: Apply for a Colorado State License

You must complete the following steps to apply for a license as a Registered Occupational Therapist.

  • Submit a completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for the appropriate fee amount (fees change annually on July 1)
  • Submit a Verification of Certification from the NBCOT
  • Currently practicing Registered Occupational Therapists may apply for an Endorsement by submitting a license from a state in
  • which you are currently registered
  • Submit an Affidavit of Eligibility along with supporting documentation

You should allow for several weeks before expecting the board to issue a license. You may check the status of your application here.

Step 5: Maintain Your License

Although there is no continuing education requirement for Registered Occupational Therapists, you are expected to renew your license through the Office of Occupational Therapist Registration. This requires paying the license renewal fee every two years.

For new Occupational Therapists, the following associations may be able to offer further information: