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How to Become a Occupational Therapist in Georgia

Georgia is a state with a long and storied history, as well as plenty of opportunity for its Occupational Therapists. With over 3,900 active OT and OTA licenses Georgia has quite a bit of demand for OT’s and OTA’s. In addition, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is currently projecting that the Occupational Therapy sector should increase about 33% faster than the average for the US economy during the current decade. The BLS has salary data from the 2010 census showing that Occupational Therapists in Georgia had a median yearly salary of $74,680.

In Georgia, OT professionals must obtain licensure through the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy. There are two levels of licensure in Georgia the Occupational Therapy Assistant and the Occupational Therapist. While you are waiting to sit for your examination you can apply for a temporary license to practice at either level.
There is also a Physical Agent Modalities license that can be attained after you have your Occupational Therapist license.

If you want to become an Occupational Therapist in Georgia, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to fulfill the following steps:

Georgia Physical Therapy Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

  • You must earn an Associate’s degree or higher in Occupational Therapy from an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (AOTE) certified school.
  • Submit proof of at least 16 weeks 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.
  • You will need three professional references from either professors or licensed Occupational Therapists.
  • Pass the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination.
  • To renew your license, you must complete 20 hours of CEU during every two year licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapy Assistant 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 24 weeks of occupational therapy work experience.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • You will need three professional references from either professors or licensed Occupational Therapists.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To renew your license, you must complete 20 hours of CEU during every two year licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.

Physical Agent Modalities Certificate

  • You must provide proof of a minimum of 90 contact hours of instruction or training in the required content areas around physical agent modalities.
  • No less than 36 contact hours must be directly related to the specific theories and practical application of physical agent modalities.
  • You can find the application here.


In order to better assist you in the licensure process, the exact details of these steps are provided as follows.

Step 1: Complete Your Occupational Therapy Education

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must have graduated from an ACOTE accredited school with at least an Associate’s degree to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Georgia. There are six colleges in Georgia with this accreditation:

  • Brown Mackie College-Atlanta
  • Augusta Technical College
  • Chattahoochee Technical College
  • Middle Georgia College
  • Georgia Northwestern Technical College-Walker
  • Darton College

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an accredited ACOTE college or university in order to obtain a license as a Registered Occupational Therapist in Georgia. Georgia is the home of three accredited schools:

  • Georgia Health Sciences University
  • Brenau University-North Atlanta
  • Brenau University-Gainesville

Step 2: Serve Under a Licensed Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to earn a license as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Georgia, you must complete at least 16 weeks of occupational therapy work under the supervision of a licensed OT.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

If you are seeking a license as an Occupational Therapist, you must have performed at least 24 weeks of occupational therapy work in a clinical setting under the oversight of a licensed Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Pass the National Certification Exam

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NCBOT) offers exams for nationally certifying OT professionals. The online version of these exams is $500, while the paper version is $540.

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

If you wish to be nationally certified as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must take and pass the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must pass the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam in order to obtain national certification as a Registered Occupational Therapist.

Step 4: Apply for a Georgia License

You must complete the following steps to apply for a license as an OT professional in Georgia:

  • Submit a completed and signed application
  • Provide a money order or check for the license fee; $60 for Occupational Therapist license and $50 for Occupational Therapy Assistant licenses
  • Request a verification of Certification from NBCOT be sent to the board
  • Submit official transcripts from schools you attended
  • Provide three references which include two from licensed Occupational Therapists

Allow at least eight to ten weeks for a license to be issued.

Physical Agent Modalities:

Following licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant or Registered Occupational Therapist, you may obtain certification in Physical Agent Modalities. Physical Agent Modalities include the use of advanced technologies like ultrasound or light therapy. OT professionals who desire licensing in PAM should complete 90 hours of training which should include at least 36 hours of principles and practical application. The license application may be downloaded here.

Step 5: Continuing Education

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to maintain your Occupational Therapy Assistant license, you must successfully complete 20 hours of continuing education units during the two year licensure period.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must complete 20 continuing education units within the two year licensure period in order to qualify for license renewal as a Registered Occupational Therapist.

If you are new to the profession or the region, you may find additional information and resources at these organizations: