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How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Indiana

Indiana is a state with a huge amount of potential for Occupational Therapists seeking to find a lasting and fulfilling career. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics data from the 2010 census, Indiana as a state has over 2,400 Occupational Therapists working in various capacities. In addition to the substantial number of Occupational Therapists already working, the BLS projects that the sector will grow at a very high rate equal 33% faster than the average for the US economy during the current decade of 2010 to 2020. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics census data shows that Occupational Therapists working in Indiana in 2010 had a median yearly salary of $76,360.

In Indiana, the Occupational Therapy Committee is the state agency responsible for issuing and renewing licenses for occupational therapy professionals. There are three levels of licensure in Indiana the Occupational Therapy Aide, 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.

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

Indiana Occupational Therapy Aide:

  • An occupational therapy aide is an unlicensed or uncertified person who assists in the practice of occupational therapy.
  • Does not require a degree, but does require a board approved training program along with site specific training.
  • Must work under the direct supervision of an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant.
  • The Occupational Therapy Aide is not allowed to perform assessments, reassessments, establish treatment plans or initiate treatment modifications.
  • In other respects the Occupational Therapy Aide performs a function similar to the Occupational Therapy Assistant.

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.
  • Performed at least 3 months of occupational therapy work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational therapist.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination.
  • To renew your license, you must complete 18 Continuing Competency contact hours during every two year licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

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 6 months of occupational therapy work experience as part of an internship under a licensed Occupational Therapist.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To renew your license, you must complete 18 Continuing Competency contact hours during every two year licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.


The exact requirements for practicing occupational therapy in Indiana are as follows:

Step 1: Complete Your Education at an ACOTE Certified School

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must graduate from an ACOTE certified school with at least an Associate’s degree in order to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. There are five schools in Indiana with this accreditation:

  • Brown Mackie College-Fort Wayne
  • Brown Mackie College-South Bend
  • Brown Mackie College-Indianapolis
  • Brown Mackie College-Merriville
  • University of Southern Indiana

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to obtain a license as an Occupational Therapist, you must graduate from an ACOTE accredited school with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. There are three schools in Indiana that possess this accreditation:

  • University of Indianapolis
  • Indiana University
  • University of Southern Indiana

Step 2: Fulfill the Supervised Contact Work Requirement

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Prior to licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must complete at least three months of contact work under the supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist. You must documentation of this work to the state board to qualify for a license.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must complete at least six months of occupational therapy work in a clinical setting while under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist in order to qualify for a Registered Occupational Therapist license. This work must be documented and presented to the Indiana licensing committee to qualify for a license.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

If you are seeking a license as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must take the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least a 70.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

To obtain national certification as a Registered Occupational Therapist, you must pass the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam which is offered by the NBCOT and score at least a 70.

Step 4: Apply for an Indiana State License

The application process for Occupational Therapy Assistants as well as Occupational Therapists is as follows:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Provide a $100 license fee in the form of a check or money order
  • Submit two photographs
  • Submit to a criminal background check
  • Request official transcripts from schools where occupational therapy education was obtained
  • Request NBCOT score reports be sent to the Occupational Therapy Committee
  • Request state license verifications from past jurisdictions be sent to the Occupational Therapy Committee

The licensing committee may require several weeks or months to collect the appropriate documents, review them, and issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Credentials

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

If you wish to renew your license as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must complete 18 continuing competency contact hours during the two year licensure cycle.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must complete 18 continuing competency contact hours during the two year licensure period if you wish to qualify for license renewal at the expiration of your present license.

If you are new to the state of Indiana or to the occupational therapy profession, you may wish to contact the following organizations and request further assistance or information: