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Occupational Therapist Career Requirements Louisiana

Louisiana is home to one of the most unique cultures in America. In addition, to its incredible Cajun cultural back drop, Louisiana also has tremendous opportunity for its licensed Occupational Therapists. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has stated that according to information in the 2010 census, Louisiana employs approximately 1,350 Occupational Therapists. The BLS is currently projecting that the Occupational Therapy occupation will grow at a rate that is 33% faster than the average, during the decade spanning 2010 to 2020. The BLS also has salary information from 2010 showing that an Occupational Therapist in Louisiana can anticipate a median yearly salary of $71,650.

The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is responsible for licensing and renewing licenses of Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants in Louisiana. There are two levels of licensure in Louisiana 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 Louisiana, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to fulfill the following steps:

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 2 months of occupational therapy work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational therapist.
  • Notarized Oath or Affirmation which you can find here.
  • You must have at least two professional references to present to the board.
  • You must have a face to face meeting with the board unless you are a recent LA graduate.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination on which you must score a minimum score of 450.
  • To renew your license, you must complete 12 Continuing Education contact hours per year during the licensure period.
  • You will need to provide a verification of supervision from an Occupational Therapist, the form for which you can find here.
  • 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.
  • You must have at least two professional references to present to the board.
  • You must have a face to face meeting with the board unless you are a recent LA graduate.
  • Notarized Oath or Affirmation which you can find here.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination on which you must score a minimum score of 450.
  • To renew your license, you must complete 12 Continuing Education contact hours per year during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.

For further details about the licensure process, please continue reading.

Step 1: Graduate from an ACOTE Certified School

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to obtain a license as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Louisiana, you must have graduated from an ACOTE approved school with at least an Associate’s degree. Louisiana has three schools with degree programs accredited by ACOTE for Occupational Therapy Assistants:

  • Delgado Community College
  • University of Louisiana-Monroe
  • Bossier Parish Community College

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must graduate from an ACOTE certified school with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an occupational therapy related field, to qualify for an Occupational Therapist license in Louisiana. Louisiana has two schools with accredited programs:

  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport

Step 2: Fulfill Clinical Work Requirements

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must serve for at least two months in a clinical occupational therapy setting and under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist in order to satisfy state licensing requirements for Occupational Therapy Assistants.
Registered Occupational Therapist:

Louisiana state law requires that you complete at least six months of clinical occupational therapy work under the supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist prior to licensure.

Step 3: Pass the National Certification Exam

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) offers prospective Occupational Therapy Assistants the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam. You must score at least in the 70th percentile to pass this exam and obtain certification to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in the U.S.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must take the NBCOT’s Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam and score at least in the 70th percentile to obtain national certification as an Occupational Therapist.

Step 4: Apply for a Louisiana State License

You must perform the following steps to obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant in Louisiana:

  • Submit a signed and completed application
  • Submit a notarized Oath of Affirmation here
  • Provide a check or money order made payable to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners; Occupational Therapist
  • licenses are $150, while Occupational Therapy Licenses are $100
  • Submit Verification of Supervision from a licensed Occupational Therapist
  • Provide official transcripts from all post-secondary schools
  • Provide Verification of Licensure from past jurisdictions in which you have practiced
  • Provide two character recommendations
  • Provide Verification of Certification from NBCOT

You may expect a wait of several weeks or months before the board issues a license.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Credentials

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete at least 12 continuing education contact hours each year to remain in good standing for license renewal as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for license renewal as an Occupational Therapist, you must complete 12 continuing education contact hours each year.

If you wish to learn more about the occupational therapy profession in Louisiana, you may find more information at the following websites: