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How To Become an Occupational Therapist in Michigan

Michigan is situated between the Great Lakes and has rich history of trade and commerce. Michigan is also a state that has tremendous demand for licensed Occupational Therapists. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that according to the 2010 census, Michigan employed over 4,000 Occupational Therapists, making it an excellent state to find work in. The BLS is expecting a very fast rate of growth for the Occupational Therapy profession of 33% faster than the average for the economy, during the decade 2010 to 2020. The BLS also brought together salary data from the 2010 census that showed a median yearly salary of $67,170 per year for licensed Occupational Therapists in Michigan.

The Michigan Board of Occupational Therapists is responsible for licensing OT professionals in the state of Michigan. There are two levels of licensure in Michigan 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 Michigan, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to fulfill the following steps:

Occupational Therapy Assistant Requirements:

  • 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 (ACOTE) certified school.
  • Performed at least 2 months of occupational therapy work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational therapist.
  • You must have at least two professional references to present to the board.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination.
  • To renew your license, you must complete 24 Continuing Education contact hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

Occupational Therapist Requirements:

  • 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 (ACOTE) 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.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To renew your license, you must complete 24 Continuing Education contact hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.


For additional details about how to become an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant, please read the following steps.

Step 1: Complete Your Occupational Therapy Education

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to obtain a license as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Michigan, you must first graduate from an ACOTE accredited school with at least an Associate’s degree in an OT related field. Michigan has six schools with the necessary accreditation:

  • Baker College-Muskego
  • Baker College-Allen Park
  • Macomb Community College
  • Grand Rapids Community College
  • Mott Community College
  • Wayne County Community College District-Detroit

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

To obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapist in Michigan, you must first obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an ACOTE certified program. Michigan has seven schools with the required certification:

  • Wayne State University
  • Western Michigan University-Kalamazoo
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Baker College Center for Graduate Studies
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Western Michigan University-Grand Rapids
  • Saginaw Valley State University

Step 2: Fulfill the Clinical Work Requirement

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Michigan, you must first perform two months of occupational therapy work under the supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

You must serve for six months in an OT clinic and under the direct supervision of a Licensed Occupational Therapist prior to licensure as an Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Take the NBCOT Exam

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must first obtain national certification before obtaining a state license as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. You must take the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam which is offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least in the 70th percentile to become nationally certified.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to become nationally certified as an Occupational Therapist, you must first take the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam and score at least in the 70th percentile.

Step 4: Apply for a Michigan State License

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

  • Submit a signed and completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for $90 license fee
  • Request transcripts from all attended colleges or universities
  • Forward score reports from your NBCOT exams
  • Request verification of licensure from past states in which you have practiced
  • Submit fingerprints for a criminal background check

It may take several weeks or months to collect all documents and issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Standing

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete 24 continuing education contact hours during the two year licensure period in order to qualify for renewal of licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

You must complete 24 continuing education contact hours during the two year licensure period to remain in good standing and obtain a renewal of licensure as an Occupational Therapist.

If you have further questions, you may find assistance at the following websites: