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How to Get Occupational Therapist Licensure in Mississippi

Mississippi has a long and varied history due to being along the great river the state is named after. Mississippi is also a state with a lot of employment chances for licensed Occupational Therapists. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has compiled information from the 2010 census that demonstrates that Mississippi employed approximately 900 Occupational Therapists. The BLS is projecting a continued surge in demand for the Occupational Therapy career path by anticipating a growth rate that is 33% faster than the average for the economy for the decade 2010 to 2020. The BLS also has data from the 2010 census showing that Occupational Therapists in 2010 could expect a median yearly salary of $74,700 in Mississippi.

The Professional Licensure Division of the Mississippi Department of Health is the state’s licensing body for OT professionals. There are two levels of licensure in Mississippi 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 Mississippi, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to fulfill the following steps:

Mississippi 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 (ACOTE) certified school.
  • Performed at least 2 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 20 Continuing Education contact hours during the 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 (ACOTE) 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 20 Continuing Education contact hours during the licensure period.
    You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.

The exact details for becoming an Occupational Therapy professional in Mississippi are as follows.

Step 1: Complete the Required Education at an ACOTE Accredited School

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

If you wish to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Mississippi, you must first graduate from an ACOTE approved curriculum with at least an Associate’s degree. Mississippi has three schools with ACOTE Accreditation:

  • Itawamba Community College, Tupelo
  • Holmes Community College-Ridgeland
  • Pearl River Community College

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapist, you must first graduate from an ACOTE accredited school with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Mississippi has one school with the required accreditation:

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center

Step 2: Fulfill the Practical Experience Requirement

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Mississippi state law requires that you complete at least two months of supervised clinical occupational therapy work prior to licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must complete at least six months of occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Licensed Occupational therapist in order to qualify for licensure as an Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Pass the National Certification Exam

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

National certification is a pre-requisite of state licensure in Mississippi. In order to become nationally certified you must take the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least 450 .

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to obtain national certification as an Occupational Therapist, you must take the NBCOT’s Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam and score at least a 450.

Step 4: Apply for a Mississippi State License

To obtain a state OT or OTA license, you must perform the following steps:

  • Submit a signed, notarized and completed application
  • Provide a check or money order of $100 for the application fee
  • Provide a check or money order for the license fee; this is $100 for OTAs and $100 for OTs
  • Request the NBCOT send a Verification of Certification to the Professional Licensure Division
  • Request Verifications of Licensure from past jurisdictions in which you have practiced be sent to the Professional Licensure Division
  • Submit proof of citizenship or work permit
  • Forward official transcripts from all attended colleges and universities

Allow several weeks or months for the licensing board to collect documents, review them and issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Occupational Therapy Licensure

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete 20 continuing education contact hours during the two year licensure period, in order to qualify for license renewal as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to remain in good standing and qualify for Occupational Therapist license renewal, you must complete 20 continuing education contact hours within the two year licensure period.

If you are new to the Occupational Therapy profession or the state, you may find additional resources and information at the following websites: