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How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Missouri

Missouri is situated in America’s heartland and has a long and storied history. Missouri is also a state that offers a tremendous amount of opportunity for the licensed Occupational Therapist. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has brought forth data from the 2010 census showing that Missouri employed roughly 2,750 Occupational Therapists in 2010. The BLS is currently anticipating a very substantial increase in demand for the Occupational Therapy sector and is projecting a growth rate that is 33% faster than the average for the economy as a whole. The BLS has also shown that the 2010 census has data that shows that Occupational Therapists could expect a median yearly salary of $70,080 per year in 2010.

The Missouri Board of Occupational Therapy is responsible for licensing professionals in occupational therapy. There are two levels of licensure in Missouri 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. Temporary licenses require that you work under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist who has a minimum of one year of licensure with the state.

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

Missouri 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.
  • 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 18 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.
  • 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 join the occupational therapy profession, please continue reading.

Step 1: Graduate from an ACOTE Accredited School

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

To qualify for licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Missouri, you must graduate from an ACOTE certified school with at least an Associate’s degree in an OT related discipline. Missouri is the home of eight ACOTE accredited schools:

  • Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley
  • Ozarks Technical Community College
  • St. Charles Community College
  • Sanford-Brown College-Hazelwood
  • Missouri Health Professions Consortium
  • Brown Mackie College-St. Louis
  • St. Louis Community College-Meramec
  • St. Louis College of Health Careers County Campus

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for an Occupational Therapist license, you must graduate from an ACOTE accredited school with at least a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an OT related discipline. Missouri has five schools with the required accreditation:

  • University of Missouri
  • Washington University
  • St. Louis University
  • Rockhurst University
  • Maryville University

Step 2: Complete an Internship or Practicum

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

State law requires that you complete at least two months of occupational therapy work in a clinical setting under the direction of a Licensed Occupational Therapist in order to qualify for OTA licensure.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for an Occupational Therapy license, you must first complete at least six months of clinical work under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Pass the National Certification Exam

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to practice as an OTA in the United States, you must first take the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and score at least in the 70th percentile.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

All states require that Licensed Occupational Therapists pass the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam which is offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. You must score at least within the 70th percentile to pass this exam.

Step 4: Take the State Exam and Apply for a Missouri State License

All Missouri OT licensed professionals must take the state’s Jurisprudence exam prior to licensure. This is an open book exam.

In order to obtain a license as an OT or OTA, you must perform the following steps.

  • Complete, sign and submit the application
  • Provide a check or money order for the licensing fee; this is $30 for OTAs and $55 for OTs
  • Provide Verification of Licensures from prior jurisdictions in which you have practiced
  • Request that the NBCOT send Verification of Certification to the Missouri Board of Occupational Therapy
  • Request official transcripts from all attended post-secondary schools be sent to Missouri Board of Occupational Therapy

Allow several weeks for the licensing board to review the documents and issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete 18 continuing education contact hours during the two year licensure period in order to qualify for license renewal.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to renew your Occupational Therapist license upon expiration, you must complete 24 continuing education contact hours during the two year licensure period.