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How to Become an Occupational Therapist License in Montana

Montana is often called Big Sky Country for its panoramic and incredible natural vistas. Montana is a state with opportunity for the licensed Occupational Therapist. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the 2010 census showed that Montana employed approximately 250 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 $65,620 per year in 2010.

The Montana Board of Occupational Therapy Practice is responsible for licensing OT professionals in the state. There are two levels of licensure in Montana 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 Montana, 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 (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.

You may find additional details about how to become an occupational therapy professional in the following steps.

Step 1: Acquire a Degree in Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to qualify for licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Montana, you must first graduate with at least an Associate’s degree from an ACOTE certified degree program. Montana does not currently possess any schools with ACOTE accreditation, but the state does recognize degrees from schools in any other U.S. state and many foreign countries.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

Montana only licensed Occupational Therapists who have graduated from an ACOTE accredited school with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an OT related discipline. Although Montana does not have any schools with ACOTE accreditation, it does accept professionals who have graduated from schools in other states and some foreign countries.

Step 2: Complete an Internship or Practicum

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Montana requires that prospective Occupational Therapy Assistants complete at least two months of clinical occupational therapy work under the direct supervision of Licensed Occupational Therapist.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

If you are seeking an Occupational Therapist license in Montana, you must first complete at least six months of clinical occupational therapy work under the supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Prior to state licensing, you must first obtain national certification which involves taking the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and scoring at least 450.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

You must first become nationally certified in order to qualify for licensure in Montana. In order to become nationally certified, you must take the NBCOT’s Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam and score at least 450.

Step 4: Apply for a Montana State License

You must complete the following steps in order to obtain a Montana state license for an OT or OTA.

  • Submit a signed, completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for $190 made payable to the Board of Occupational Therapy Practice
  • Submit a copy of your NBCOT certificate
  • Forward Verifications of Licensure from past states in which you have practiced
  • Provide a copy of an approved form of identification
  • Allow several weeks for the state licensing board to collect and review documents, and issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Credentials

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to qualify for Occupational Therapy Assistant license renewal at the end of the two year licensure period, you must complete 20 continuing education contact hours prior to the expiration of your current license.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

If you wish to renew your Occupational Therapy license at the end of the two year licensure period, you must complete 20 continuing education contact hours by the end of the licensure period.

If you have further questions, you may direct them to the following organizations: