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How To Become Occupational Therapist in Nebraska

Nebraska is part of the American Heartland and also one of the major breadbasket areas of the country. Nebraska is a state with opportunity for the licensed Occupational Therapist. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has gleaned the following data from the 2010 census showing that Nebraska employed roughly 790 Occupational Therapists in 2010. The BLS is currently projecting that demand for the Occupational Therapy sector will increase at a rate that is 33% faster than the average economic sector. The BLS has also shown that the 2010 census has data showing Occupational Therapists in 2010 had a median yearly salary of $72,400 per year.

The Licensure Unit of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services issues licenses to the occupational therapy profession. There are two levels of licensure in Nebraska 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.

In addition, Nebraska offers a Physical Agent Modalities (PAMS) certification for licensed Occupational therapists who have received theoretical training and have practiced clinical application. You can read more on PAMS here. 

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

Nebraska Physical Therapy License and Certification

NE, 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 50 Continuing Competency contact hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

NE, 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 50 Continuing Competency contact hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.


For more information about how to become an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant, please continue reading.

Step 1: Graduate from an ACOTE Accredited University

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Occupational Therapy Assistants in Nebraska must first graduate from an ACOTE certified degree program with at least an Associate’s degree. Nebraska has one school with the necessary accreditation:

Central Community College-Grand Island

Registered Occupational Therapist:

To obtain a license as an Occupational Therapist, you must first possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an ACOTE accredited school. Nebraska is the home of two such schools:

  • College of St. Mary
  • Creighton University

Step 2: Complete the Required Clinical Work

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete at least two months of clinical occupational therapy work under the direction of a Licensed Occupational Therapist in order to qualify for a license as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Nebraska.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

If you are seeking a license as an Occupational Therapist, you must first complete at least six months of clinical OT work under the supervision of a Licensed Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Prior to obtaining your Nebraska state license, you must first become nationally certified. The Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam is offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, and you must score at least 450 to become certified.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must take the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam which is offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least 450 in order to earn national certification, a pre-requisite of state licensure.

Step 4: Apply for a Nebraska State License

If you are seeking a license as an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must perform the following steps:

  • Submit a signed and completed application
  • Provide a check or money order payable to the Licensure Unit for the licensing fee; this amount is usually $120, except from
  • February to July of even numbered years when it is only $30
  • Request official transcripts be sent to the board from all attended colleges
  • Request that the NBCOT send a notice of certification to the board
  • Submit Verifications of Licensure from past states in which you have practiced

Allow several weeks for the necessary documentation to arrive and for the board to review your qualifications and issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Credentials

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

If you seek to renew your license as an Occupational Therapy Assistant at the end of the two year licensure period, you must complete 50 continuing education contact hours prior to license expiration.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for license renewal as an Occupational Therapist, you must complete at least 50 continuing education contact hours within the two year licensure period.

If you would like additional information or resources, you may wish to visit the following websites: