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Occupational Therapist Certification New Jersey

New Jersey is located in the North East and is the most densely populated state in the union. New Jersey has a tremendous amount of employment opportunity for its licensed Occupational Therapists. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has examined the data from the 2010 census showing that New Jersey had approximately 3430 licensed Occupational Therapists in 2010. The BLS is currently anticipating an increase in overall demand for the Occupational Therapy sector which it expects will grow at a rate that is 33% faster than the average for the US economy in 2010 to 2020. The BLS also provided information from the 2010 census showing that Occupational Therapists in New Jersey during 2010 had a median salary of $86,680 per year.

The Occupational Therapy Advisory Council is responsible for issuing OT licenses and responding to complaints about OT professionals in New Jersey. There are two levels of licensure in New Jersey 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 practice in New Jersey with Physical Agent Modalities (PAMS), there is a special certificate offered to licensed Occupational therapists who have received theoretical training and have practiced clinical application. You can read more on PAMS.

If you want to become an Occupational Therapist in New Jersey, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to follow these steps:

New Jersey Physical Therapy Certification

NJ, Occupational Therapy Assistant Requirements:

  • You must earn an Associate’s degree or higher in Occupational Therapy Assistant program from an American Occupational
  • Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) certified school.
  • Performed at least 12 weeks of occupational therapy work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational therapist.
  • Provide at least two references in the form of Certificates of Good Moral Character.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination.
  • To reactivate a lapsed license, you must complete Continuing Competency contact hours as determined by the board for your lapse in licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

NJ 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 24 weeks of occupational therapy work experience as part of an internship under a licensed Occupational Therapist.
  • Provide at least two references in the form of Certificates of Good Moral Character.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To reactivate a lapsed license, you must complete Continuing Competency contact hours as determined by the board for your lapse in licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.


For additional information about obtaining Occupational Therapy licensure in New Jersey, please complete the following steps.

Step 1: Obtain an Occupational Therapy Degree

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

If you would like to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in New Jersey, you must possess at least an Associate’s degree in an OT field from an ACOTE certified school. Although New Jersey does not have any ACOTE accredited schools, the licensing board recognizes degrees from other U.S. states and several foreign countries.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

New Jersey requires that all Registered Occupational Therapists possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an ACOTE certified school. You may obtain such a degree at the following New Jersey schools:

  • Seton Hall University
  • Kean University
  • Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Step 2: Complete an Internship or Practicum

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Prior to licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must complete 12 weeks of clinical occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for licensure as an Occupational Therapist, you must complete at least 24 weeks of clinical occupational therapy work under the direct supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

If you are seeking state licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must first become nationally certified. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy will certify you if you take their Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam and score at least 450.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to become nationally certified as a Registered Occupational Therapist, you must take the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least 450.

Step 4: Apply for a New Jersey State License

The following steps must be performed to obtain a New Jersey state license for OTs and OTAs.

  • Submit a signed and completed application
  • Provide a check or money order made payable to State of New Jersey Occupational Therapy Advisory Council for the amount of $100
  • Forward transcripts from colleges or universities that you have attended
  • Request a Verification of Certification or score report from the NBCOT be sent to the licensing board
  • Forward a Verification of Licensure from any states in which you have previously practiced

Please allow several weeks or months for all of the required documentation to arrive and be reviewed before a license can be issued.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Credentials

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

The licensure period for an Occupational Therapy Assistant is two years, after which you must pay a $160 license renewal fee in order to renew your license.s

Registered Occupational Therapist:

Following the two year licensure period for Registered Occupational Therapists, you must pay a $160 license renewal fee to maintain your license.

If you have further questions about the OT profession in NJ, you should direct them to the following organizations: