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How to Become an Occupational Therapist North Carolina

North Carolina is part of American South and has a unique history and culture that makes it very special. North Carolina is amongst the best places in the country to be a licensed Occupational Therapist with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics showing that per the 2010 census North Carolina had 2,520 licensed Occupational Therapists in 2010. The BLS is also expecting a significant increase in demand for the Occupational Therapy sector from 2010 to 2020, expecting it to expand at a rate 33% faster than the average occupation. The BLS also shows that according to the 2010 census, an Occupational Therapist in North Carolina had a median yearly salary of $71,790.

The North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy is responsible for licensing and regulating occupational therapy professionals in the state. There are two levels of licensure in North Carolina 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 North Carolina, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to follow these steps:

North Carolina Physical Therapy License and Certificate Requirements

NC Occupational Therapy Assistant:

  • 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 2 months of occupational therapy work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational therapist.
  • Pass the North Carolina Jurisprudence examination which you can find here.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the National Board of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) COTA examination.
  • To renew a license, you must complete 15 Continuing Competency Activities hours during the licensure period.
  • You can request the application form for the Occupational Therapy Assistant .

NC 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 6 months of occupational therapy work experience as part of an internship under a licensed Occupational Therapist.
  • Pass the North Carolina Jurisprudence examination which you can find here.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To renew a license, you must complete 15 Continuing Competency Activities hours during the licensure period.
  • You can request the application form for the Occupational Therapist.

For additional details on how to become an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant in North Carolina, please peruse the following.

Step 1: Graduate from an Accredited College

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must possess an Associate’s degree in an occupational therapy related field from an ACOTE accredited school to qualify for an OTA license in North Carolina. North Carolina has four schools with the necessary accreditation:

  • Pitt Community College
  • Durham Technical Community College
  • Cape Fear Community College
  • Cabamus College of Health Sciences

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for an Occupational Therapist license in North Carolina, you must have graduated from an ACOTE approved degree program with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. There are four schools in North Carolina with such accreditation:

  • Winston-Salem State University
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • East Carolina University

Step 2: Complete an Internship or Practicum

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

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

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapist, you must complete at least six months of occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Licensed Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Prior to obtaining state licensure, you must pass the national certification exam. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) offers the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam upon which you must score at least 450 to pass.

Licensed 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 to become nationally certified, a pre-requisite for state licensure.

Step 4: Pass the Jurisprudence Exam and Apply for a North Carolina State License

You must pass 30 question Jurisprudence Exam prior to licensure. You must score 100 percent, but you may modify the answers to missed questions as many times as necessary.

You must complete the following steps to obtain state licensure:

  • Request an application from the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy
  • Submit a signed and completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for $100 made payable to the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy
  • Provide a Verification of Certification from the NBCOT
  • Provide Verification of Licensure from past states in which you have practiced
  • Provide transcripts from all attended schools

Please allow several weeks for the board to review your qualifications and issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain License

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete 15 continuing competency activities hours during the licensure period to qualify for OTA license renewal.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for Occupational Therapy license renewal, you must complete at least 15 continuing competency activities hours during the licensure period.

If you would like additional information, you may wish to contact the following organizations: