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Occupational Therapist Certification in North Dakota

North Dakota is one of the most central states in the country along the Canadian Border and home to some truly beautiful natural areas. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has found that according to the 2010 census North Dakota had 420 licensed Occupational Therapists operating in the state during 2010. The BLS is anticipates that demand for Occupational Therapists will expand during the 2010 to 2020 decade at a rate that is expected to be 33% faster than the average sector in the economy. The BLS has gleaned data from the 2010 census showing that an Occupational Therapist in North Dakota had a median salary of $56,620 per year.

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

North Dakota Physical Therapy Certificate and License Requirements

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

  • You must earn an Associate’s degree or higher in an Occupational Therapy Assistant program from an American
  • Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) certified school.
  • According to North Dakota law, any occupational therapy assistant who has practiced occupational therapy 1,650 hours or less, must receive on-site supervision from a licensed occupational therapist. The supervising occupational therapist must be on the premises during the occupational therapy assistant’s occupational therapy work hours.
  • The Occupational Therapy Assistant supervision form must be completed as part of the application process. You can find the form here.
  • 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 a license, you must complete 20 Continuing Competency hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

ND 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 a criminal background check.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To renew a license, you must complete 20 Continuing Competency hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form for the Occupational Therapist here.


For additional details about how to become an occupational therapy professional in North Dakota, please read the following.

Step 1: Obtain an Occupational Therapy Degree

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to qualify for an Occupational Therapy Assistant license in North Dakota, you must graduate from an ACOTE accredited college with at least an Associate’s degree in an occupational therapy related field. North Dakota has one school with this accreditation:

  • North Dakota State College of Science

Registered Occupational Therapist:

You must possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an ACOTE certified degree program in order to obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapist in North Dakota. North Dakota has two schools with the necessary accreditation:

  • University of Mary
  • University of North Dakota-Grand Forks

Step 2: Complete an Internship or Practicum

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Prior to licensing as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must complete two months of occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist. Your supervisor must document this work and submit it to the licensing board.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for licensing as an Occupational Therapist, you must complete at least six months of occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist. Your supervisor must document this work and submit it to the licensing board.

Step 3: Pass the National Certification Exam

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must take the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least 450 in order to become nationally certified as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

Prior to obtaining a state license, 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.

Step 4: Apply for a North Dakota State License

You must perform the following steps to obtain a license in North Dakota:

  • Submit a signed and completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for the licensing fee; this is $75 or $150 for OTs and $55 or $110 for OTAs
  • Provide a check or money order for the $50 application fee
  • Provide a Verification of Certification from the NBCOT
  • Provide a Verification of Licensure from all jurisdictions in which you have practiced
  • Provide official transcripts from all attended colleges

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

Step 5: Maintain Professional Credentials

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete at least 20 continuing competency hours during the two year licensure period in order to qualify for license renewal.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

To qualify for renewal of your Occupational Therapist license, you must complete at least 20 continuing education competency hours during your license cycle.

For more information or resources, you may visit the following websites: