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How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Oregon

Oregon is renowned for its independent culture as well as its incredible natural beauty. Oregon is also a great state to start your career as an Occupational Therapist in. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the 2010 census has dating showing that in 2010 the entire state of Oregon employed approximately 1,110 licensed Occupational Therapists. In addition to the current licensed population of Occupational Therapists, the BLS is projecting that the Occupational Therapy sector will grow at a rate 33% faster than the average for the economy. The BLS also states that the 2010 census had data showing that Occupational Therapists in Oregon during 2010 had a median salary of $75,610 per year.

The state of Oregon regulates and licensed occupational therapy professionals through the Occupational Therapy Licensing Board. There are two levels of licensure in Oregon the Occupational Therapy Assistant and the Occupational Therapist. If you have recently graduated and are waiting to sit for your examination you can apply for a Limited Permit to practice at either level. Limited Permits 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. There are no other forms of temporary licenses in Oregon.

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

Oregon Physical Therapy Certificate and License Requirements

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 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 30 Continuing Education hours during the licensure period.
  • You can apply to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

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 30 Continuing Education hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the form to become an Occupational Therapist here.


To learn more about the occupational therapy licensing process in Oregon, please continue reading.

Step 1: Graduate from an ACOTE Accredited College

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

To practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Oregon, you must first graduate from an ACOTE accredited school with at least an Associate’s degree in an occupational therapy related discipline. Oregon has one school with this accreditation:

  • Linn-Benton Community College

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to serve as a Licensed Occupational Therapist in Oregon, you must possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an ACOTE accredited school. There is one school in Oregon with the necessary accreditation:

  • Pacific University

Step 2: Complete an Internship or Practicum

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Prior to licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must complete at least two months of clinical occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Licensed Occupational Therapist.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to qualify for licensure as an Occupational Therapist, you must first have completed at least six months of clinical occupational therapy work under the tutelage of a Licensed Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Pass the National Certification Examination

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to practice as an OTA in the United States, you must obtain national certification by taking the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and score at least in the 70th percentile.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

To qualify for national certification as a 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 in the 70th percentile.

Step 4: Pass the Ethics/Law Exam and Apply for Oregon State License

Prior to licensure, you must take the newly instated Oregon Ethics and Law Exam.

Complete the following steps in order to obtain licensure as an OT or OTA in Oregon:

  • Submit a signed and completed application
  • Provide a check or money order payable to the OT Licensing Board; for OTs the fee is $100, while for OTAs, the fee is 70
  • Send official transcripts for schools where you obtained your OT education
  • Send a Verification of Certification from the NBCOT
  • Send Verifications of Licensure for prior states where you have practiced

It may take several weeks or months for all documentation to arrive and the board to issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Credentials

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to qualify for license renewal as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you must complete at least 30 continuing education hours during the two year licensure period.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

If you are seeking to renew your license as an Occupational Therapist, you must complete at least 30 continuing education hours prior to the expiration of your current license.

If you require additional information or assistance, you may wish to contact the following organizations: