Exams for Occupational Therapy Assistants

As one of the most trusted professionals on many medical teams, Occupational Therapy Assistants fulfill a vital role in the recovery of ill, injured and disabled persons. In order to adequately shoulder the responsibility of caring for these needy patients and restoring function and independence to their lives, a variety of standards have been implemented by occupational therapy governing bodies. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy has formulated a set of knowledge requirements that all Occupational Therapy Assistants must demonstrate they possess. The assessment tool for these competencies is the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam. Passing the COTA is the only requirement for national certification as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

The COTA exam is available only to those Occupational Therapy Assistants who have graduated from an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) certified OT degree program. This 200 multiple choice exam is available in a paper format or an online version. The online version requires a payment of $500, while the hard copy version is $540. Test takers have four hours to complete the exam which covers the following areas:

  • Patient information collection and development of an intervention plan
  • Choosing evidence-based interventions to provide a continuum of care
  • Professional standards and responsibilities

Applicants may download an application to take the COTA exam here. You must then submit the application and test fees along with an official transcript and verification of fieldwork.

This exam is scored up to 500, with the passing score depending upon the difficulty of a particular exam. Scores typically are available four to six weeks following the exam. If an applicant fails the COTA, they may retake the exam after 45 days. Most states allow applicants to retake the exam as many times as necessary to pass, but they may request that all past scores be submitted.