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Requirements to Become an Occupational Therapist in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a state that is surrounded by the beautiful Great Lakes. Wisconsin is also of the best states in the union to become a licensed Occupational Therapist in. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has compiled information showing that Wisconsin had approximately 2,730 licensed Occupational Therapists employed within the state in the year 2010. It is also important to keep in mind that the BLS is currently forecasting that the Occupational Therapy sector will grow at a rate 33% faster than the average economic sector during the years 2010 to 2020. The BLS has also pulled data from the 2010 census that demonstrates that an Occupational Therapist in Wisconsin that year had a mean yearly salary of $66,450.

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

Wisconsin Physical Therapy License Requirements

WI, 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 24 Continuing Competency hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the application form to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

WI, 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 24 Continuing Competency hours during the licensure period.
  • You can find the online application form to become an Occupational Therapist here.


To learn more about how to become an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant in Wisconsin, please read the following steps.

Step 1: Graduate from an ACOTE Certified School

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must have graduated from an ACOTE certified degree program with at least an Associate’s degree to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Wisconsin. There are five schools in Wisconsin with the necessary accreditation:

  • Fox Valley Technical College
  • Madison Area Technical College
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College
  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College-Ashland
  • Western Technical College

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

In order to obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapist in Wisconsin, you must possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an ACOTE certified school. Wisconsin is the home of five accredited schools:

  • Concordia University Wisconsin
  • Mount Mary University
  • University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Step 2: Fulfill the Clinical Work Requirement

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

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

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

If you wish to practice as a Licensed Occupational Therapist in Wisconsin, you must first serve for at least six months in an internship under the tutelage of a Licensed Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Pass the National Certification Exam

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must obtain national certification prior to state licensure. To become nationally certified, you must take 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:

If you wish to practice as a Licensed Occupational Therapist in the United States, you must become nationally certified by taking the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and scoring at least in the 70th percentile.

Step 4: Apply for a Wisconsin State License

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

  • Pass the open book exam about Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Code with at least 88 percent score
  • Submit a signed, completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for the $150 licensing fee
  • Submit official transcripts
  • Provide score reports or Verifications of Certification from the NBCOT
  • Provide Verifications of Licensure from other states where you have practiced

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

  • Pass the open book exam about Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Code with at least 88 percent score
  • Submit a signed, completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for the $150 licensing fee
  • Submit official transcripts
  • Provide score reports or Verifications of Certification from the NBCOT
  • Provide Verifications of Licensure from other states where you have practiced

Allow up to two months for the board to issue a license.

Step 5: Maintain Licensure

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must perform at least 24 continuing competency hours during the license cycle to qualify for OTA license renewal.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

You must complete at least 24 continuing competency hours during the licensure period to qualify for an Occupational Therapy license renewal.

To learn more about the occupational therapy profession in Wisconsin, please contact the following organizations:

Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association