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How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Ohio

Ohio is often called the gateway to the West. Ohio is also amongst the best places in the country to be a licensed Occupational Therapist. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has data showing that according to the 2010 census, Ohio had 4,770 licensed Occupational Therapists working in the state. This is among the highest employment levels in the country. 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 Ohio had a median yearly salary of $78,690.

The Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers (OTPTAT) Board is responsible for regulating and licensing the occupational therapy professions in the state. There are two levels of licensure in Ohio 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 Ohio, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to follow these steps:

OH 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 Ohio 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 20 Continuing Education hours during the licensure period.
  • You can request the application form for the Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

OH Occupational Therapist:

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

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

Step 1: Graduate with an Occupational Therapy Degree

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

Ohio law requires that all Occupational Therapy Assistants must possess at least an Associate’s degree from an ACOTE certified college. You may obtain such a degree from the following schools:

  • Brown Mackie College-Akron
  • Brown Mackie College-Findlay
  • Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • EHOVE Adult Career Center-Lorain County Community College
  • Kent State University-Ashtabula
  • Kent State University-East Liverpool
  • Marion Technical College
  • North Central State College
  • Owens Community College
  • Rhodes State College
  • Shawnee State University
  • Sinclair Community College
  • Stark State College of Technology
  • Zane State College

Registered Occupational Therapist:

If you wish to obtain a license as an Occupational Therapist, you must graduate from an ACOTE certified degree program with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. There are six schools in Ohio with this certification:

  • Cleveland State University
  • Ohio State University
  • Shawnee State University
  • University of Findlay
  • University of Toledo (entry-level doctoral)
  • Xavier University

Step 2: Fulfill the Clinical Work Requirements

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 Registered Occupational Therapist.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

If you are seeking licensure as an Occupational Therapist, you must first perform six months of occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Registered Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must obtain national certification prior to state licensure. In order to become nationally certified as an 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.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

If you wish to practice as a Registered Occupational Therapist in the United States, 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: Pass the Jurisprudence Exam and Apply for an Ohio State License

Prior to licensure, you must take the Jurisprudence Exam and score at least a 90 percent.

You must complete the following steps in order to become licensed as an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant.

  • Submit a signed and completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for $100 payable to the Treasurer State of Ohio for the application fee
  • Submit fingerprints for a FBI criminal records check
  • Provide official transcripts from all attended schools
  • Provide a Verification of Certification from NBCOT
  • Provide Verifications of Licensure from all states in which you have practiced

Allow several weeks for the licensing board to review your qualifications and issue you a license.

Step 5: Maintain Licensure

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete at least 20 continuing education contact hours during the two year licensure period to qualify for license renewal as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Registered Occupational Therapist:

To qualify for Occupational Therapist license renewal, you must complete at least 20 continuing education contact hours during the licensure period.

If you need additional information or resources, you may find it at the following organizations: