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How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Texas

With some of the highest employment numbers in the nation, and salaries to match, the Lone Star State is one of the best places in the union to become a licensed occupational therapist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that as of 2019, roughly 9,180 OTs were licensed to practice in the state, earning a median salary of $85,090 that year.

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Job growth projections reported by the Texas Workforce Commission and published by the U.S. Department of Labor show that some 500 new positions will open up in the two-year period from 2019 to 2021. You won’t find demand like this for such a high-paying healthcare specialty in many other parts of the country. This makes earning your MOT here a sound investment.

*Salary and employment data mpiled by the United States Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which occupational therapists work. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (metropolitan statistical area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.

2019 job growth projections from the Texas Workforce Commission are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central

The Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners is the licensing body for occupational therapy professionals in this state. There are two levels of licensure in Texas 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 Texas, or an Occupational Therapy Assistant you will need to follow these steps:

Texas Physical Therapy Certification

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 a criminal background check.
  • You must pass the Texas Jurisprudence Examination which you can find here.
  • 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 find the application form to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant here.

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 a criminal background check.
  • You must pass the Texas Jurisprudence Examination which you can find here.
  • Pass the NBCOT OTR examination.
  • To renew a license, you must complete 30 Continuing Education 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 Texas, please follow these steps.

Step 1: Graduate from an ACOTE Accredited School

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

In order to obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Texas, you must have graduated from an ACOTE certified degree program. Texas has 13 schools with the requisite accreditation:

  • Amarillo College
  • Anamarc College
  • Army Medical Department Center and School-Ft. Sam Houston
  • Austin Community College
  • Del Mar College
  • Houston Community College
  • Laredo Community College
  • Lone Star College-Kingwood
  • Lone Star College-Tomball (formerly Tomball College-North Harris Montgomery Community College District)
  • Navarro College
  • Panola College
  • South Texas College
  • St. Philip’s College

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

To practice as an Occupational Therapist in Texas, you must possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an ACOTE accredited school. There are nine schools in Texas with such certification:

  • Texas Technical University-Health Science Center
  • Texas Woman’s University-Dallas
  • Texas Woman’s University-Denton
  • Texas Woman’s University-Houston
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • University of Texas Health Science Center-Laredo
  • University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio
  • University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston
  • University of Texas Pan-American

Step 2: Complete Clinical Work Requirement

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:

To obtain licensure as an Occupational Therapist, you must first complete at least six months of clinical occupational therapy work under the supervision of a Licensed Occupational Therapist.

Step 3: Pass the National Certification Exam

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

National certification is a prerequisite for state licensing of Occupational Therapy Assistants. 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:

Before obtaining state licensure as an Occupational Therapist, 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: Pass the Jurisprudence Exam and Apply for a Texas State License

Prior to licensure, you must pass the 20 question Jurisprudence Exam which is open book.

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

  • Submit a signed, completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for $100
  • Provide a Verification of Licensure from past jurisdictions you have practiced
  • Provide a Verification of Certification from the NBCOT
  • Provide transcripts from all attended schools

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

  • Submit a signed, completed application
  • Provide a check or money order for $140
  • Provide a Verification of Licensure from past jurisdictions you have practiced
  • Provide a Verification of Certification from the NBCOT
  • Provide transcripts from all attended schools

The board typically issues a license within one to four days following receipt of all materials.

Step 5: Maintain Professional Licensure

Occupational Therapy Assistant:

You must complete 30 continuing education hours prior to the expiration of your OTA license to qualify for license renewal.

Licensed Occupational Therapist:

You must complete at least 30 continuing education hours during your current licensure period to qualify for license renewal.

If you would like additional information, you may wish to visit the following websites:

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