Do I Need to Pass the NBCOT Board Exam to Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Published - July 3, 2024

Are you interested in becoming an occupational therapy assistant? If so, you have come to the right place. Did you know there is a process to becoming an occupational therapy assistant? This article will review the steps you need to take to become a certified and licensed occupational therapy assistant.

Do I Need to Pass the NBCOT Board Exam to Become an Occupational Therapist Assistant?

To become a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) and be approved to work in California, you must pass the NBCOT Board exam. You must also apply for state licensure. It is against the law to practice without a license or permit.

Who is NBCOT?

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) is a national certification association for occupational therapy professionals. It strives to serve the public interest in a just, equitable, and inclusive way. The NBCOT certification is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) under its Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. Person Vue administers the exam on behalf of the NBCOT.

What is the NBCOT Board Exam?

The NBCOT board exam measures entry-level competence for those who meet eligibility requirements for certification. The NBCOT exam is based on the tasks and knowledge required for occupational therapy practice. The duration of the exam is four hours and is administered in a computer-based environment. The exam comprises 180 questions with a mix of option response, multiple-choice, and multi-select sets. The exam content focuses on:

Collaborate and Gather Information – a review of the factors influencing occupational performance.

Select and Implement Interventions – a review of your understanding of the intervention plan and level of service competence throughout the occupational process.

Uphold Professional Standards and Responsibilities – a review of your knowledge of service competence and the application of evidence-based interventions for quality in practice.

What is the Purpose of the NBCOT exam?

The primary purpose of the exam is to protect the public interest by certifying those who have proven the necessary knowledge of occupational therapy.

What are the Eligibility Requirements to Apply for Certification?

Occupational therapy assistant candidates must graduate with an entry-level occupational therapy degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program. The Occupational Therapy Assistant program at CBD College is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

You must agree to abide by the NBCOT practice standards and code of conduct. You will also receive character review approval.

What is the NBCOT Code of Conduct?

Certified professionals must act with integrity, adhere to high standards for personal and professional conduct, accept responsibility for their actions, continue to improve their professional capabilities, practice in a competent, fair, honest, equitable, and just manner, abide by all federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and encourage others to act professionally.

What Happens After the NBCOT Exam?

If you pass the exam, you will be notified by email. Your congratulatory letter will include your overall score, certification benefits, and access to download your official NBCOT digital certificate and digital badge that verifies your Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant certification.

If you are unsuccessful, you can retake the exam after the waiting period has ended. You will reapply through your MyNBCOT account and receive a new ATT letter. You may challenge your exam results, but failing is not sufficient grounds to do so.

How Do I Get an Occupational Therapy Assistant License?

Becoming licensed is the final step in practicing as an occupational therapy assistant. The California Board of Occupational Therapy processes license applications and requires a fingerprint card to be submitted. By law, the board has 30 days to review your application and request additional documentation.

Final Thoughts

If you are ready to take the first step toward becoming an occupational therapy assistant, CBD College is here to help. The curriculum of our OTA program will prepare you for the NBCOT exam and to start working as an occupational therapy assistant.

Occupational Therapist Assistant

Let CBD College prepare you for an entry-level allied health role. As an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you can expect to work with patients by providing therapy in exciting environments such as hospitals, nursing facilities, occupational therapists’ offices, and home health services.

Contact us now to learn more.

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