NBCOT Exam Information

In order to be certified as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, one must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy examination for either Occupational Therapists Registered (NBCOT-OTR) or for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (NBCOT-COTA). These exams are developed by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy to ensure high standards for professional practice.

Since occupational therapists address the health needs of a large consumer population, it is important to accurately assess the qualifications of practitioners of occupational therapy. The OTR and COTA examinations focus on the candidate’s ability to perform five general duties: evaluate an individual or group to identify needs and priorities (25% of the OTR exam; 12% of the COTA exam); develop an intervention plan addressing occupational needs (21%; 22%); implement occupationally meaningful interventions (41%; 50%); provide occupational therapy services addressing the needs of populations (6%; 9%); and manage, organize, and promote occupational therapy services (7%; 7%). Both exams consist of 200 four-option multiple-choice questions; 30 of these questions are pretest items which are used to develop future versions of the exam and are not graded. There is only one correct answer for each question. The candidate will receive both raw and scaled scores. The raw score is simply the number of questions answered correctly, while the scaled score takes into account the relative difficulty of the exam and places the score on a scale of 300 to 600. The minimum passing scaled score is a 450.

The score report will be mailed to the candidate approximately four weeks after the examination. The NBCOT-OTR and NBCOT-COTA exams are administered by Thomson Prometric at locations around the country; prospective test-takers should visit the Prometric website to register. In order to sit for the examination, candidates must have successfully completed the appropriate assistant- or therapist-level fieldwork, and must have either earned the appropriate degree or certificate or be cleared for graduation from an education program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

Last Updated: 04/28/2014

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