Frequently Asked Questions about Occupational Therapists/Occupational Therapy Assistants

Learn what you need to know about Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants

Occupational therapists are health professionals who use occupational activities with specific goals in helping people of all ages to prevent, lessen or overcome physical, psychological or developmental disabilities.

How do I get a temporary occupational therapy/occupational therapy assistant license?

You may apply for a temporary license if you are eligible for, and have registered for the next available certification examination. Contact Professional Credential Services, Inc. (PCS) at (877) 887-9727 for an application packet. Your application for a temporary license requires official documentation of eligibility and registration from the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) or its agent. Visit the NBCOT web site at http://www.nbcot.org for additional information about registering for the exam and obtaining documentation of your registration for your temporary license application.

A temporary license is valid until you either pass the certification examination and are issued a permanent license, or until you fail to take, or fail to pass the certification examination on which the temporary license was granted. Upon failure to take within three months, or failure to pass the examination, the license is rescinded immediately and you must stop practicing immediately. There is a limit of three temporary licenses; each temporary license requires completion of an application, including documentation of eligibility, registration for the next available examination, and taking that exam within the next three months.

As a temporary license holder, do I need to practice under supervision?

Holders of a temporary license are required to be supervised by a supervisor in the same discipline. A fully licensed occupational therapist may supervise an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant with a temporary license. A fully licensed occupational therapy assistant may supervise an occupational therapy assistant with a temporary license.

Only those individuals working under a third temporary license must have DIRECT supervision (on the premises and available to provide aid, direction and instruction when procedures or activities are performed). However, a supervisor must co-sign ALL treatment documentation for any temporary license holder.

Do I need continuing education (CE) credits to renew my occupational therapist/occupational therapy assistant license?

No. MA does not currently have a requirement for CE as a condition of license renewal. It is recommended that all licensees engage in continuing competence.

I have an occupational therapy/occupational therapy assistant license in another state or country. What do I need for a license in MA?

Under MA law, only graduates of a board-approved, accredited occupational therapy assistant program are eligible for licensure as occupational therapy assistants. In order to receive a license, you must have:

  • a high school diploma or a passing score on a high school equivalency test;   
  • satisfactory proof of good moral character;
  • graduated from a Board-approved, accredited educational program leading to professional qualification (occupational therapy/occupational therapy assistant);
  • official documentation of a passing score on the licensure examination; and
  • verification of licensure status from every state in which you have ever been licensed.

 

If you practice in another country, the MA Board requires approval of educational credentials by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). If educated in a language other than English, you must also provide official documentation of a score of at least 560 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and 4.5 on the Test of Written English (TWE).

My license expired. Can I still practice in Massachusetts?

It is not legal for you to practice in MA after your license expires or lapses.

The requirements for renewal or reactivation of your MA license depend on how long ago the license was last active, and your professional practice since that time.

  • If lapsed for one renewal cycle or less, you must pay the past due license fee, a late fee, and the current license fee.
  • If lapsed for more than one renewal cycle, and still practicing in MA you must pay all past due license fees, a late fee, and the current license fee. You must sign a statement acknowledging that you have practiced without a valid license. You may be required to appear before the Board to explain your unlicensed practice; Board regulations stipulate that you may also be required to achieve a passing score on the licensing examination.
  • If lapsed for more than one renewal cycle AND if not practicing during the period the license was lapsed, you must pay an application fee, the late fee, and the current license fee. You must sign an affidavit, under the penalties of perjury, that you have not practiced while the license was lapsed. You may be required to appear before the Board to explain your unlicensed practice; Board regulations stipulate that you may also be required to achieve a passing score on the licensing examination.
  • If practicing in another state during the period the MA license was lapsed, you must pay an application fee, the late fee, and the current license fee. You must provide an official "record of standing" or "certified statement" [license verification] indicating the license is in good standing in the state of current licensure as well as a "record of standing" or "certified statement" indicating the status of the license in every state in which you have been licensed.

May occupational therapy assistants perform initial screens and do evaluations, including re-evaluations?

No. Performance of an initial screen or an evaluation is the role and responsibility of the occupational therapist. 

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