California Occupational Therapist School

How to Become an Occupational Therapist in California

Before becoming an Occupational Therapist, it's a good idea to watch one in action and see what exactly they do. Those who are OTs or OTAs must have the physical strength and stamina to lift clients using approved methods, help transfer them, and lift equipment (usually with a maximum weight of 60 lbs). The minimum requirement to become an Occupational Therapist is a Master's degree. To become an Occupational Therapist in California, one must also pass a test administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Then the candidate must apply to the California Board of Occupational Therapy in order to become licensed to practice in that state.

  1. Earn a Bachelor's degree, preferably in Biology, Psychology, or a health care related field.
  2. Attend and graduate from one of the accredited online or campus based California Occupational Therapy schools. Coursework must include classes in the physical, biological, and behavioral sciences, plus six months of a supervised clinical internship with a licensed Occupational Therapist.
  3. Take and pass the National Certification Exam given by the NBCOT to become an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR).
  4. Apply for a California license to practice Occupational Therapy. A transcript from your occupational therapy degree program will be required, as will verification that you passed the national exam. Fingerprints and a criminal background check will be performed (with fees for these services payable at your local or state police department office). If you have not worked as an Occupational Therapist or as an Occupational Therapist Assistant within five years of the time you apply for your license, you must have either completed 40 hours or Professional Development Units of continuing education within the past two years, or passed the NBCOT examination. The initial license fee is $150, while the fee for a limited permit is $75. Licenses renew every two years for a fee of $150.
Through campus based and online programs, aspiring Occupational Therapists in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco, California may be able to prepare themselves for the possibility of employment in some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state including Laguna Honda Hospital, Community Regional Medical Center, L.A. County & USC Medical Center, and Huntington Hospital.

California Board of Occupational Therapy
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2050
Sacramento, CA 95815

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