Idaho Occupational Therapist School
By Joanna Pelletier, allied health world contributing writer
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Steps to Become an Occupational Therapist in Idaho
- Get a Bachelor of Science degree in the behavioral or biological sciences. Programs offered through Idaho occupational therapy schools will accept anyone from any major, but students are better off if they choose a psychology, sociology, biology, pre-occupational therapy, or anthropology. They must also fulfill the general education requirements set by the State of Idaho. Students who do not meet these standards will have to complete a set of prerequisite courses before they can gain entry into an occupational therapy program.
- Gain 40 hours of volunteer or paid experience in occupational therapy. Some programs require their potential Master's degree candidates to gain 40 hours of work experience before they are admitted into the MSOT program. They must work under the direct supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant, and they must complete the experience in two different occupational therapy settings.
- Acquire a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy. All practicing Occupational Therapists in Idaho must have a Master's degree and six months of fieldwork experience before they enter into the field. Idaho occupational therapy schools have designed MSOT programs to satisfy those exact requirements, but students can pursue education elsewhere if they do not feel that Idaho's programs are right for them. They should, however, be mindful of Idaho's licensing and practice regulations before they apply to an out-of-state program.
- Take the National Board on Certification for Occupational Therapy's certification exam. Students usually take the NBCOT certification exam after they complete their education and fieldwork experience. The exam is a comprehensive, national exam that tests students' knowledge on key concepts, practices, legal issues, and ethics in the field of occupational therapy. Applicants can take the exam more than once if they fail.
- Seek licensure through the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses. Newcomers to the field of occupational therapy can choose from a myriad of application routes:
Through campus based and online programs, aspiring Occupational Therapists in Boise, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Meridian, Idaho may be able to prepare themselves for the possibility of employment in some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state including Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, and St. Luke's Boise Medical Center.
a. Licensure by application. This form of licensure applies to anyone who wants to apply for a State license after they have taken the NBCOT exam. These individuals are required to submit an application fee, three passport-sized photos, an official transcript with the graduation date, and other materials.
b. Licensure by examination. Applicants who wish to forgo the application must submit a graduation certificate from an occupational therapy program, two certificates of recommendation, an application stating the exam date, and any documents that may disclose disciplinary action, criminal offense, or issuance or denial of licensure in any other State.
c. Licensure by endorsement. Occupational Therapists who wish to apply for a license by endorsement must hold a current and valid license or registration form in another State or jurisdiction and must meet all of Idaho's licensing requirements.