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Illinois Occupational Therapist School
By Joanna Pelletier, allied health world contributing writer
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Illinois is loaded with unique places to eat and shop; sand dunes, cities, hallows, hills, prairie, plains, forests, palisades, canyons, gorges, river systems, and inland seas to explore; and historical sites to ponder. Illinois is also packed with opportunities for future Occupational Therapists. With an average total earnings of $ 89,000, an expected job growth rate of 34 percent, and opportunities to grow in some of the the finest medical institutions in the country, Illinois is an ideal place for Occupational Therapists to work, play, live, and learn.
How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Illinois
- Gain supervised experience. The National Board on Certification for Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) requires all their applicants to gain at least two years of supervised fieldwork experience. The institution providing the experience has to be an accredited and recognized center that provides students with a wide variety of cases to work from (www.ilga.gov). Illinois occupational therapy schools provide field training as a matter of practice to ensure students gain the training necessary to successfully perform the job.
- Take the Certification Examination for Occupational Therapy Assistants (CEOTA) exam. Occupational Therapists in Illinois obtain certification after they finish a Master's degree program, gain supervised experience, and pass the CEOTA exam, which is offered through NBCOT. NBCOT sends candidates a letter after they receive notification of program completion; applicants must then show this letter to the prometric testing center and schedule an appointment. Applicants can take the exam as many times as they want, so if they fail, neither NBCOT nor the State will stop them from attempting to retest.
- File a licensing application with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Once students have passed the CEOTA exam, they must apply for State licensure through IFDR. There are three ways to apply for licensure:
Through campus based and online programs, aspiring Occupational Therapists in Chicago, Aurora, Rockford and Joliet, Illinois may be able to prepare themselves for the possibility of employment in some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state including John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Evanston Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
a) Pass the CEOTA exam. People who are applying for the first time must submit a completion letter sent directly from Prometric Testing Services, a complete work history since the completion of their education, and an application fee.
b) Application before certification. Applicants who have not taken the certification exam must submit a verification of employment and an approval letter from IDFPR along with the prescribed fee and work history.
c) Transfer from another jurisdiction. Candidates who are licensed in another jurisdiction but seeking licensure in Illinois must show proof of certification in their previous jurisdiction, paperwork stating how long that person was licensed in that jurisdiction, a description of the licensing exam in that jurisdiction, and whether that applicant's file shows any record of disciplinary action.