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Pennsylvania Occupational Therapist School
By Joanna Pelletier, allied health world contributing writer
Published: March, 15 2010
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Steps to Become an Occupational Therapist in Pennsylvania
- Accumulate supervised clinical experience through a credible program. All Pennsylvania occupational therapy schools require students to complete at least six months of supervised fieldwork through a recognized training institute or educational program. Students can choose from a variety of fields, including Pediatrics, Gerontology, Counseling, and Physical Rehabilitation. Once students find a program they are interested in, they must seek approval from the university they are attending, which will have the final say in whether they can gain experience through their institution of choice. If the university does not approve of a student's desired institution, they may be able to furnish him or her with a list of approved training facilities.
- Acquire a state license.
a. Permanent license. All occupational therapy applicants in Pennsylvania must have obtained a Master's degree, practiced for at least six months in a supervised setting, be of good character, and must apply for their licenses through the National Board Certification of Occupational Therapy. NBCOT administers all the examinations for occupational therapy licensure, determines the passing score for the NBCOT exam, and gives credentials to occupational therapy practitioners. When students apply for the exam, they must pay $55 for the initial license, which expires every two years. Students who pass the exam receive their total score, an official NBCOT certificate, and wallet card four to six weeks later.
b. Temporary license. The State of Pennsylvania will grant a temporary license to applicants in the following cases:
- If an applicant fails the NBCOT exam, he or she can apply for a temporary license, which will allow him or her to assist an Occupational Therapist for six months. When the license expires, the State and NBCOT will not issue him or her a new license, regardless of whether he or she got a low score on the licensure exam.
- If an applicant can provide sufficient proof that he or she is licensed in another state or the District of Columbia and pays the $ 55 application fee.
- Complete continuing education requirements. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, Occupational Therapists in Pennsylvania do not have to complete any continuing education requirements in order to be relicensed. Since State requirements are subject to change, it is wise to stay as up-to-date as possible by participating in a program approved or sponsored by NBCOT.