Vermont Occupational Therapist School

How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Vermont

The state of Vermont uses the “Advisor” regulation system for Occupational Therapists.  Under this system, the Director of Occupational Therapy, along with two advisors regulate the profession.  The two advisors are licensed Occupational Therapists who are appointed by Vermont’s Secretary of State to advise the Director of Occupational Therapy on topics pertaining to the field.
To ensure public safety, the director and the two advisors are responsible for establishing rules and setting standards for Occupational Therapists practicing in the state.  They are charged with investigating complaints of unprofessional conduct, approving applicants for licensing and disciplining license holders when necessary.

The first step in becoming an Occupational Therapist in Vermont is to have the required education.  A Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy is the minimum level of education required by the state. Vermont students have the option to attend an out-of-state university or an online program for a five-year BS-to-MS degree or earn a bachelor degree in Vermont, then transfer into a masters program at another school.

In addition to coursework, students of Vermont occupational therapy schools must complete a regiment of fieldwork designed to prepare them for the rigors and professionalism that will be expected of them as a licensed Occupational Therapist. After graduation, anyone planning to practice OT in Vermont must apply to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) national exam.  This exam is offered twice a year, unless there are no applicants for the exam. NBCOT will conduct a criminal background check and all expenses for this are borne by the applicant.

Note: The Vermont OT Advisory Board can determine the NBCOT examination is not necessary if the applicant is a qualified OTR or COTA who has been practicing in another state or the District of Columbia.  

Once all of these steps have been completed, an Occupational Therapist must apply for a state license. To apply for an OTR or COTA license, an applicant must complete the licensing application form and pay the required fee.

Licenses are renewed every two years and must include documentation of at least 20 hours of continuing competence requirements.  License renewal forms will be mailed to all license holders.  After the completed renewal forms and fees are sent in to the director, new licenses will be issued. 

The Vermont Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulations requires strict adherence to its standards of Professional Conduct and violators are subject to censure, which can result in fines and/or denial of a license. Unprofessional conduct charges can result from actions that take place outside of the state of Vermont.

Unprofessional conduct includes using fraud or deception to obtain a license, deceptive advertising, violating any Federal or state rules for Occupational Therapists, falsifying reports or records, permitting an unqualified person to conduct OT duties, failure to maintain client records for the required seven years, conviction of a felony, failure to report a name or address change within 30 days, unsafe or unacceptable patient care, and exploiting someone via professional services. 

Occupational Therapy Assistant applicants must have graduated from an ACOTE approved educational program and completed the required supervised fieldwork, and passed the NBCOT exam to apply for licensing from the state of Vermont.  Like the OTR licenses, the COTA licenses must be renewed every two years.

Through campus based and online programs, aspiring Occupational Therapists in Burlington, Essex, Rutland and Colchester, Vermont may be able to prepare themselves for the possibility of employment in some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state including the Fletcher Allen Health Care - Medical Center Campus, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Central Vermont Medical Center and Southwestern Vermont Health Care.

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