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Serving the public interest by advancing client care and professional practice through evidence-based certification standards and the validation of knowledge essential for effective practice in occupational therapy.


Certified occupational therapy professionals providing effective evidence-based services across all areas of practice worldwide.

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The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT®)

12 South Summit Avenue
Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
(301) 990-7979

Email NBCOT at

Business Hours
Monday-Thursday: 9 am – 5 pm, Lunch: 12 pm – 12:45 pm

Friday: 9 am – 4 pm, Lunch: 12 pm – 1 pm


OTR® & COTA® Credential Verification

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Early Determination & Character Review

For OT educators seeking information on the Early Determination and Character Review process, please refer to the overview tabs below.

An individual who is considering entering, or who has already entered, an occupational therapy educational program can have his/her background reviewed prior to actually applying for the exam by requesting an Early Determination Review. NBCOT uses a third party vendor to provide background checks on current and prospective occupational therapy students who are concerned that an issue in their background may prevent them from being eligible to sit for the certification exam. A written explanation of any incidents in question is also required. If an individual has been on parole or probation at any point within the last seven (7) years, he/she must also include official documentation confirming his/her compliance with or completion of all terms and conditions imposed by the court. NBCOT may request additional information as needed on a case by case basis.

In this Early Determination Review process, NBCOT may give early or prior approval to take the certification exam, as it pertains to good moral character, provided that the information reviewed is not found to be a violation of any of the principles of the Practice Standards/Code of Conduct.

Each early review case is reviewed on an individual basis. After NBCOT has completed its review, the individual is notified in writing regarding whether he/she will be eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam, provided all eligibility requirements are met.

Early Determination Review Payment Form (PDF)

NBCOT's Character Review program enables the organization to protect the public from those certificants whose behavior falls short of standards for personal and professional conduct as outlined in the Practice Standards/Code of Conduct.

To ensure that occupational therapy practitioners meet standards of professional conduct prior to entering the profession, all applicants for certification are required to provide information and documentation related to affirmative responses to character questions on the examination application.

For more information, please refer to our Character Review homepage.

For details on NBCOT’s disciplinary action process, visit the Professional Conduct page.