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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. 

Verifying Practice Excellence Through Certification

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT®) is a national not-for-profit organization that provides certification for occupational therapy professionals. NBCOT develops, administers, and continually reviews its certification process based on current and valid standards that provide reliable indicators of competence of occupational therapy practice. Above all else, our mission is to serve the public interest. 

Initial certification from NBCOT is a requirement for licensure in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. We also work with state regulators and employers to provide information on credentials, professional conduct, and regulatory issues. 

NBCOT's certification programs have received and maintained accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Summary of Certification Activities

OTR Certification Activities

Year Number of Exam Candidates* Pass Rate Total Certificant Population
2016 8,848 74% 115,481
2017 9,822 72% 123,592
2018 10,119 71% 132,968

COTA Certification Activities

Year Number of Exam Candidates* Pass Rate Total Certificant Population
2016 7,311 64% 49,566
2017 7,526 63% 51,467
2018 7,143 62% 56,858

*Includes all candidates who took the certification exam—first-time test-takers and retakes.

Board of Directors

NBCOT is governed by a board of directors composed of Occupational Therapists Registered (OTR®), Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA®), and public members. The board is responsible for establishing the strategic vision and providing management oversight for the organization.

Dee Berline


Dee Berline, MBA, C/NDT, OTR/L

Joanne Foss

Vice Chairperson

Joanne Foss, PhD, OTR/L

Ann Glore


Ann Glore, COTA/L, CLT

Sheila Baxter

Public Member

Sheila Baxter, BG (Retired)

Amy Blue

Public Member

Amy Blue, PhD

Cesar Cespedes

Board Member

Cesar Cespedes, OTR, MS

Brittany Curtis

Board Member

Brittany Curtis, OTD, OTR/L

Kate DeCleene Huber

Board Member

Kate DeCleene Huber, OTD, MS, OTR

Mack Hill

Public Member

Mack Hill, MA

Mashelle Painter

Board Member

Mashelle Painter, MEd, COTA/L

Kelly Richardson

Board Member

Kelly Richardson, COTA/L

Rafael Salazar II

Board Member

Rafael Salazar II, OTR/L

Mary Smith

Board Member

Mary Smith, Ed.D, OTR/L

Rae Ann Smith

Board Member

Rae Ann Smith, OTD, OTR/L

Dennis Tobin

Board Member

Dennis Tobin, MBA, MEd, OTR

George Tomlin

Board Member

George Tomlin, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Karl Yordy

Public Member

Karl Yordy, MPA


Call for Candidates: NBCOT Board of Directors

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT®) is seeking candidates for two positions on the board of directors: one Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR®) and one Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA®). The term appointment for both positions is for three years, with the possibility of reappointment to a second term. The initial term will run from January 2021 to December 2023.

Interested in applying? You will need to complete the online application and submit a current résumé.

Things to Remember

  • Be sure to review the NBCOT Candidate Guidelines and Board Member Responsibilities.
  • Please complete the entire application, which includes several open-ended questions, before submitting. Only completed applications will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee.
  • The application must be completed in one sitting. You will not be able to save your application and return later.

Access online application

NBCOT must receive your completed application and résumé by Friday, March 6, 2020.

Important Dates

  • Call for Candidates opens: February 3, 2020
  • Call for Candidates closes: March 6, 2020
  • Interviews by Nominating Committee (selected candidates only): May 2, 2020
  • Voting by OTR and COTA certificants: July 6 – August 10, 2020
  • Announcement of newly elected board members: August 11, 2020

Please direct any questions to Angela Macauley, vice president of marketing & governance, at

Statement of Impartiality

NBCOT understands and is fully aware of the importance of impartiality in carrying out its certification activities. Our structure, policies, and procedures are designed to manage any conflicts of interest and to ensure the objectivity of our management system and certification activities.

NBCOT aims to inspire confidence in its certification activities by:

  • Being impartial,
  • Employing competent personnel,
  • Being responsive to complaints,
  • Being open,
  • Providing access to relevant information gathered,
  • Ensuring fairness,
  • Maintaining transparency of processes, and
  • Maintaining confidentiality.

Our certification processes are subject to continual review and improvements to increase the effectiveness of the management system.

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