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Mission

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. 

A female occupational therapist working with a female child patient on a therapy activity involving the hands

Vision

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: New Graduate Testing

The table below shows information about the pass rates for new graduates, defined as candidates who test within one year of their graduation date.

2020 2019 2018
All New Graduates1
Total candidates 7,654 7,927 7,556
Pass rate 97% 98% 98%
First-Time New Graduates2
Total candidates 7,574 7,878 7,140
Pass rate 84% 82% 81%

1The total number of candidates who tested within one year of their graduation date and the percentage who passed the exam, regardless of the number of attempts.

2The total number of candidates who tested within one year of their graduation date and the percentage who passed the exam on their first attempt.

OTR Certification Activities: Total Number of Exams Administered

The table below shows the total number of exams administered in each year. These numbers represent the number of exam administrations, not the number of people tested (i.e., the numbers below include multiple testing attempts by a single individual).

2020 2019 2018
9,726 10,697 10,119

COTA Certification Activities: New Graduate Testing

The table below shows information about the pass rates for new graduates, defined as candidates who test within one year of their graduation date.

2020 2019 2018
All New Graduates1
Total candidates 3,524 4,665 4,650
Pass rate 84% 89% 91%
First-Time New Graduates2
Total candidates 3,292 4,667 4,771
Pass rate 79% 75% 76%

1The total number of candidates who tested within one year of their graduation date and the percentage who passed the exam, regardless of the number of attempts.

2The total number of candidates who tested within one year of their graduation date and the percentage who passed the exam on their first attempt.

COTA Certification Activities: Total Number of Exams Administered

The table below shows the total number of exams administered in each year. These numbers represent the number of exam administrations, not the number of people tested (i.e., the numbers below include multiple testing attempts by a single individual).

2020 2019 2018
4,798 7,177 7,143

OTR Certification Activities: Total Certificant Population

The total number of individuals holding the OTR certification in 2020 was 144,745.

COTA Certification Activities: Total Certificant Population

The total number of individuals holding the COTA certification in 2020 was 59,721.


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

Chairperson

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

Brittany Curtis

Vice Chairperson

Brittany Curtis, OTD, OTR/L

Ann Glore

Secretary/Treasurer

Ann Glore, COTA/L, CLT

Sheila Baxter

Public Member

Sheila Baxter, BG (Retired)

Amy Blue

Public Member

Amy Blue, PhD

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Public Member

Jillian Boerstler, MPA, MA, DBioethics, HEC-C

Cesar Cespedes

Board Member

Cesar Cespedes, OTR, MS

Kate DeCleene Huber

Board Member

Kate DeCleene Huber, OTD, MS, OTR

Rachel Galant

Board Member

Rachel Galant, MSNM, OTR/L

Lauren Gray

Board Member

Lauren Gray, COTA/L

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

George Tomlin

Board Member

George Tomlin, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Elections

The results of the 2020 NBCOT Board of Directors election are in! The new OTR® member is Rachel Galant, MSNM, OTR/L, and the new COTA® board member is Lauren Gray, COTA/L.

We would like to thank all of the OTRs and COTAs who took the time to vote in the election. Thank you for helping shape the future of NBCOT!


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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