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Verify an OTR® or COTA®
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Exam Outline

For an overview of the content on the certification exams, take a look at the OTR or COTA Exam Outline. Each outline defines the domain areas the exam covers and the percentage of items devoted to each area.

OTR Exam Outline

COTA Exam Outline


Practice Analysis Studies - Executive Summaries

Consistent with certification industry standards, NBCOT periodically conducts OTR and COTA practice analysis studies to determine the domains, tasks, and knowledge needed to effectively practice occupational therapy. The goal is to ensure that the certification exam content reflects current practice. The results of the studies are used to create the exam outlines and to guide construction of the exams.

2012 OTR Practice Analysis Study

2012 COTA Practice Analysis Study

Validated Domain, Task, Knowledge Statements

Each domain area of the exam includes a set of associated task and knowledge statements, which are the result of the practice analysis studies. All exam items are classified according to these statements.

2012 OTR Validated Domain, Task, and Knowledge Statements 

2012 COTA Validated Domain, Task, and Knowledge Statements 

Note: Although exam items do not test specific content from the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (3rd edition), they may reflect the language of this document.


Foundations of the NBCOT Examination

Information on test development and construction, the exam format, exam scoring and test metrics. 

Foundations of the NBCOT Examination


Matrix Studies - OTR & COTA

NBCOT conducted matrix studies comparing its Validated Domain, Task, and Knowledge Statements to the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) Standards (effective July 31, 2013). The studies show that the NBCOT statements and ACOTE Standards are closely aligned. These results suggest that if an OT or OTA program has met the Standards, it has also provided adequate education to generally cover the areas in the OTR or COTA Validated Domain, Task, and Knowledge Statements.

2013 OTR Matrix Study

2013 COTA Matrix Study


Curriculum Textbook and Peer-Reviewed Journal Reports: OTR & COTA

NBCOT recently completed surveys to identify the textbooks and peer-reviewed journals that are most commonly used in occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs. The results help NBCOT update a reference list of publications that item writers and the Occupational Therapy Certification Examination Committees (OTCE) will use to reference, verify, and validate certification exam items.

2016 OTR Curriculum Textbook and Peer-Reviewed Journal Report: Entry-Level Post-Baccalaureate Occupational Therapy Programs

2016 COTA Curriculum Textbook and Peer-Reviewed Journal Report: Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs


Certification Process

The following pages of our website will provide you with information regarding the certification process for your students.

Eligibility Requirements 

Character Review

Early Determination 

Applying for the Exam 

Testing Accommodations 

Taking the Exam

After the Exam 

Maintaining Certification 

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