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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
2015 7,906 78% 112,235
2016 8,848 74% 115,481
2017 9,822 72% 123,592

COTA Certification Activities

Year Number of Exam Candidates* Pass Rate Total Certificant Population
2015 6,904 67% 43,288
2016 7,311 64% 49,566
2017 7,526 63% 51,467

*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 management oversight for the organization.


Dennis Tobin, MBA, MEd, OTR


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


       Mack Hill, MA                       

Public Member

          Sheila Baxter,           BG (Retired)

Board Member

Cesar Cespedes, OTR, MS


Board Member

Brittany Curtis, OTD, OTR/L

Board Member

Kate DeCleene Huber, OTD, MS, OTR

Board Member

Joanne Foss, PhD, OTR/L 

Board Member

Ann Glore, COTA/L

Board Member

Mashelle Painter, MEd, COTA/L

Rafael Salazar II

Board Member

Rafael Salazar II, OTR/L

Board Member

Mary Smith, Ed.D(C), MOT, OTR/L

Board Member

Rae Ann Smith, OTD, OTR/L

Board Member

George Tomlin, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Public Member

Ben Wall, MD, MSPH

Board Member

Audrey Wilson-Alston, MBA, COTA/L

Public Member

Karl Yordy, MPA


The results of NBCOT's 2018 Board of Directors Election are in, and the new OTR® board member is Rafael Salazar II, OTR/L.

We would like to thank all of the OTR and COTA certificants 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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