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Mission

NBCOT strives to serve the public interest in its diversity by advancing just, equitable, and inclusive client care and professional practice through evidence-based certification practices and the validation of knowledge essential for effective and safe practice in occupational therapy.

A female occupational therapist working with a female child patient on a therapy activity involving the hands
A female occupational therapist working with a female child patient who is lying on her stomach on a therapy wedge.

Vision

Certified occupational therapy professionals providing just, equitable, inclusive, and 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).



Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At NBCOT, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) are an integral part of our mission and vision. We recognize, value, and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, lives, and experiences of all our stakeholders, including staff, students, certificants, regulators, educators, employers, and the public.

What does JEDI mean?

Justice/Just

Promoting fairness by eliminating the systems and structures that limit the opportunities for equity

Equity/Equitable

Providing equitable opportunities to everyone

Diversity

The representation of people of different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, national origins, tribes, socioeconomic statuses, and religions

Inclusion/Inclusive

Actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people

We will hold true to these principles in the following ways:

  1. Developing resources for stakeholders that satisfy the principles of our mission
  2. Committing resources to integrate and elevate justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into our mission, values, strategic plans, and organizational accountability systems
  3. Ensuring that our certification programs are built with input from subject matter consultants who represent the diversity of our population and in a manner that emphasizes fairness and accessibility and reduces bias

We recognize that this is a process of ongoing learning and that we may not always get it right. However, we are committed to growing in our knowledge at every level of our organization and we will strive to be true to these principles.

As part of this commitment, we embarked on creating a new, innovative tool for everyone to join us in our journey to better understand, experience, and accept differences as we all work to help make our world a better place.



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.

2021 2020 2019
All New Graduates1
Total candidates 8,705 7,654 7,927
Pass rate 98% 97% 98%
First-Time New Graduates2
Total candidates 8,810 7,574 7,878
Pass rate 81% 84% 82%

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).

2021 2020 2019
11,657 9,726 10,697

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.

2021 2020 2019
All New Graduates1
Total candidates 4,407 3,524 4,665
Pass rate 92% 84% 89%
First-Time New Graduates2
Total candidates 4,601 3,292 4,667
Pass rate 75% 79% 75%

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).

2021 2020 2019
6,672 4,798 7,177

OTR Certification Activities: Total Certificant Population

The total number of individuals holding the OTR certification in 2021 was 146,847.

COTA Certification Activities: Total Certificant Population

The total number of individuals holding the COTA certification in 2021 was 58,015.


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, 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

No photo placeholder

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 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 2023 to December 2025.

The submission window is now closed.

Important Dates

  • Tuesday, March 1: Call for Candidates opens
  • Friday, April 8: Call for Candidates closes
  • June: Interviews of selected candidates by Nominating Committee
  • Monday, July 11 – Sunday, August 14: Voting by OTR and COTA certificants
  • Monday, August 15: Public announcement of newly elected board members

Please email board@nbcot.org if you have any questions.


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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