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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, the set of associated task and knowledge statements, and the percentage of items devoted to each area. All exam items are classified according to these statements.

2012 OTR Exam Content Outline for exams currently being administered

2012 COTA Exam Content Outline for exams currently being administered

In 2017 NBCOT completed a revalidation of the OTR and COTA exam content outlines. The revalidation resulted in minor structural modifications and text edits to reduce duplication, provide clarity, and reflect practice currency. There is no change to the knowledge being tested on the exams.

  • The OTR exam task statements have been reorganized, resulting in an overall reduction of knowledge statements from 60 in the 2012 outline to 55 in the 2017 outline.
  • The COTA exam task statements have been reorganized, resulting in an overall reduction of knowledge statements from 57 in the 2012 outline to 52 in the 2017 outline.

Beginning January 2, 2019, all OTR and COTA certification exams will reflect the content outlines resulting from the latest practice analysis studies.

2017 OTR Exam Content Outline

2017 COTA Exam Content 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.

OTR Practice Analysis Study for exams currently being administered

COTA Practice Analysis Study for exams currently being administered

NBCOT conducted a revalidation of the practice analysis studies in 2016-2017 for the OTR and COTA national certification exams. External accreditation standards require that certification organizations, like NBCOT, conduct these every five years to confirm the exam relevancy to current entry-level practice.

The overall content areas (knowledge statements) derived from this revalidation are consistent with the outcomes from the previous practice analysis conducted in 2012. Of primary importance from the revalidation was:

  • Streamlining and reducing redundancy across the exam outlines; and
  • Confirming that the task and knowledge statements are clear for candidates to understand.

Testing beginning 2019 onward:

OTR Practice Analysis Study

COTA Practice Analysis Study

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