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Am I eligible to take the NBCOT exam?

The answer depends on where you earned your occupational therapy degree. If you were educated in the United States, you must have graduated from an ACOTE accredited program. If you earned your degree outside of the U.S., you must first apply to the Occupational Therapist Eligiblity Determination (OTED) process.

Earned Degree in U.S.A                  Earned Degree Outside the U.S.A.


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I Earned my OT Degree in the United States

In order to be eligible for the NBCOT exam, you must have received your occupational therapy degree that meets the current entry-level requirements:

  • OTR candidates must graduate with an entry-level occupational therapy degree from an ACOTE®-accredited occupational therapy (OT) program
  • COTA candidates must graduate with an entry-level occupational therapy degree from an ACOTE®-accredited occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program.


Learn more about eligibility, requirements, policies, processes, and more in our online handbook that guides you through the application process.

I Earned my OT Degree Outside of the U.S.A

If you did not earn your entry-level master’s/doctoral degree in occupational therapy from a U.S.-accredited college/university, you must apply for the Occupational Therapist Eligibility Determination (OTED®) process. The OTED process determines if your completed education and fieldwork are comparable to current U.S. entry-level educational standards.

Education Requirements

To be eligible to apply for OTED, you must have:

  • An entry-level master's degree in occupational therapy, or
  • A bachelor's degree in occupational therapy with a post-professional master's or doctoral degree in occupational therapy, or
  • A bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy with a master’s degree in a related field.

Your education must include at least 960 hours of fieldwork attained through the entry-level degree granting institution, at minimum at a bachelor’s degree level.

Additional coursework may be needed to satisfy requirements.

Earning a post-professional master's/doctoral degree in occupational therapy in the U.S. does NOT guarantee OTED approval. OTED approvals are based on the educational comparability review of your combined education.

OTED Documentation Requirements

You must provide the following for an OTED review to begin.

  • National Government Recognition documentation (if applicable)

    A letter that confirms your university was approved to grant OT degrees at the time you graduated.

  • Official final transcript(s)

    This document must contain all required information.

  • Verification of Academic Credential Form (if applicable)

    This is an additional document to supplement the official transcript.

  • Course syllabi reflecting content taught at the time you completed the coursework

    These documents must be provided by the institution or university.

  • Program Director Form

    A document to be completed by the university's program director.

  • Verification of OT License, Registration, or Certification Form

    You must verify all active and expired license(s).

  • Professional Practice History Form

    You must provide details on your employment history as an OT.

How Do I Apply for the OTED Process?

You will use the online OTED application. You can check on your status, message NBCOT about your application, and upload documents through this system. There is an $850 (USD) application fee. It is very important you have reviewed all of the information about the process before applying.

The online system includes two categories of OTED applicants:

  • New applicants: If you are a new applicant with a master's degree in occupational therapy, create an account by clicking the "Register as an Applicant" button.
  • Existing applicants: If you have applied and received a deficiency determination, sign in to your account by entering an email address and password.

Watch These Videos Before Applying


When Am I Eligible to Take the Exam With the OTED Process

You are eligible to apply for the OTR certification exam once you are approved through the OTED process.

All OTED approvals are valid for 7 years from the date of approval. This means you must take and PASS the exam within the 7-year period. If you do not you will need to reapply to the OTED process, pay the fee, and resubmit documentation for review.


Review prior to applying to learn more about the OTED process and requirements.

These are Additional Materials to Review Prior to Applying

OTED Application Review Standards

Guidelines for Completing Additional Coursework for OTED Review

OTED Documentation Checklist

International Service Fees

Any questions related to the OTED process should be directed to


Ready to Apply for OTED?

Be sure you have reviewed all the information before proceeding. Being prepared can help the process move faster.