Navigator Frequently Asked Questions
The NBCOT Navigator® is a suite of online tools designed to help certificants assess their competency across all areas of occupational therapy. Certificants can complete these tools, which are based on current practice and evidence-based literature, to earn competency assessment units (CAUs) toward their NBCOT certification renewal.
NBCOT recognizes that certificants face the ongoing need for skill development and demonstration of continuing competence throughout their careers.
The Navigator is not a source of continuing education content. Rather, the Navigator provides opportunities for certificants to engage in a self-directed process of competency assessment, including critical reflection, validation of current practice, and consideration of new avenues of professional knowledge. After completing some of the tools in the Navigator, certificants are encouraged to create a professional development plan.
In 2012, NBCOT completed a certification renewal practice analysis in response to two Institute of Medicine (IOM [renamed National Academy of Medicine in 2015]) reports: Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality (2003) and Redesigning Continuing Education in the Health Professions (2010). The practice analysis identified practice competencies or domains relevant to contemporary occupational therapy practice that align with IOM’s recommendations and supported the creation of an online competency assessment platform.
In 2019, the Ongoing Professional Practice Analysis (OPPA) was completed as part of NBCOT’s ongoing review of its certification renewal program. The OPPA updates the 2012 practice analysis and provides evidence that links current occupational therapy practice to NBCOT’s certification renewal program requirements in a manner consistent with best practice and accreditation standards.
NBCOT Navigator uses an interactive virtual platform featuring games, quizzes, and case simulations to help OTRs and COTAs assess competency across all areas of occupational therapy.
A certificant can begin using the NBCOT Navigator by filtering tools by activity type, practice area, and/or populations. Additionally, one can search by keyword. Users then verify practice strengths by completing case simulations, games, mini practice quizzes, and practice assessments that result in customized feedback with recommendations for follow-up reading.
The value of the OTR and COTA credentials has become increasingly important. True practice competency is a continual process throughout a certificant's career.
The NBCOT Navigator is a competency assessment platform and not a source of continuing education. The Navigator assists certificants in developing an action plan based on the self-reflection and the performance feedback provided when completing a competency assessment tool. In this way, the NBCOT Navigator complements certificants’ professional development plans.
OTRs and COTAs can earn competency assessment units (CAUs) toward their next renewal cycle. Earned CAUs can be applied toward the state licensure renewal requirements in states that accept CAUs.
Yes. Prior to its launch, NBCOT conducted beta-testing on the Navigator with hundreds of certificants and employers. Testing feedback was used to optimize the tool suite, providing the best user experience for OTRs and COTAs. User feedback on the final product has been positive, underscoring the need for practical, convenient continuing competency resources across all practice areas and skill levels.
All tools continue to go through a rigorous testing process prior to being made available to certificants.
Yes, NBCOT is the first certification board to use this kind of technology to provide an evidence-based competency assessment platform for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. It is important to note that while the Navigator is built on an interactive gaming platform, a user does not need to be a "gamer" to easily interact with and use the tool suite. This platform applies to all OTRs and COTAs.
NBCOT Navigator is one tool in the OT's professional development toolbox, and it is incumbent upon the practitioner to keep going back to that toolbox to continually refine their skills and abilities. NBCOT Navigator is an interactive platform featuring case simulations, mini practice quizzes, mini games, and practice assessments for OTRs and COTAs to assess competency across all areas of occupational therapy. Navigator content is based on evidence-based literature and presents a range of clinical reasoning challenges. True practice competency is a continual process throughout the certificant's career.
The NBCOT Navigator is available to all certified OTRs and COTAs at no additional cost.
You will need to ensure you disable your pop-up window. The tools will open in a new window once you click on "Begin Activity." The tools work best in the following browsers: Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. Internet Explorer is not recommended or supported for use with the Navigator. You may want to switch the browser you are using to access the tools if you experience issues.
No. Once you start a tool, you need to complete it in one sitting. Play is not saved, and you will be timed out.
It varies. Some tools are designed to be very quick to complete, like the OT Knowledge Library and mini practice quizzes. Others, like the case simulations, may take up to 30 minutes or longer to complete. The practice assessments are a timed tool and allow for 60 or 90 minutes, depending upon the length of the assessment.
NBCOT has a staff of OTRs who are continually developing new tools and reviewing and enhancing current content. Additionally, committees of subject matter consultants meet on a regular basis to develop, review, validate, and maintain the tools. New tools that are practice relevant and evidence-based are added to the Navigator on a continual basis.
No. Your Navigator competency assessment results are confidential.
Results are confidential. It is entirely at your discretion if you choose to share your results from the Navigator tools with your employer or any other third party.
Recommended reading reading lists are presented on the score page when a tool has been completed. You can also select to have the lists sent to your email account. Click on the "Read Now" button of the article you would like to read, and it will automatically open in ProQuest. ProQuest is accessible at no cost to OTRs and COTAs through their MyNBCOT account. If the reference listed is a book, you will not be able to view the information through your MyNBCOT account.
Who Can Use Navigator?
The Navigator is available to current OTRs and COTAs. At this time, non-OTR and -COTA employers cannot access the tool suite directly, but NBCOT will offer a demo and information for any employers or supervisors who are interested in learning more. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes. We designed NBCOT Navigator with certificants and employers in mind. While employers cannot directly access the tool suite at this time, they can direct their OTR and COTA staff to the Navigator so they can engage in self-reflection and test their competency against contemporary practice standards. Encouraging use of the Navigator is a great way for employers to participate in the competency assessment process without taking their staff away from the work environment or their clients. If supervisors and managers have an OTR or COTA credential, they can access the tools through their own MyNBCOT account for their own continued competency needs.
A total of 36 units must be accrued during one renewal cycle. You can earn up to 36 competency assessment units (CAUs) toward your certification renewal through the Navigator. NBCOT also offers a number of other ways for certificants to earn units, which are highlighted in the Certification Renewal Activities Chart.
Units earned through the Navigator are automatically tracked for you in the Renewal Log in your MyNBCOT account. You can also view your progress on your Navigator Dashboard, located under the Navigator tab on MyNBCOT.
In the image below, view the states that currently accept the Navigator for state licensure renewal.
We anticipate this number to grow quickly as more states add the Navigator to their regulations or take it to their board for a vote.
If your state does not accept units earned through Navigator, you can still use them toward your renewal requirements with NBCOT. Contact your state to encourage acceptance of the Navigator. State contact information is available once you log in to your MyNBCOT account.
You will not earn additional CAUs after you have completed the maximum number allowed per tool. You can view your progress in your MyNBCOT account under Navigator. Your Navigator tools and CAU count will reset after your next renewal.
The practice assessment tools are multiple-choice assessments in a focused area of practice. They provide opportunities that enable certificants to demonstrate their knowledge and identify new areas of learning and professional growth.
Yes. Under the Activities section, you can also use the filters to select tools of your choice. You can select to filter by activity type, practice area, or population.
All content available on the Navigator is driven by the results from NBCOT's Ongoing Professional Practice Analysis (OPPA). This study, completed with thousands of NBCOT certificants, gathered data on certificants' current practice areas. The menu of practice area topics continues to expand every year.
Yes. The Navigator can be used across a wide range of practice areas, including acute care, administration and/or management, developmental disability, geriatrics/productive aging, home health, health and wellness, mental health, OT education and/or research, orthopedics, pediatrics (clinic-based, early intervention), pediatrics (school system), rehabilitation (inpatient), rehabilitation (outpatient), skilled nursing, and work and industry.