How to Become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA/OTA)

Becoming a certified occupational therapy assistant is easy, if you follow the proper steps and keep on task. First, set yourself up for a successful career by beginning your education in occupational therapy. After finishing high school, find a college that is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and emphasizes licensure examination training within its curriculum. Check out its pass rate for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

After graduating, you are one step closer to becoming a COTA. You need to apply to take the NBCOT exam. Apply online at to receive permission to take the exam. With your application you will need to have your college send official transcripts to NBCOT. Once approved, you will receive an Authorization To Test Letter and then you can schedule your exam date through Prometric Test Center. The exam is about 4 hours long, however it is best to include 1 to 2 extra hours in order to take the exam tutorial and other administrative requirements. Within 4 weeks of the test, you will receive your scores. If you’ve passed, you can apply for your state license. Each state has their own requirements so check out their website for their specific process.  During registration for your test you can request to have NBCOT send your test scores to your state board.

We wish you luck on following your dream and becoming a certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.

For more information on starting you OTA education, please visit Stanbridge College at or call (888) 538-4913.