Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Occupational Therapy

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General Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the fee for licensure?
A. The initial license fee changes monthly because the fee is pro-rated based on the month the fee is submitted and the applicant's birth month and birth year. Applicants will be notified by the Board of the correct initial license fee to submit once their application is approved.

Q. When will my license expire?
A. Your license will always expire on the last day of your birth month. If you were born in an even year, your license will expire every two years in the even years. If you were born in an odd year, your license will expire every two years in the odd years.

Q. Is there a grace period for practice after my license expires?
A. No. Your license must be renewed by the expiration date or you must cease practicing. Practicing with an expired license will subject you to a citation and fine or other disciplinary action.

Q. When will I receive a renewal notice for my license?
A. Renewal notices are sent out approximately 90 days prior to the expiration date of the license. Therefore, it is extremely important that you notify the Board immediately of any change in your mailing address.

Q. My license expires tomorrow. I sent my renewal payment in one week ago. When will I get my new license?
A. It is important to remember that it takes anywhere from 3-5 weeks to process your license renewal. This is indicated on the renewal notice, which is sent to all practitioners approximately 90 days prior to the expiration date. The unit within the Department of Consumer Affairs that processes your renewal also does so for all professional licenses within California. To ensure your license is renewed prior to its expiration, it is advisable that you submit your renewal payment at least six weeks before the expiration date.

Q. What is the fee for a limited permit?
A. The fee for a limited permit is $75.00.

Q. What is the fee for a duplicate/replacement license?
A. The fee for a duplicate/replacement license is $15.00. The Board must receive a Request for Duplicate License form indicating the reason a duplicate license is needed.

Q. What is the fee for written license verification to be sent to another state/organization?
A. The fee for written license verification is $35.00.

Q. How can I obtain written verification of my license?
A. Send a written request to the Board at 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2250, Sacramento, CA, 95815, along with a check or money order in the amount of $35.00 made payable to CBOT.

Q. What are the continuing education requirements?
A. Practitioners are required to complete 24 professional development units (PDUs) or contact hours as a condition of license renewal. The PDUs may be taken anytime within their two-year renewal period. The regulations are available on the Board's web site under the "Regulations" link located under "Quick Hits.".

Q. How do I change my address?
A. The Board must receive an Address Change Request in writing providing both the old and new addresses. California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 4102 requires notification to the Board within 30 days of the change of address. You may submit your change of address via e-mail cbot@dca.ca.gov, fax at (916) 263-2701, or mail your request to 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2250, Sacramento, CA, 95815.

Q. I am from out of state/country. How can I get an application?
A. You may obtain an application online at www.bot.ca.gov. However, you will need to call 1-800-952-5210 to have fingerprint cards sent to you to allow the Board to conduct a criminal background check.

Q. What are the requirements for a foreign trained occupational therapist?
A. Occupational therapists trained outside of the United States are required to complete the educational and supervised fieldwork requirements set forth in the Occupational Therapy Practice Act (OTPA) section 2570.6 and successfully complete the entry-level certification examination administered by NBCOT. There are no occupational therapy assistant programs recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Only US graduates of occupational therapy assistant programs can take the NBCOT certification examination. Additionally, by law, before the Board can issue a license, the applicant must have a US Social Security Number.

Q. How do I go about changing my name due to marriage/divorce/court decree?
A. The Board must receive a completed Name Change Request form, along with a copy of the marriage license, divorce papers, or court decree. If you wish to receive a new pocket license, you must also submit a Request for Duplicate License form, along with your current pocket license and send a check or money order in the amount of $15 made payable to CBOT.

Q. Where can I go to get my fingerprints done? Is there a number to find a Live Scan site?
A. There are two methods available for submitting fingerprints. The first is a process called "Live Scan" that electronically scans and transmits your fingerprints from the Live Scan site to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The live scan method is the one recommended by the Board because the processing time is approximately 72 hours. Live Scan is only available in California, and may not be available in some parts of the State. A complete listing of Live Scan sites is available on the DOJ web site at http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.php.

The second method is by rolling fingerprints on two fingerprint cards obtained from the Board, which can be accomplished at a local law enforcement agency. It takes about 3 to 6 weeks for the Board to receive the background results using this method.

Q. I have had a conviction in the past. Will that affect my getting licensed?
A. The Board's primary responsibility is consumer protection. To that end, the Board has the authority to deny a license due to a conviction of a crime or offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a licensee holder. In considering whether to issue or deny a license, the Board considers the nature of the crime/act, the length of time that has lapsed since it occurred, and evidence of rehabilitation. If an application is denied, the applicant has appeal rights (due process). Contact the Board for more information.

Q. Am I required to carry or post my pocket license?
A. No. The Practice Act does not require that you carry or post your pocket license.

Q. How can I contact NBCOT?
A. NBCOT can be contacted via their web site at www.NBCOT.org, or by telephone at (301) 990-7979.

Q. How can I contact the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC)?
A. OTAC can be contacted via their web site at www.otaconline.org, or by telephone at (916) 567-7000.

Q. How can I contact The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)?
A. AOTA can be contacted via their web site at www.aota.org, or by telephone at (301) 652-2682.

Q. I am from out of state. Is there a grace period for me to work in California without a California license?
A. The BPC 2570.4 allows an OT or OTA who holds a valid license in another state, has taken and passed the national exam, and has not been previously denied a license in California, to work in California for 60 calendar days from the date an application is received by the Board. The OT or OTA must work in association with a California-licensed OT.

Q. Can aides make any documentation in a medical record?
A. It is the responsibility of the supervising OT to document the medical record.

Q. Do we need to continue to be certified by NBCOT in order to renew our license?
A. No. NBCOT owns the trademarks "OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST REGISTERED OTR" and "CERTIFIED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT COTA." If you wish to use the trademarks, contact NBCOT.

Q. Now that I'm licensed, what letters do I put after my signature?
A. OTPA section 2570.18 lists all the abbreviations and titles you may use once you are licensed. NBCOT owns the trademarks "OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST REGISTERED OTR" and "CERTIFIED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT COTA." If you wish to use the tradmarks, contact NBCOT.

Q. If I choose to use OTR or COTA after my signature, will CBOT require me to submit proof of current registration/certification with NBCOT?
A. No. Section 4125 of Title 16, California Code of Regulations (CCR) requires that occupational therapists that wish to use OTR and occupational therapy assistants who wish to use COTA must be licensed and currently registered/certified with NBCOT. If you wish to use the trademarks, contact NBCOT

Q. I am going to place my license in inactive status. How do I reactivate it?
A. To reactive your license you must submit the active renewal fee. You must also certify that you have completed the equivalent of one renewal period of continuing competency.