Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Occupational Therapy

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Advanced Practice

On January 1, 2003, legislation (Senate Bill 1402) became law that requires occupational therapists offering services in hand therapy, physical agent modalities, and/or swallowing assessment, evaluation or intervention to demonstrate, through post-professional education and training, that they are competent to do so. This legislation became operative on January 1, 2004 and implementing regulations took effect March 9, 2004.

Definitions for hand therapy and physical agent modalities are contained in the Occupational Therapy Practice Act (OTPA) section 2570.2(l) and (m) and subject matter requirements are identified in section 2570.3(e) and (f). Subject matter requirements for swallowing assessment, evaluation or intervention are specified in Title 16, California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 4153. Both the OTPA and CCR are available on the Board's web site under the Laws and Regulations link.

Approval in an advanced practice area demonstrates that you have met the minimum qualifications in the area approved. Approval does not represent expertise in this area and should not be misrepresented as such. Pursuant to Title 16, California Code of Regulations, Section 4170(f)(1) of the Ethical Standards of Practice, occupational therapists are required to accurately represent their credentials, qualifications, education, experience, training, and competency. Further, Section 4170(d) states that occupational therapists shall perform services only when they are qualified by education, training, and experience to do so.

A panel of experts will review your application for compliance with the OTPA and applicable regulations. You will be notified as quickly as possible if additional information is needed. Once your application has been approved, you will receive a new pocket license that reflects the area(s) of advanced practice in which you have been approved. You can also verify your advanced practice approval through the "License Verification" link on the Board's web site. There is no application fee or additional renewal fee at the time of license renewal. There are no additional continuing competency requirements associated with advanced practice approval.

Occupational therapists in the process of completing the requisite education and training may offer advance practice services, however, it must be under the supervision of either an occupational therapist certified in the advanced practice area, physical therapist (for hand therapy and/or physical agent modalities), speech language pathologist with expertise in dysphagia (for swallowing assessment, evaluation and intervention), or a physician and surgeon.

Further, the supervisor and occupational therapist must have a written agreement outlining the plan of supervision and training in the advanced practice area. The level of supervision is determined by the supervisor whose responsibility it is to ensure that the amount, degree, and pattern of supervision is consistent with the knowledge, skill and ability of the occupational therapist, and appropriate for the complexity of client needs and number of clients for whom the occupational therapist is providing advanced practice services.

Applicants must submit a completed application and documentation demonstrating completion of the required number of hours of both post-professional education and supervised on-the-job training.

Effective October 22, 2008, an advanced practice application not completed within six months of receipt or notification of deficiency, whichever is later, shall be deemed abandoned and an application submitted subsequent to the abandonment of a previous application shall be treated as a new application.

To become an Approved Provider, click on Application to Provide Advanced Practice Post-Professional Education.

Please note: The Board's staff does not include an occupational therapist - all Advanced Practice applications are sent out for review by practicing OTs. We apologize for delay and any inconvenience. Please continue to practice under appropriate supervision until you receive your approval from the Board. If you have any questions, please call us at (916) 263-2294. Thank you.