Occupational Therapy FAQs
Does an occupational therapist need a signed prescription from a physician authorizing OT services in the state of Florida?
In many jurisdictions, the practice of occupational therapy is contingent upon the prescription or referral of a physician, however, the Florida Occupational Therapy Practice Laws and Rules are silent on this issue, not stating that a physician’s prescription is required to provide OT services. The regulations only state a licensed Florida OT and OTA with an active unencumbered license can provide occupational therapy services in the state. See Chapter 468.203, (4) Definitions, Florida Statutes
NOTE: However, there may be, and often are, facilities, company policies, insurances, HMO’s, and/or billing requirements that may mandate a physician’s prescription for occupational therapy services, including other regulatory entities such as the Agency for HealthCare Administration (Facility Regulations), Medicare, Medicaid, etc. You may wish to inquire and visit these entities websites:
Florida’s Agency for HealthCare Administration’s Facility Regulations page: https://ahca.myflorida.com/MCHQ/Health_Facility_Regulation/index.shtml;
To obtain an electronic listing of active and inactive licensee’s mailing addresses and license status, there is not a fee. Data may be downloaded at the Department’s Health Care Practitioner Data Portal at this link: https://mqa-internet.doh.state.fl.us/downloadnet/Licensure.aspx You may wish to review the FAQ’s on this page also.
Yes, please visit our website at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/latest-laws/index.html NOTE: The information on this page is about felony convictions that prohibit licensure, including controlled substances offenses, welfare, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, etc.
Any questions about billing or insurance coverage is not included in the Board’s Practice Act, falls outside of our department and should be directed to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) or Office of Insurance Regulation.
- Information related to Medicaid may be found on AHCA’s website at https://ahca.myflorida.com/medicaid/index.shtml
- Rules applicable to billing, reimbursement, and Medicaid may be found on AHCA’s website at https://ahca.myflorida.com/medicaid/review/index.shtml
There is no time limitation between graduation date and exam date.
Does Florida require passage of a state Exam for Occupational Therapists or Occupational Therapy Assistants licensure?
Florida does not have a state exam, and does not honor other states or country exams for licensure. Licensure in Florida as an OT or an OTA requires the successful passage of the National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT) Examination. (www.nbcot.org or 301-990-7979)
If you have a current licensure application by examination on file with the Board, your application and fees are valid for one year after the date the Board approved your application. You must re-apply with NBCOT to take the exam, request (and pay) for your scores to be sent to Florida, again. We will process your licensure when we receive your successful scores, if received before your application expires. It is your responsibility to make sure we receive your successful score or your NBCOT Certification number to verify and complete your licensure, prior to your file expiration date.
If you were issued a Temporary Permit you must STOP working immediately and notify the Board, as the Temporary Permit is invalid upon knowledge of your unsuccessful score. The temporary permit will be revoked by the Board upon receipt of your score.
If you do not have a current application on file for licensure in Florida, after you successfully complete the exam and receive your NBCOT certification number, you may apply for licensure, by the Endorsement application method. https://floridasoccupationaltherapy.gov/licensing/ Please visit NBCOT’s website for more information on the exam re-take requirements and procedures, at: www.nbcot.org.
Applicants with an Exam application on file having taken the exam 3 times without success must complete additional education as prescribed by the Board, pursuant to 468.211(6), F.S. The Florida OT Board recommends that one takes advantage of the following tools from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy in preparing to re-take the examination, as their “prescribed additional education” for those who have failed the exam three times:
- NBCOT Entry-Level Self-Assessment Tools
Allows you to identify your readiness for the exam and identify areas where more study might be helpful. Available on the NBCOT website at: https://www.nbcot.org/en/Students/Study-Tools.
- Review of Examination Blueprint
Provides a breakdown of the 3 major areas to be covered on the exam and provides the percentage of each domain to assist in determining which areas on which to place the most focus in preparing for the exam. Available at: https://www.nbcot.org/Students/get-certified.
- Study Guides
Order on the NBCOT website at: https://www.nbcot.org/Students/get-certified.
Practice & Content Tests Available 24 hours a day through Internet Access. You may order practice tests.
I FAILED the NBCOT exam, but have never applied for Florida licensure, May I have a temporary permit?
No. A temporary permit shall not be issued to an applicant for licensure who has previously failed the national board examination and has not subsequently passed the examination. (www.nbcot.org)
I FAILED the exam and I am reapplying to NBCOT to sit for the exam again. Must I request and pay NBCOT to send my scores again to Florida?
If you have a current application on file for licensure with the DEPT/Board of Occupational Therapy, and it will not expire (being over 1 year old) before your scores are received, YES. If you do not pay NBCOT to send us your scores, we will not receive them. If you pay NBCOT to send your scores we will receive them electronically, and complete your licensure usually within 1 or 2 days when scores are released. NOTE: It is your responsibility to make sure we receive your successful score or your NBCOT Certification number to verify and complete your licensure, prior to your file expiration date.
However, If you do not already have an application on file for licensure, You may wait until after you receive your successful exam results and apply for a license by Endorsement and submit your NBCOT Certification number on the application and scores are not required. We will attempt to verify your certification on NBCOT’s online “Verify My credentials” site. When we are able to verify your certification and complete your application file we can process your licensure.
I FAILED the NBCOT exam, what happens to my Temporary Permit, May I apply for another or an extension?
If you were issued a Temporary Permit and received unsuccessful exam scores, you must STOP working immediately, notify your employer and the Board, as the Temporary Permit is invalid upon knowledge of your unsuccessful score. Please review the language in your temporary permit letter. An applicant can have only one temporary permit and it cannot be extended. The temporary permit will be revoked by the Board upon receipt of your score.
Pursuant to 468.211(6), Florida Statutes, Applicants having taken the exam 3 times without success must complete additional education as prescribed by the Board. See the Florida OT Board’s recommendation under FAQ: “I FAILED the NBCOT Exam 3 times, What kind of education is prescribed by the Florida OT Board?” Also, pursuant to Pursuant to 468.211(6), Florida Statutes, after 5 unsuccessful examination attempts an applicant is no longer eligible to take the examination. However, the exam is not a Florida OT Board/state owned nor administered exam, it is a national Board exam, owned and administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Please visit NBCOT’s website for more information on its exam re-take procedures and requirements at: www.nbcot.org.
NOTE: Individuals in these circumstances may apply for licensure, by the Endorsement application method, After successfully completing the NBCOT exam and receiving NBCOT certification, to be eligible for licensure in Florida. Please visit NBCOT’s website for more information on its exam re-take requirements and procedures, at: www.nbcot.org.
Once approved by the Board, the applicant has twelve months from the date of approval to take the NBCOT examination and submit proof of scores to the Board office. If you re-schedule your exam date with NBCOT, you must notify the Board office in writing. Scores must be requested and received directly from NBCOT. If one does not sit for the examination, or, if scores are not timely submitted, the temporary permit, and application will expire at the end of the twelve-month timeframe and one must immediately cease practice. No extensions are allowed.
Will the Department of Health begin performing background checks pursuant to the passage of HB 7069(2010), Relating to Background Screening?
No. Please visit the Agency for Health Care Administrations (AHCA) Background Screening website to learn more about its background screening requirements. You may also contact the agency at (850) 412-4503 for additional information.
No, you must apply for licensure and receive a Florida OT or OTA license to work legally. OTR or COTA Certification alone is not sufficient; it is only a requirement for Florida licensure. Anyone working with only a certification in the state is subject to Unlicensed Practice charges/discipline.
To find a list of all accredited OT and OTA programs you may visit the American Occupational Therapy Association website: at www.AOTA.org. “Find a School” under Education & Careers”. For a list of only Florida OT and OTA programs you may visit the Florida Occupational Therapy Association website at: www.FLOTA.org . and click on “Find a Florida OT School”.
The Florida Occupational Therapy Practice Act does not specifically address “COTA supervision” only the definition of “supervision” is defined by statute Chapter 468, Part III, 468.203(8). See copied below the Florida Statute excerpt with the definition of supervision as defined in the Florida OT licensure Practice Act. The statute allows and requires the licensed OTR the authority to determine what level of supervision is needed for each individual they agree to supervise, based on the individual’s skills, education, training, practice setting and management/administrative requirements, etc. An OTA must be under the supervision of a licensed OT that provides initial direction and follow-up on the implementation of a plan of treatment to provide occupational therapy services. NOTE: Some facilities, companies, etc., may have requirements based on billing purposes, facilities regulations, etc. It is advisable to review the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) who has set forth practice Guidelines for COTA Supervision, roles, and responsibilities for the profession. You may contact AOTA directly at 301-652-2682 or at: www.aota.org.
- CHAPTER 468, PART III, 468.203 (8) “Supervision” means responsible supervision and control, with the licensed occupational therapist providing both initial direction in developing a plan of treatment and periodic inspection of the actual implementation of the plan. Such plan of treatment shall not be altered by the supervised individual without prior consultation with, and the approval of, the supervising occupational therapist. The supervising occupational therapist need not always be physically present or on the premises when the assistant is performing services; however, except in cases of emergency, supervision shall require the availability of the supervising occupational therapist for consultation with and direction of the supervised individual.
Board Rule 64B11-2.011 Definition of Supervised Fieldwork Experience identifies the supervision regarding students. The Rule does not state an OTA can supervise an OT student, only indicates a licensed OT as the OT student’s supervisor.
64B11-2.011 Definition of Supervised Fieldwork Experience. Supervision, for purposes of this rule, shall mean that the occupational therapist student or occupational therapy assistant student has daily direct contact at the worksite with his or her supervisor. The term “supervised fieldwork experience,” as provided for in Section 468.209(1)(c), F.S., shall mean:
(1) For an occupational therapy student, experience at an occupational therapist level occuring in a clinical setting affiliated with an educational institution in occupational therapy for a minimum of 6 months, with the fieldwork experience supervised by a licensed occupational therapist.
(2) For an occupational therapy assistant student, experience at an occupational therapy assistant level occuring in a clinical setting affiliated with an educational institution in occupational therapy for a minimum of 2 months, with the fieldwork experience supervised by a licensed occupational therapist or by a licensed occupational therapy assistant under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist.
Additionally: A licensee may earn up to 6 continuing education hours per biennium for supervision of a Level II Occupational Therapy or Occupational Therapy Assistant fieldwork student at the rate of no more than 3 hours per student. The licensee must be the primary clinical fieldwork educator for the student. Documentation shall include verification provided by the school to the fieldwork educator with the name of the student, school, and dates of fieldwork or the signature page of the completed student evaluation form. Evaluation scores and comments must be deleted or blocked out. Per Board Rule: 64B11-5.001 (11), F.A.C.
At the following address:
Department of Health
MQA Agency Clerk’s Office
4052 Bald Cypress Way
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3251
Name changes require legal documentation showing the name change. To change your name, please submit supporting documents, which must be one of the following:
- A copy of a state issued marriage license that includes the original signature and seal from the clerk of the court.
- A divorce decree restoring your maiden name.
- A court order showing the name change (adoption, legal name change, federal identity change).
- A copy of a certificate of naturalization or H1B Employment Visa (Note: Foreign applicants and/or licensees may not have state issued documents)
Any one of these will be accepted unless the department has a question about the authenticity of the document.
If you wish to receive a new license that reflects the name change, as of July 1, 2023, you will be able to retrieve, at no cost, by logging into the MQA Online Services Portal. The PDF version of the license will be available under the “Licensure Documents” menu on the licensee’s personal dashboard. Should you need a duplicate license prior to July 1st, please reach out to the MQA Customer Contact Center at 850-488-0595 for assistance.
Division of Medical Quality Assurance
Licensure Support Services
P.O. Box 6320
Tallahassee, Florida 32314-6320
For requests by mail, please include your full name as it appears on your license, profession, license number, your new name, your date of birth, the last four digits of your social security number, and your signature. Please submit your name change along with supporting document(s) 5-7 business days to allow processing if you need to renew online.
If you do not require a new license to reflect your new name, you may submit your request online or by mail along with legible supporting document(s) to one of the following:
- Log onto your MQA Online Services Portal account , select “Request Name Change” from the “Manage My License” dropdown menu
- Mailing address – DOH, Division of Medical Quality Assurance, Post Office Box 6320, Tallahassee, Florida 32314-6320