Aussie Occupational Therapy Accreditation in the USA

Urszula Semerda (Bakonska)

The following is a guest post by Urszula Semerda (Bakonska).
About Urszula: By profession I am an Occupational Therapist (OT) currently working in the beautiful California (Silicon Valley) as a Occupational Therapist. Prior to this I spent 8 years working as a Occupational Therapy in Sydney, Australia.My skills & experience are primarily around working with children. I have achieved wonderful and rewarding results by working & helping children with physical disabilities, pervasive developmental disorders (Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, Rett’s Syndrome), ADHD, learning disabilities and sensory processing disorder.

Connect with me on LinkedIn here.

By the American Occupational Therapy Association executive board (1976) as: “The therapeutic use of work, self-care, and play activities to increase development and prevent disability. It may include adaptation of task or environment to achieve maximum independence and to enhance the quality of life.”

As an occupational therapist organizing a move to the US (California) from Australia (Sydney) I was confronted by a number of challenges. My Australian degree did not allow me to automatically work in the US and thus I was required to 1st become certified by the NBCOT (National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy) and then obtain a state licence to work in California. This was a time-consuming and rather pricey process which should be started immediately to speed up the accreditation.

So to all of the readers who are or have partners in similar situation here is my road to the silicon valley 🙂

7 steps to Occupational Therapy accreditation

Note: The costs mentioned in this post are what I paid in 2009. They may have changed today so please check with the appropriate institutes mentioned here.

1. Check if your Occupational Therapy (OT) school is WFOT (World Federation of Occupational Therapists) accredited.

Only graduates in OT with a Baccalaureate Degree or a Post-Baccalaureate Degree from a WFOT accredited program are eligible to apply to the Occupational Therapist Eligibility Determination (OTED) program. To check if your school is WFOT accredited visit their website at

2. Complete the Occupational Therapist Eligibility Determination (OTED) Application.

The application process includes 8 steps. These are as follows:

  1. Determine if you are CATEGORY A or CATEGORY B applicant
  2. Category B applicants ONLY – Complete and submit a Determination of Masters Equivalence Content Evaluation Form
  3. Complete the OTED Application
  4. Take and pass English Language Proficiency Exams (Exemptions: Graduates of occupational therapy programs in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland,
    New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States.)
  5. Request transcript(s) from your OT school
  6. Request completion of the Program Director Form.
  7. Request completion of the Verification of Academic Credential Form.
  8. Request completion of the Verification of OT License, Registration, Certification, or Other form of Official Government Recognition Form, and temporary permit history

The application and detailed process can be found on the NBCOT website:

What you need to know:

  • Application processing time: 2-5 months
  • Investment:
    • OTED Application: $500.00 USD
    • OT Transcript: $150.00 AUD (This fee may vary depending on your University)

3. Complete Application for the OTR Certification Exam and the Authorization To Test Letter (ATT).

What you need to know:


4. Schedule and complete the NBCOT Certification Exam at your nearest Prometric Centre.

Note: You cannot schedule your exam untill you receive your ATT letter from NBCOT.

What you need to know:

My study notes

My study notes

My study notes

5. Apply for a Visa Credential Verification Certificate.

What you need to know:

  • Purpose: This application is required for immigration purposes.
  • Investment: $300.00 USD
  • Time: Approximately 1 month
  • Website:

6. Get your State Registration. I was applying for California.

What you need to know:

  • Each Application includes a Live Scan (obtaining your finger prints). It is the equivalent of the criminal record check in Australia.
  • Investment: Approximately $150.oo USD
  • Time: Approximately 2 weeks

7. Additional Investment (costs):

  • Score Transfer – $35 USD
  • Examination Registration & Eligibility Notice – $40 USD
  • Exam Check Fee – $35 USD

That’s it! there you have it. If you have any further questions please post them below or contact me via LinkedIn here –

In Summary, the total figures to obtaining Occupational Therapy Accreditation

  • Investment: Approximately $1,710 USD
  • Time: Approximately 7 months
  • Learnings: Start early! study hard, and don’t think / believe anyone that this is a fast process.

Oh, there is an additional 8th step.

8. Connect with me on LinkedIn. The world is truly a small place and we are here to help each other get further in life.

/ Urszula