Top Occupational Therapist Certifications of 2021

Top Occupational Therapist Certifications, occupational therapist certifications, therapy certifications, ot certifications, occupational therapist certifications 2021, 2021 therapy certifications, ot specializations

Specialization for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists are committed to life-long learning in order to best serve our clients and represent our profession.  Pursuing a certification can broaden your skillset, allow you to offer the latest evidence-based interventions, provide top-notch client education and help you stand out from other providers.  Certifications can be pursued in a variety of different specialty areas and require different levels of time commitment and evidence of competence.  Fortunately, several certifications are now partially available online and allow the occupational therapy practitioner the opportunity to learn at their own time and pace. 

 

Occupational Therapist Certifications

The profession of occupational therapy is simply too diverse to learn advanced practice methods during occupational therapy school alone.  As occupational therapists, we are also expected to respond to the changing needs of society.  When selecting a certification area, consider the needs for the specialty service in the area where you work and live.  Current trending areas for occupational therapist certification include: Pediatrics; physical rehabilitation; lymphedema; stroke; brain injury; mental health; and hand therapy. 

 

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Board Certifications

In 2021, AOTA redesigned their board certification process.  It currently offers Board Certification in Pediatrics (BCP) and in 2022 will offer Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation.  These credentials are well respected and recognized among employers and organizations.  Prior to the revision of the board certification process, AOTA utilized a portfolio-based, peer-review process.  Now an exam component will replace the peer review.  As it rolls out the new program, AOTA is expected to eventually offer board certifications in mental health and gerontology as well. 

Board Certification in Pediatrics (BCP)

Requirements include:

·       Certification or licensure in occupational therapy

·       At least three years practicing as an occupational therapist

·       At least 3,000 hours of experience in pediatrics within the prior five years with at least 500 hours in delivering direct OT services to pediatric clients

·       Successful completion of the Advanced Certification exam

·       Fee of $525 for AOTA members, $650 for non-members

Click here for more information and resources about AOTA’s Board Certification in Pediatrics.

 

Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation (BCPR)

Upon the release of the BCPR credential in early 2022, requirements will include:

·       Certification or licensure in occupational therapy

·       At least three years practicing as an occupational therapist

·       At least 3,000 hours of experience in physical rehabilitation within the prior five years with at least 500 hours in delivering direct OT services to clients

·       Successful completion of the Advanced Certification exam

Check here for more updates on this upcoming credential

 

Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT)

An advanced certification that can be easily applied to your practice and highly valuable to prospective employers and clients is the Certified Lymphedema Therapist credential.  You’ll learn to use manual techniques to improve your patient’s quality of life, physical movement, and prevent future infection. 

Requirements include:

·       Completing a 135-hour course in Complete Decongestion Therapy (CDT courses range in price and tend to be in the $3,200 range). 

·       Have a current Occupational Therapy or Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant license

·       Successfully complete a 120 multiple choice question competency exam

For more information, visit CLT-Lana. 

 

Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT)

This is a comprehensive certification that is well suited for occupational therapists who work with clients with movement disorders that are caused by neuromuscular impairments.  Certification involves study in neuroscience, client evaluation, analysis of functional movement and posture, hands-on treatment to facilitate effective performance patterns, and more.  Each of the certification options requires in-person learning, though there are now components of the certification that can be accomplished through distance learning. 

NDTA Contemporary Practice Model Certificate Course in the Management of Children with Cerebral Palsy and other Neuromuscular Disorders

Requirements include:

·       Professional licensure in your state

·       Current professional liability insurance

·       At least one year of experience and current practice treating children with CP or other neuromuscular disorders

·       Tuition is $4,000 for NDTA members and $4,225 for non-members

·       Certification is awarded after successful course completion

NDTA Contemporary Practice Model Certificate Course in the Management of Adults with Stroke and Brain Injury

Requirements include:

·       Professional licensure in your state

·       Current professional liability insurance

·       At least one year of experience and current practice treating adults with brain injury or stroke

·       Tuition is $2,700 for NDTA members and $2,924 for non-members

·       Certification is awarded after successful course completion

For more information visit the NDTA certification page.

 

Assistive Technology Professional (ATP)

The ATP credential is recognized by a wide variety of service providers and organizations.  This certification demonstrates that a therapist has a high level of competence in selecting appropriate assistive technology and providing relevant education for clients with individual needs. 

Requirements:

·       Eligibility to take the exam depends on your education level.  If you have a master’s degree or higher you will need 1,000 hours of work experience in assistive technology services.  If you have a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy you will need 1,500 hours to be able to sit for the exam. 

·       Application fee of $100 (or free for RESNA members)

·       Examination fee is $500

Visit RESNA for more information on the ATP certification.

 

Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) and Child and Family Resiliency Practitioner (CFRP)

Mental health continues to be an evolving practice area for OTs and OTAs.  With this credential you can ensure both clients and employers that you can provide best practices in psych rehab.  There are several eligibility pathways for both the adult and child/family focused certifications depending on your education level.  This opens up a opportunities for both occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants.

Requirements specific to OT practitioners include:

·       A degree in an Allied Health profession

·       45 hours of education and training

·       Between 1,000 and 4,000 hours of relevant work experience

·       An exam fee of $395 for PRA members or $515 for non-members

·       Successful completion of the examination

Find more information about the CPRP and CFRP credentials here.  

 

Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)

If you have an interest in splinting, orthotics, recovery of hand function, and minimizing dysfunction in the hand and upper extremity, the CHT credential can be a valuable way to demonstrate your expertise.  This credential is well-known in the medical community.

Requirements include:

·       Occupational therapy certification, held for at least three years

·       At least 4,000 hours of direct practice experience related to hand therapy

·       Application fee of $500

·       Successful completion of the certification exam.  Similar to the NBCOT exam, this four hour certification test includes 200 multiple-choice questions.

To learn more about this rigorous credential, visit the Certification Center.

 

In Conclusion

Occupational therapist certifications can add significant value.  They allow you to keep up with societal needs and demands while utilizing the latest evidence-based interventions.  Achievement of a specialty certification also demonstrates your commitment to growth and learning.  However, the most important outcome is providing quality client care.  In 2021 changing societal needs require us now more than ever to provide excellent and up-to-date care for our clients.  Not ready to commit to a full certification but still looking to find continuing education?  Check out Free CEUs for Occupational Therapists.

TheraPlatform serves Occupational Therapists across the globe, click here to learn more about the platform features. https://www.theraplatform.com/resources/294/hipaa-compliant-video-conferencing-for-occupational-therapists

Reference Material:

https://www.aota.org/certification

https://www.clt-lana.org/get-certified

https://www.aota.org/Education-Careers/Advance-Career/Board-Specialty-Certifications-Exam/physical-rehab.aspx

https://www.ndta.org/certificate

https://www.resna.org/Certification/Assistive-Technology-Professional-ATP

https://www.psychrehabassociation.org/certification/why-get-certified

https://www.htcc.org/htcc/certification-center-home

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Free Occupational Therapy CEUs

In an ever-evolving field that is designed to meet the needs of society, occupational therapists are expected to commit to continuing education in order to best serve our clients.  In fact, to maintain certification with the NBCOT, it is required to complete at least 36 units of continuing education at renewal (every three years).  The price of CEUs, however, can be hefty and traditional opportunities can be time-consuming for a busy therapist.  This blog entry will cover a variety of free CEU occupational therapy CEUs and opportunities for occupational therapists that can be accessed virtually. 

handwriting games, handwriting activities, handwriting games for teletherapy, OT handwriting
Handwriting Games

Handwriting games and other intervention ideas for handwriting via teletherapy and in- person including: Using a multisensory approach; offering the client to step into the teacher role; utilizing a document camera; and isolating visual-motor skills by drawing. Ideas for motivating writing prompts including word association, an A-Z challenge, story cubes, and a silly picture challenge are also included.

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