OT Continuing Education Explained

Occupational therapy continuing education requirements can be a little confusing. Not only does each state have its own requirements, you’ll also find that all sorts of terminology is used by various organizations! It can get pretty overwhelming. So, you are not alone if you’ve found this post because you need some help figuring things out 🙂

We’ll start by touching on why you need continuing education. In this section, we’ll cover CEUs vs. PDUs vs. contact hours—including when and why you’ll need them. Then, we’ll do our best to cover both OT and OTA requirements from a state-by-state basis.

Keep in mind that this post is geared toward occupational therapists in the United States. Each country has its own continuing education and professional development requirements, so if you are outside the US, please check with your country’s governing body for specifics. 

Here we go…

Why you need continuing education as an OT/OTA

To keep your license

Licensure is the most important reason you need continuing education units (CEUs). You worked hard for your license—and if it lapses, you can’t practice. Each state has its own requirements for how many CEUs you need to renew your license. (By the way, we’ve compiled a list you can reference below.) 

Units are generally measured as contact hours. One contact hour = one continuing education unit. So, if you take an 8-hour course, you should earn 8 CEUs.

I do want to point out that the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) uses an especially confusing decimal system when it discusses continuing education. AOTA says that 1 hour = .1 CEU unit. 

However, you’ll probably be relieved to learn that most states do not use the aforementioned decimal point counting system. So, for ease of understanding, we’ll just use the language of “hour” or “contact hour” below. (Another thing to note is that AOTA does have an approval body for courses, but your state has the final word on accepting courses.)

To be registered with NBCOT

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) offers an optional certification for occupational therapists. OTs who achieve this certification typically signify it in their credentials with the “R” in OTR/L, meaning that the OT is registered and licensed.

The NBCOT uses the term PDU (professional development unit). 1 hour = 1 PDU, and 36 hours are required every three years in order to recertify. Here is the guidance on obtaining PDUs for certification.

To achieve/maintain certain certifications

Lasly, some OT certifications and OTA certifications require a certain amount of continuing education in specific practice areas. This varies greatly by certification. 

State-by-state OT continuing education requirements

Below, you’ll find the number of required hours in your state, as well as when they’re due. 

We are including links to websites so you can look up your specific state’s requirements regarding what counts towards an hour of continuing education. (In fact, some states don’t even call it continuing education. You may find your continuing education is called “continued competency,” “competency units,” or a “professional development activity.”)

I told you it was confusing 🙂 

Generally, every state allows AOTA-approved courses, such as our podcast-based courses, to count for some or all of your CEUs. See our list of the top OT courses that are geared towards helping you meet your continuing education needs.

I do also want to point out that taking courses is the most common way to meet your continuing education requirements. However, many states have other options, like reading journal articles. So, please look closely at the requirements in your particular state.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

 

Alabama

Due every 2 years – 60 days prior to license expiration

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 30 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy

 

Alaska

Due on June 30th of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours OR current NBCOT Certification
  • OTAs need 24 hours OR current NBCOT Certification

Alaska State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board

 

Arizona

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 12 hours

Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners

 

Arkansas

Due every year on the last day of the practitioner’s birth month 

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 10 hours
  • OTAs need 10 hours

Arkansas State Medical Board

 

California

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required? 

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

California Board of Occupational Therapy

 

Colorado

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

 

Connecticut

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 18 hours

Connecticut State Department of Public Health

 

Delaware

Due on July 31st of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Delaware Board of Occupational Therapy Practice

 

District of Columbia

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 12 hours

DC Health Board of Occupational Therapy

 

Florida

Due on February 28th of odd years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 26 hours
  • OTAs need 26 hours

Florida Board of Occupational Therapy

 

Georgia

Due on March 31st of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy

 

Hawaii

Due on December 31st of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 0 hours
  • OTAs need 0 hours

Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

 

Idaho

Due every year

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 10 hours
  • OTAs need 10 hours

Idaho State Occupational Therapy Licensure Board

 

Illinois

Due on December 31st of odd years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

 

Indiana

Due on December 31st of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 18 hours
  • OTAs need 18 hours

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency

 

Iowa

Due every 2 years on the 15th day of the licensee’s birth month

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 30 hours
  • OTAs need 15 hours

Iowa Department of Public Health

 

Kansas

License renewal due on March 31st every year (CEUs checked on odd years)

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 40 hours every 2 years
  • OTAs need 40 hours every 2 years

Kansas Board of Healing Arts

 

Kentucky

Due October 31st every year

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 12 hours
  • OTAs need 12 hours

Kentucky Board of Licensure for Occupational Therapy

 

Louisiana

Due every year on the last day of the licensee’s birth month 

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 12 hours
  • OTAs need 12 hours

Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners

 

Maine

Due March 31st every year

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 0 hours
  • OTAs need 0 hours

Maine Board of Occupational Therapy Practice – Laws and Rules

 

Maryland

Due on June 30th every two years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Maryland Department of Health Board of Occupational Therapy Practice

 

Massachusetts

License renewal due every 2 years on the licensee’s birthday

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 0 hours
  • OTAs need 0 hours

Massachusetts Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

 

Michigan

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

 

Minnesota

Due every 2 years on the last day of the licensee’s birth month

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 18 hours

Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes

 

Mississippi

Due on April 30th of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

Mississippi State Department of Health

 

Missouri 

Due on June 30th of odd years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Missouri Division of Professional Registration

 

Montana

Due every June 15th

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 10 hours
  • OTAs need 10 hours

Montana Secretary of State

 

Nebraska

Due on August 1st of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 15 hours

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

 

Nevada

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

State of Nevada Board of Occupational Therapy

 

New Hampshire

Due on December 1st of odd years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours OR current NBCOT certification
  • OTAs need 24 hours OR current NBCOT certifitaction

New Hampshire Occupational Therapy Governing Board

 

New Jersey

License renewal due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 0 hours
  • OTAs need 0 hours

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs

 

New Mexico

Due on September 30th every year

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

New Mexico Occupational Therapy Board

 

New York

Due every 3 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 36 hours
  • OTAs need 36 hours

New York State Board of Occupational Therapy

 

North Carolina

Due on June 30th every year

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 15 hours
  • OTAs need 15 hours

North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy

 

North Dakota

Due on June 30th of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

North Dakota State Board of Occupational Therapy Practice

 

Ohio

Due on June 30th of odd years (OTs) and due on June 30th of even years (OTAs)

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board

 

Oklahoma

Due on October 31st of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

Oklahoma Medical Board

 

Oregon

Due on May 31st of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 30 hours or NBCOT certification
  • OTAs need 30 hours or NBCOT certification

Oregon Occupational Therapy Licensing Board

 

Pennsylvania

Due on June 30th of odd years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Pennsylvania State Board of Occupational Therapy Education and Licensure

 

Rhode Island

Due on March 31st of even years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

Rhode Island Department of Health

 

South Carolina

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 16 hours
  • OTAs need 16 hours

South Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy

 

South Dakota

Due on January 1st every year

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 12 hours
  • OTAs need 12 hours

South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners

 

Tennessee

Due every 2 years by the end of licensee’s birth month

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Tennessee Board of Occupational Therapy

 

Texas

Due every 2 years by the end of licensee’s birth month

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners

 

Utah

Due on May 31st of odd years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Utah Department of Commerce

 

Vermont

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

Vermont Office of Professional Regulation

 

Virginia

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 20 hours
  • OTAs need 20 hours

Virginia Department of Health Professions

 

Washington

Due every 2 years on the licensee’s birthday

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 30 hours
  • OTAs need 30 hours

Washington State Department of Health

 

West Virginia

Due on December 31st every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

West Virginia Board of Occupational Therapy

 

Wisconsin

Due every 2 years

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 24 hours
  • OTAs need 24 hours

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services

 

Wyoming

License renewal due on July 31st every year (CEUs checked on even years)

How many hours are required?

  • OTs need 32 hours every 2 years
  • OTAs need 32 hours every 2 years

Wyoming Board of Occupational Therapy


Conclusion

We hope that this article helped clear up any confusion regarding your OT (or OTA) continuing education requirements.

Part of our mission here at OT Potential is to help you meet your OT continuing education needs. We help you stay current with new evidence, by providing continuing education podcast courses and many more resources in the OT Potential Club. For people who are looking for video-based courses, we also have a review of and promo code to MedBridge.

We love digging into CEU questions, so if you have other questions, please ask us in the comments below.

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