Occupational Therapist Continuing Education: OT CEUs

Information Last Verified: June 15, 2021 by Jordan Fabel

Occupational therapy is similar to physical therapy in that occupational therapy is also a form of rehabilitation. But unlike physical therapists who focus on improving body movements, occupational therapists focus on helping patients perform daily living activities.

Occupational therapists are health professionals. They work with doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, and other health professionals.

However, occupational therapists are more focused on holistic care and aren’t authorized to prescribe medications or recommend surgical treatments.

Educational Requirement for Occupational Therapists

A license is required to become an occupational therapist. All states have this requirement. And the first step in earning a license is to get a bachelor’s degree from an accredited learning institution.

It’s usually permissible to earn a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as occupational therapy, biology, kinesiology, sociology, psychology, health science, or liberal arts. But it’s also necessary to earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy, and some graduate schools will only accept students who have a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy.

Before 2007, occupational therapists only needed to earn a bachelor’s degree to become a licensed occupational therapist. But as of 2007, all states except Colorado require occupational therapists to earn a master’s degree.

The master’s program must have the approval of the American Occupational Therapy Association. And in addition to classwork, the program must include fieldwork in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, and private homes.

After receiving a master’s degree, occupational therapists can take the state test and apply for a license within their state. Each state has its own rules and regulations for licensing set by its occupational therapists governing board.

For example, Alabama has the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy. And Iowa has the Iowa Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy.

Occupational Therapist Continuing Education and License Renewal

Occupational therapy continuing education is generally a requirement for license renewal. This means that occupational therapists must fulfill their local state continuing education requirements to renew a license. Failure to do so will result in a lapsed license.

Occupational therapy continuing education units (OT CEUs) vary by state. And some states are more strict than others when it comes to which courses are allowed.

OT CEUs / Clock Hours Required by State

Alabama – Requires 3.0 CEUs (equal to 30 clock hours) every 2-years.

Alaska – For occupational therapists licensed for 1-year or longer, 24 hours of continuing education is required for license renewal. If licensed for less than 1-year, 12 hours of continuing education is required for license renewal.

Arizona – Requires 20 hours of continuing education to renew a 2-year license.

Arkansas – Requires 10 hours of continuing education every year for license renewal.

California – In California, OT CEUs are known as OT PDUs (Occupational Therapists Professional Development Units). California requires 24 PDUs every 2-years for license renewal. At least half of the PDUs must relate to the delivery of services in occupational therapy.

Colorado – In Colorado, continuing education for occupational therapists is referred to as continuing professional development (CPD). Occupational therapists must participate in a CPD development program and complete the Reflective Self-Assessment Tool before license renewal.

Connecticut – 24 hours of continuing education required for license renewal every 2-years.

Delaware – Requires 24 hours of continuing education every 2-years.

District of Columbia – Requires 24 hours of continuing education every 2-years. Two hours must come from courses on LGBTQ patients or cultural competency.

Florida – Requires 22 hours of continuing education for occupational therapists. Two hours must come from courses on the prevention of medical errors. And an additional 2 hours must come from courses on state occupational therapy board laws and rules.

Georgia – Requires 24 hours of continuing education every renewal period. At least 12 hours must come from courses in patient care. And 10 hours can come from courses in general continuing education courses. Two hours must come from courses in occupational therapy and ethics.

Hawaii – No requirements for continuing education.

Idaho – Requires 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) of continuing education and 10 hours of PDUs.

Illinois – Requires 24 hours of continuing education before license renewal every year. At least 1 hour must come from a course in ethics, and another hour must come from sexual assault prevention training.

Indiana – Requires 18 hours of continuing education every 2-years. Nine hours must come from Category 1 courses. If the license has been valid for 1 or 2-years, then 9 hours are required. Category 1 courses include workshops, seminars, formal courses, symposiums, online instruction, and courses from an accredited occupational therapy program.

Iowa – Requires 30 hours of continuing education every 2-years. Twenty hours must come from courses directly related to occupational therapy—no requirements for first-time renewals.

Kansas – Requires 40 hours of continuing education in odd-numbered years.

Kentucky – Requires 12 hours of continuing education before annual license renewal.

Louisiana – Requires 15 clock hours (1.5 CEUs) every year.

Maine – No continuing education requirements.

Maryland – Maryland refers to continuing education as continuing competency. The state requires occupational therapists to have 24 hours of continuing competency units every 2-years unless the therapist has a current National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certificate. No hours are required if the therapist has a valid certificate.

Massachusetts – No continuing education requirements.

Michigan – Requires at least 20 continuing education hours before license renewal. No more than 10 hours can come from online courses in a 24 hour period. At least 10 of the continuing education hours must come from in-person courses.

Minnesota – Twenty-four hours of continuing education is required every 2-years before license renewal. At least 12 hours must come from courses directly related to occupational therapy practices.

Mississippi – Requires 20 hours ( 2.0 CEUs) of continuing education before license renewal. At least 30 percent of the courses must relate to the clinical practice of occupational therapy and occur in-person. Seven hours can come from online courses.

Missouri – Requires 24 hours of continuing competency credits (CCC) before license renewal. At least 12 hours must come from courses specifically about occupational therapy services. The remaining 12 hours must come from courses focused on the therapist’s practice area or setting.

Montana – Requires 10 hours of continuing education every year.

Nebraska – Requires 20 hours of continuing education before license renewal.

Nevada – Requires 24 hours of continuing education before license renewal. If an occupational therapist receives a license within 12 months of graduating from a program that requires fieldwork, that therapist only needs 12 hours of continuing education for the first renewal of their license.

New Hampshire – Requires 24 hours of continuing education if the license is renewed in an even-numbered year or has already been renewed once before. At least twelve of the 24 hours must come from courses specifically about occupational therapy’s clinical aspects. The remaining hours must come from courses that are generally about occupational therapy.

New Jersey – No continuing education required.

New York – Thirty-six hours of continuing education required for license renewal every 3 years.

North Carolina – Requires 15 hours (points in North Carolina) of continuing education for license renewal.

North Dakota – Requires 20 hours of continuing education before license renewal.

Ohio – Twenty hours of continuing education is required before license renewal. At least one hour must come from a course in ethics. If the license has been valid for less than a year, the license holder must complete 10 hours of continuing education during the 2-year renewal period. One of those 10 hours must come from a course in ethics.

Oklahoma – Twenty hours of continuing education required every 2-years.

Oregon – Thirty hours (or points) of continuing education is required before license renewal. A one-time requirement of 7 hours (or points) on pain management is also required.

Pennsylvania – Requires 24 hours of continuing education every 2-years.

Rhode Island – Requires 20 hours of continuing education every 2-years.

South Carolina – Requires 16 hours of continuing education every 2-years.

South Dakota – Twelve hours of continuing education required every year.

Tennessee – Requires 24 hours of continuing education before license renewal. Twelve of the 24 hours must come from courses in the delivery of services in occupational therapy. One of the 24 hours must pertain to ethics. And an additional hour must come from a course in occupational therapy rules and practices.

Texas – Requires 24 hours of continuing education before license renewal.

Utah – Twenty-four hours of continuing education required before license renewal. Utah reserves the right to shorten or extend renewal cycles. In that case, the continuing education hours are adjusted accordingly.

Vermont – Requires 20 hours of continuing education before license renewal.

Virginia – Requires 20 hours of continuing education before license renewal. At least 10 hours must come from Type 1 courses. Type 1 courses included self-study and online courses. And no more than 10 hours can come from Type 2 courses. Type 2 courses include independent research, consulting with other therapists, and fieldwork with students.

Washington – Requires 30 hours of continuing education every 2-years. Three hours in suicide prevention and assessment is required every 6 years.

West Virginia – Twenty-four hours of continuing education required before license renewal.

Wisconsin – Requires 24 hours (points) of continuing education before license renewal. At least 12 of the hours (points) must come from professional development activities.

Wyoming – Requires 16 hours of continuing education per year for occupational therapist license renewal. License renewal occurs every 2-years.

The continuing education information above is accurate as of this writing. But requirements can change. The best source of accurate and updated information is the local occupational therapist governing board or committee. Before enrolling in any course, make sure the state will honor the credit.

For example, Alabama honors any occupational therapy courses relevant to occupational therapy or courses already approved by other legitimate health organizations or boards.

Upon completion of the continuing education hours, the course provider may have the option of submitting a certificate of completion to the state on behalf of the student. In some states, the student is expected to submit their own certificate of completion.

Career Outlook for Occupational Therapists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 25,000 new jobs for occupational therapist will be created in the next 10 years. This growth is 16% hire than the average for all career fields.

Occupational therapists are in high demand. Older adults are staying active for longer than in past generations. And occupational therapists are often there to help older adults (and people of all ages) develop strategies for retaining their independence.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story takes more time. Coming soon!