Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) Certification Exam

Retakes for the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Certification Exam

If you do not pass the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) on your first attempt, you may retake the exam. Here is what you need to know about the retake process:

  1. Waiting period: There is a waiting period between exam attempts. According to NBCOT’s policy, you must wait a minimum of 45 days from your most recent exam date before retaking the COTA exam.
  2. Application process: To retake the exam, you will need to submit a new exam application through your NBCOT online account. This includes paying the required exam fees, which may vary depending on your eligibility category (e.g., re-examination, re-entry). Ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements before applying to retake the exam.
  3. Preparation: Use the feedback provided in your exam results to identify areas where you need to improve. Focus on the content areas where your performance was weaker and consider using additional study materials, joining study groups, or seeking guidance from faculty or mentors to enhance your understanding of those topics. Develop a study plan and schedule to ensure adequate preparation for your retake attempt.
  4. Retake limit: As of September 2021, NBCOT does not impose a limit on the number of times a candidate can retake the COTA exam. However, it is important to verify the current policy on the NBCOT website or in the Exam Candidate Handbook, as the retake policy may be subject to change.
  5. Maintaining eligibility: Make sure you continue to meet the eligibility criteria for the COTA exam during the retake process. This may include maintaining your professional credentials, completing any necessary continuing education, or adhering to the NBCOT Code of Conduct.

Renewal of COTA

Maintaining your Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) certification requires renewing it periodically. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) sets the renewal process and requirements. Here are the key aspects of the COTA certification renewal process:

  1. Renewal cycle: The COTA certification must be renewed every three years to maintain your active status.
  2. Continuing Competence: To renew your certification, you must meet the NBCOT’s Continuing Competence requirements. This involves completing a certain number of professional development units (PDUs) during each renewal cycle. As of September 2021, COTAs are required to complete at least 36 PDUs every three years.
  3. Professional Development Activities: PDUs can be earned by participating in a variety of professional development activities, such as:
    • Attending workshops, conferences, or seminars
    • Completing online courses or webinars
    • Publishing articles or presenting at professional events
    • Participating in research projects or serving on professional committees
    • Engaging in mentorship or supervision roles
  4. PDU Documentation: Keep records of your professional development activities, including certificates of completion, transcripts, or other documentation that verifies your participation and the number of PDUs earned. You may be required to submit this information to NBCOT during the renewal process or in case of an audit.
  5. Renewal fees: There are fees associated with renewing your COTA certification. As of September 2021, the renewal fee is $125 for NBCOT certificate holders who are also members of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and $175 for non-members. These fees may be subject to change, so consult the NBCOT website for the most current fee information.
  6. Renewal application: To renew your certification, you must submit a renewal application through your NBCOT online account. This includes verifying your compliance with the NBCOT Code of Conduct, attesting to your completion of the required PDUs, and paying the renewal fees.
  7. Renewal deadline: Your COTA certification expires on the last day of the month in which the three-year renewal cycle ends. It is essential to submit your renewal application and complete the required PDUs before this deadline to maintain your active certification status.
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