Every five years, we embark on a major initiative: the OTR and COTA practice analyses. A practice analysis is a study of occupational therapy practice, including the tasks performed by entry-level practitioners and the knowledge required for competent performance. The goal of the studies is to ensure that the certification exam content reflects current entry-level practice. We use the results of the practice analyses to guide the construction of the OTR and COTA exams.

The OTR and COTA practice analysis surveys will be sent out on Monday, March 21, 2022. We strongly encourage all OTRs and COTAs who receive the practice analysis survey to take the time to complete it. The information you provide is critical to validating the knowledge essential for effective and safe entry-level practice in occupational therapy. Your input will help inform the certification exam content for OT and OTA students entering the profession and will help NBCOT fulfill our mission of validating the knowledge essential for safe and effective OT practice. Individuals who complete the survey will earn two PDU.

A practice analysis is a well-established process that involves multiple phases. First, the NBCOT OTR staff provided input on suggested updates to the current exam content outline and the NBCOT Board of Directors shared their insights on updates to current practice. Next, a panel of practitioners representing all major practice areas, geographic regions, and population demographics was assembled for both the OTR and COTA practice analysis studies. The panels reviewed and updated the essential tasks performed by entry-level COTAs and OTRs and the knowledge required to perform those tasks and suggested several revisions to enhance clarity. In the third phase, the revised exam tasks and knowledge will be developed into national validation surveys that will be sent out to all entry-level OTR and COTA certificants (i.e., those earning certification within the last three years). Finally, the results will be analyzed, reviewed, and finalized into updated “examination blueprints” that will guide the construction of OTR and COTA exams to be administered beginning in 2024.

COTE - Content Outline Sample

For certification purposes, a practice analysis is a study used to establish a complete list of job tasks, organized by job performance domains, as well as the knowledge required to carry out the responsibilities of the job to the standards required for certification.

NBCOT takes fairness very seriously when constructing our exams. The procedures we use are consistent with industry accreditation standards and the technical guidelines recommended by:

  • the American Educational Research Association,
  • the American Psychological Association,
  • the National Council on Measurement in Education,
  • the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, and
  • the Association of Test Publishers.

More information can be found on the Foundations of the NBCOT Certification Examinations page of our website.