If you are a new grad, congratulations and welcome to the profession! To practise as an occupational therapist, and use the title “occupational therapist” or “OT” in BC*, you must be registered with COTBC.
We assume you have completed the academic and fieldwork requirements for graduation and now need information on how to apply for registration with COTBC, commonly referred to as “the College”. We welcome you to the College and look forward to helping you navigate the application process.
New grads usually apply for Provisional Registration because they have not written and/or passed the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE). Below is a typical path to registering and obtaining employment. There is lots of paper work so please also read the New Canadian Grads Registration Guide carefully to avoid any delays in your application.
All the forms you need can be found on the right side bar or under Application Forms.
We’re here to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1 (866) 386-6822.
Typical Path to Registration and Employment…
1. Anytime – download and start to complete a New Registrant Application Form.
2. Request your university transcript be forwarded to the College. It must be the official final transcript.
Not available yet? We’ll accept an original letter from your occupational therapy education program head or designate that confirms you have met all the requirements (including fieldwork) for graduating with a degree in occupational therapy. Check with your division/program head about how to provide this to the College.
This is only an interim verification that you meet the educational requirement for registration so include a copy of your transcript request with your application to the College. An official final transcript must be forwarded directly from the university to the COTBC when it is available.
3. Pay the initial application fee of $325.00. Please make out your cheque or money order to COTBC.
4. Apply for occupational therapy positions. When applying, inform your potential employer that your application for COTBC registration is underway for provisional registration so you can’t begin work – just yet. See next step!
5. With support of your potential employer, find an occupational therapist who has Full Registration status with the College and who is willing to provide general supervision. What’s that? Review the Guideline for General Supervision and share these with your employer and potential supervisor. It clarifies the responsibilities and gives examples of what we mean by supervision.
6. Send us a completed Employer Acknowledgement of Supervision Form to COTBC. This assures us (and ultimately the public) that your employer understands that you need a practice supervisor until you’ve written and passed the NOTCE.
7. Obtain and forward a completed Criminal Records Check – Confirmation Receipt. You have to apply for this through the Ministry of Justice and not your local police department. Please see the criminal record guide for the steps on completing a criminal record check.
8. Pay your Registration Fee which is currently $525.00. It is pro-rated for first-time registrants only so depending on when you start work you may save some money. See page 5 on the New Registrant Application Form.
9. Obtain your Statement of Candidacy letter to write the NOTCE from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) and forward it to College.
Not available yet? We’ll accept some other verification regarding your eligibility to write the exam such as an email from CAOT confirming your exam registration. Indicate clearly, under the NOTCE section on your College application form, the date that you are registered to write the exam.
10. Register for the next available NOTCE and forward a copy of the registration to the College.
11. Acquire Professional Liability Insurance.
All occupational therapists must maintain professional liability insurance throughout their careers. You should be insured against liability for negligence in an amount of not less than $5 million dollars ($5,000,000) per occurrence. In BC, some employers provide occupational therapists with liability insurance that meets the COTBC requirements. Professional liability insurance may also be purchased through CAOT or AON Healthcare Advantage.
12. Eligibility to Work in Canada
You are required to provide proof that you are authorized to work in Canada as a health care professional. If you are a Canadian citizen a copy of your birth certificate, current passport, or Canadian Citizenship card is required. If you are not a Canadian citizen, evidence of landed immigrant status, permanent residency, or employment authorization under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001 is required. Forwarding a photocopy of the document is sufficient.
13. Review our Application Checklist on page 6 of the New Registrant Application Form to make sure you haven’t missed anything before sending in your application.
14. Once we verify that all the above requirements have been met, the College’s Registration Committee reviews it. If you are approved for Provisional Registration we will email you the good news and provide you with your registration number. You can then begin employment as an occupational therapist in BC.
*As a provisional registrant, you must use one of the following titles: Occupational Therapist or OT, Registered Occupational Therapist, Reg. OT, or Registered Occupational Therapist (BC) or Reg. OT (BC)
15. One last thing… Remember to provide a copy of your NOTCE results (successful or not) to the College as soon as you receive them (usually 4 – 6 weeks after an examination sitting).