If you are a graduate from an approved Canadian university, you must complete the online application, pay the application fee, submit all required documentation to the College, and pay the annual registration fee. 

You may not begin working* as an OT until you are registered with the College and have received written confirmation and a registration number. *Working as an OT includes participating in orientation or training at the workplace.

View our Student Registration Checklist - 9 Steps! (English | French)

How Do I Meet the Requirements?

Education & Clinical Practicum

The College typically receives confirmation from your university that you are eligible for graduation, this is sufficient proof until your final transcript is available. Once you convocate, you must request that your university send a copy of your final transcript directly to the College.

Currency - Evidence of Practice 

Recent graduation or recent occupational therapy practice provides evidence that you are current in the knowledge, skills and judgement needed to provide safe, effective and ethical care. If you have graduated in the past 18 months, you will meet the currency requirement.

If you graduated more than 18 months ago you will need to provide evidence of 600 hours of occupational therapy practice in the past three years or complete a College approved refresher program. A record of employment or letter from an employer are acceptable evidence of currency.

Approved Refresher Program

The College approved refresher program is the Clinical Re-Entry Program.

To begin a refresher program, you must
be an applicant of the College.
provide a detailed account of your occupational therapy history for the past 10 years, including dates of employment, hours worked per week, volunteer work and/or continuing education courses completed within the scope of occupational therapy using the Additional Currency Data Sheet.

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If you have not practised occupational therapy in the last 10 years you will be required to pass the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination prior to initiating a refresher program.

Once we receive your completed application and Additional Currency Data Sheet, we will review your documentation and inform you, in writing, about how to proceed with the refresher program.

Once you have successfully completed the refresher program, you will be considered current for 18 months, and will be eligible to proceed with registration. For more information please refer to the following link:

Clinical Re-Entry Program


The National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (‘the exam’) is administered by the Canadian Association of Occupation Therapists (CAOT). The exam is held twice a year, once in July and once in November.

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You have a maximum of three attempts to pass the exam. No further attempts will be permitted.

Cost to Attempt the Exam

$755 + HST.


If you require accommodation when writing the exam, please contact CAOT directly.


If you experience ill health during the exam and continue to write the exam, or believe that there were administrative issues on the examination day that significantly impaired your performance, you can appeal to CAOT on the basis of extenuating circumstances.

Appeals must be made directly to CAOT and consist of a letter, supporting documentation and an administrative fee of $50.00.

Appeals MUST be received in the CAOT office no later than 14 days after the exam day. Appeals are NOT considered once the exam results have been issued to the candidates.

If an appeal is granted, you must notify the College and provide the appropriate documentation.

For more information about the exam, including policies and resources, please visit the CAOT website.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance with a sexual abuse therapy and counseling fund endorsement is mandatory for registration with the College. The requirements for professional liability insurance are set out in Part 19 of the College bylaws.

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The College has confirmed that the insurance coverage offered (as of January 14, 2021) by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) and AON Healthcare Advantage (Insurance Solutions for Occupational Therapists) meets the College requirements.

The College does not endorse any insurance provider. It is the is the responsibility of each occupational therapist (OT) to determine which insurance provider and policy best meets their needs. The above noted insurance providers are third parties and not affiliated with the College. The College provides this information so OTs are aware of policies that the College has confirmed meet the requirements of the bylaws.

Insurance may be purchased elsewhere, however, evidence that it meets the College's requirements must be sent to the College for review prior to acceptance.

Suitability to Practise

The purpose of the suitability to practise requirement includes the protection of the public, the maintenance of high ethical standards, and the maintenance of public confidence in the profession. 

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You will be required to answer a series of questions on the application about your suitability to practise occupational therapy. The questions pertain to:
occupational therapy practice;
practice of other professions;
bail conditions or restrictions; and,
your ability to practise occupational therapy safely and ethically.

Beginning April 1, 2017, applicants must submit a Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check as part of their application for registration for with the College – this also applies to current applicants who have not been issued registration by April 1, 2017. The College uses the results of the VS Check to verify information pertaining to offences; bail conditions or restrictions; and any other relevant conduct.

Please note, if you do not register within six months of the date the results were issued by the police, you will be required to submit an updated VS Check. Please see the following section of our website for full details: https://www.coto.org/memberservices/applicants/vulnerable-sector-checks.

If you hold (or have held) a license or registration to practise occupational therapy outside of Ontario, and/or if you hold (or have held) a license or registration to practise in a profession other than occupational therapy in Ontario or elsewhere, you need to complete a Regulatory History Form. Please forward the form to the appropriate organization and have them complete it and return it directly to the College.

If the Registrar has concerns about your ability to practice occupational therapy safely and ethically, your application will be referred to the Registration Committee for a review. For more information on the review process please refer to the Determining Suitability to Practise at Registration (8-72) policy.

Language Fluency
If your first language is English or French or your occupational therapy program was taught in English or French you have met the language fluency requirement, no further supporting documentation is required.

Work Eligibility

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.