How to Become an Occupational Therapist in Alberta

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Do you want to be an occupational therapist in Alberta? If you want to be an occupational therapist in Alberta, you need to know what requirements that you have to fulfill. Here, you are able to read about what you should do to be able to be an occupational therapist in Alberta.

Requirements to Become an Occupational Therapist in Alberta

Occupational Therapist thumbnailFirst, you need to know what an occupational therapist is. This is a profession where they have tasks to help people experiencing challenges because of illness, injury, disability or mental health, a change in function or barriers in the social and physical environment to make them able to take part in everyday activities.

According to the Alis Alberta site, if you want to be an occupational therapist, you need to have good people skills; the ability to be organized; excellent problem-solving skills; the ability to listen, speak and write well; the ability to work with little supervision; creativity; empathy and patience.

In addition, an occupational therapist also needs to be able to find creative ways to encounter challenges, work with people and take a step-by-step approach to their work.

How about education requirements for this job? According to the Alis Alberta site, if you want to be an occupational therapist, you need to complete an accredited occupational therapy program. Furthermore, it is explained that The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists will give academic accreditation only to OT programs that lead to a master’s degree in occupational therapy.

According to the CAOT site, occupational therapists are regulated health professions so that if you want to be an occupational therapist in Canada, including in Alberta, you have to make sure that you meet the registration requirements of a provincial regulatory organization in Canada.

To be an occupational therapist, you must graduate from university. Besides, you also have to complete a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised fieldwork experience (on the job training).

On the CAOT site, you are able to read that the accreditation standards which are assigned by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) approves the master’s degree in occupational therapy as the minimum educational requirement for entry-level education in Canada. CAOT recommends you to contact the individual university for information about admission requirements, course descriptions and curriculum.

Let’s say that you have completed the entry-level education. If so, you to the provincial regulatory organization in every province other than Quebec must successfully complete the National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam (NOTCE) since it is the requirement of registration.

However, in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, it is important to note that occupational therapists are not a regulated health profession for now so that completing the NOTCE to practice in the Territories is not required for them.

On the Alis Alberta site, you are able to read that University of Alberta: Master of Science – Occupational Therapy is one of the schools which offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. There are also several schools which have programs and courses that are related to this occupation. However, they are not required to get into the field. Those are Southern Alberta Institute of Technology – Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant – Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Assistant, University of Alberta – Master of Science – Physical Therapy, Bow Valley College – Disability Studies Diploma, and University of Calgary – Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation – Community Rehabilitation.

Certification Requirements for Becoming Occupational Therapists

As explained on Alis Alberta site, occupational therapists allow people who experience challenges because of a change in function, impairment of body structure, or barriers in the social and physical environment to be able to take part in the activities of everyday life.

It is also explained on that site that under Alberta’s Health Profession Act and Occupational Therapists Profession Regulation, the ones who may call themselves occupational therapists are only members of the Alberta college of Occupational Therapists (ACOT) who are regulated. Members who are regulated provide health services listed in Schedule 15 of the Health Profession Act.

For registration, you are required to successfully complete an approved occupational  therapy degree program. You also need to complete 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and also an approved certification examination. If you have been out of practice for a period of time, you need to demonstrate that you are currently competent to practice. If you want to get detailed information about registration requirements, it is recommended for you to visit the ACOT website or you are able to contact ACOT.

The Registration Requirements Needed for Internationally Educated Occupational Therapists

According to the Directions for Immigrants in Trades and Professional Careers site, in Alberta, you need to be registered with the Alberta College of Occupational Therapists (ACOT) if you want to practice as an Occupational Therapist. As explained earlier, only registered members may call themselves Registered Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapists or use the acronym OT.

Now, how about the registration requirements for internationally educated Occupational Therapists? As also explained on the Directions for Immigrants in Trades and Professional Careers site, here are the registration requirements for internationally educated Occupational Therapists.

  • You need to apply to the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO).
  • You must complete ACOTRO’s Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS).
    • You need to submit an Academic Credential Assessment (ASA) from World Education Services (WES).
    • You need to complete a Profession-Specific Credential Assessment – (PSCA).
    • You need to write and pass the Jurisprudence Knowledge Assessment Test.
    • You need to complete and pass the Competency Assessment.
    • You need to demonstrate language proficiency as determined by the provincial association where you intend to work, for Alberta, view the English Language Proficiency tab on the ACOT website.
  • You need to write and pass the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination.
  • After you get approval, then you need to register with the Alberta College of Occupational Therapists (ACOT). It is important to note that you have one year in which to complete the whole process.
  • After approval by ACOT, then you will be registered as a Provisional Occupational Therapist. If you become an occupational therapist on the Provisional Register, you may practice only under the supervision of a regulated member registered on the General Register. It is required to have a minimum of eight weeks of full-time practice or equivalent after which the Supervising Occupational Therapist will submit an evaluation to ACOT.
  • After you complete the supervisory period and complete the national certification exam and complete any coursework or training requirements successfully, you will be registered as a Registered Occupational Therapist.

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