We get lots of questions about the practice of Occupational Therapy
and what TOTA does every day. Here are a few of the more common questions:
• What is occupational therapy?
• What do occupational therapists do?
• What about the training?
• Where do occupational therapists practice?
• How much do occupational therapists make?
• Does TOTA issue licenses for OTRs
• Is continuing education required in
• How are continuing education courses
pre-approved in Texas?
• How can I contact TOTA?
• What does TOTA do?
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a method of treatment that uses purposeful occupations, those
things that we do everyday in life, to return individuals with disability to
function. The American Occupational Therapy Association has a motto that expresses
OT well: OT: Skills for the Job of Living
What do occupational therapists do?
Occupational therapists work with individuals who have been disabled by injury,
illness, disease processes, developmental delay, or through the aging process.
Disabilities can be physical or mental. Occupational therapists work with
a variety of patients throughout the age spectrum. In the past, occupational
therapy has been ordered through a physician. However, thanks to our efforts
in the 1999 Texas Legislative Session, OTs my now accept referrals from all
licensed health care providers. People in early intervention programs, schools,
work sites, and other community sites like sheltered workshops or adult day
care may access occupational therapy without a physician referral if there
is no acute or active medical situation. These programs may have some other
decision-making committee or body that helps determine the need for OT services,
but in some cases there is direct access. If the clients wish their health
insurance to reimburse them for services, the insurance company may require
a physician referral, but it is not a legal requirement if their condition
Here are some examples of the broad spectrum of OT care:
Through occupational therapy older adults learn to:
- Adapt to changes brought about by aging, such as decreased energy
- Safely perform routine activities such as dressing and cooking
- Increase physical strength and endurance to maintain self-sufficiency
- Identify community resources such as senior centers and stoke
- Cope with the losses of aging such as the death of a spouse or
- Adapt the home for safety and efficiency
- Recognize and counteract depression
Occupational therapy is important for children with:
- Developmental delay
- Muscular dystrophy
- Developmental disabilities, including mental retardation, spina
bifida, and cerebral palsy
- Sensory integrative dysfunction
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and related disorders
- Learning disabilities, including dyslexia
- Delayed or impaired motor development
- Orthopedic disabilities, traumatic injuries, burn, and amputations
- Emotional disturbances, behavioral problems, autism, phobic behaviors,
psychotic illness, and attention deficit disorders
- Terminal illnesses
Occupational therapy is important for adults with problems related
The Bureau of Labor
Statistics has an excellent and comprehensive explanation of
what OT is and what OT practitioners do. This includes projections
about the future of the profession and salary information.
- Work injuries, including amputation, hand trauma, and burns
- Cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction and peripheral
- Mental health problems, including stress reactions, drug and alcohol
abuse, depression, and schizophrenia
- Neurological dysfunction, including brain tumors, multiple sclerosis,
What about the training?
The occupational therapist must graduate from an accredited program and complete
6-9 months of supervised clinical experience. Texas
The occupational therapy assistant completes an accredited associate
degree program and at least 12 weeks of supervised fieldwork experience. Texas
Following the completion of course and clinical work, the therapist
or assistant must pass a national certification examination to become
a designated OTR or COTA. In addition, states regulate occupational
therapy through licensure and continuing educational requirements.
Where do occupational therapists practice?
Occupational therapists may be employed in various settings. Many are in general
and rehabilitation hospitals, medical offices, clinics, public and private
schools, nursing homes, mental health centers, community centers, and in
How much do occupational therapists make?
See the above-referenced Bureau
of Labor Statistics web page regarding occupational therapy. Additonally,
there are several helpful salary resources listed on the Links page
of this web site.
Does TOTA issue licenses for OTRs and COTAs?
No. Occupational therapy licenses are issued by the Texas
Board of OT Examiners (TBOTE). TBOTE is a state agency and all OT
professionals must be licensed to practice in Texas. For further information
about obtaining or renewing (or any information about licensure) in Texas,
Phone number: (512) 305-6900
Fax number: (512) 305-6970
Is continuing education required in Texas?
Thirty (30) hours of continuing education are required every two years to maintain
licensure in Texas - 15 hours of which must be type 2 education. For a complete
explanation of type 1 and type 2 courses, check the Texas
Board of OT Examiners' web site.
How are continuing education courses pre-approved
In January of 2003, TOTA instituted an Approved Provider Program in coordination
with the Texas licensing board. All continuing education courses offered by
TOTA Approved Providers are considered to be pre-approved by the Texas Board
of OT Examiners. If you have any questions regarding the process of becoming
an approved provider, contact Mary Hennigan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I contact TOTA?
The address, phone and fax numbers are at the bottom of this page, and you
can contact the TOTA office via e-mail. Executive
Director Mary Hennigan can be reached
via this link. Vendor Services Coordinator Vicki Mason can be reached by
email at VendorServices@tota.org.
Member Services Coordinator Debbie Mincher can be reached by email at email@example.com.
What does TOTA do?
For a list of membership benefits, see Membership.