OT Association of Hawaii

Hawaii OT and COTA Licensing Information

If you are interested in finding out how to practice occupational therapy in Hawaii, here are some helpful links to get you started.

OT licenses are issued by the Department of Consumer and Customer Affairs office.  Links to getting the forms and proper documentation needed can be found through their website.

NBCOT OTR and COTA registration information can be found through their website.

Any OT or COTA licensed in Hawaii must be able attest to the CEU requirement of NBCOT (36 units) when applying.

15 comments on “Hawaii OT and COTA Licensing Information

  1. Sophie O'Keefe
    May 9, 2015

    I am a certified OT in Australia, I need to get certified in USA to apply for a E3 visa to practise in the United States, specifically Hawaii. Do I need to be registered with the national board as well as state of Hawaii?

    Kind Regards


  2. Joanne Samson
    July 27, 2015

    Aloha OTAH,
    My name is Joanne and I was wondering if someone would help me figure out the best way to get licensed in Hawaii (I was licensed in the state of Washington many years ago). It appears that I first need to get recertified from NBCOT, is this correct? If so, I have some questions regarding the recertification process. I was licensed as an OTR over 15 years ago but I have been out of the field for almost that long. Life threw me a few obstacles which steered me out of the OT field. For the last 11 years I have been a stay at home mom to my 2 wonderful children. My son has ADHD and my daughter was diagnosed with autism at 18 months. I have dedicated my life towards helping my children develop, grow and SHINE. This experience has reignited my passion for OT, specifically with children who have special needs. Last year I was approached by the, Student Services Coordinator, at my daughter’s school to work as a PPT or EA. I jumped at the opportunity. I ended up working as an EA substitute in the different SPED classrooms, preschool, K to 2nd, and 3rd-5th grade. It was an amazing, eye opening and challenging experience. I found myself reverting back to materials I learned from my OT studies and fieldwork. This experience has further fueled my interest in becoming an OTR so that I can help children with special needs.
    My goal is to become NBCOT certified and relicensed as an OT, with a focus on working with children. I hope to accomplish this in 1-3 years. My absence from OT has encouraged me to seek assistance from experienced, dedicated and passionate professionals in the field. This will help give me the knowledge needed to reenter the field prepared. Becoming recertified with NBCOT from a, noncompliant inactive status, I need to earn .36 PDU’s. What PDU’s would be most productive for me to take? There are a multitude of PDU’s that I feel are relevant toward my focus but I am overwhelmed on what particular courses would be the most effective. The next step in becoming recertified is to take the NBCOT self-assessment. My results show that I am “incompetent” in most areas due to my absence from the field. How do I become “competent”? Taking PDU courses is one way to become “competent”, however I feel mentorship in the school, clinic, and early intervention learning centers would also be extremely effective and necessary. Is there a proper process to follow when asking for a mentorship? I would like to find a mentor in the school system, who would I contact? Do you know of any OTR’s who are willing to be a mentor?
    These are just a few questions I have on becoming a licensed OT in Hawaii. I would truly appreciate any help from professionals in the field. I know my journey toward becoming an OTR will take a lot of hard work and dedication. As a mom with 2 children, balancing life is very challenging, any help I receive would assist me toward being more efficient and effective in attaining my goals. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you so much for your time.
    Joanne Samson

    • OT Joni
      July 28, 2015

      Hi Joanne,

      Your best bet is to get your NBCOT certification up to date since you can’t get your Hawaii license without it. Good luck.

  3. Trisha
    August 21, 2015

    any upcoming CE courses and/or conferences for 2016?

    • OT Joni
      September 21, 2015

      Please check back frequently for more details as we get them.

  4. OT Nicole
    January 17, 2018

    Is cupping within the OT scope of practice?

    • OT Joni
      January 27, 2018

      Based upon the guidelines for OTs to adopt evidence based practices, cupping does not appear to have application in practice.

  5. Katie
    May 28, 2019


    I am about to take my boards next month and have accepted a job in Hawaii starting July. Is there a way for me to speed up the process after my boards for applying for a license in Hawaii?

    Thank you!


    • OT Joni
      May 28, 2019

      Hi Katie,

      OTAH is not affiliated with the licensing process. You can contact the board directly with your questions. Mahalo.

  6. Shannon Armbrust
    June 1, 2019


    I am a Canadian occupational therapist with 21 years of experience

    I am wondering if it is possible for me to practise in Hawaii…I have a post graduate bachelors degree BHsc (they changed it to a masters about 2 yrs after I graduated. I am licensed by the Canadian Occupational Therapy Association.

    I was told that in order to practise in the states I had to write the national exam and this requires that
    I have completed a masters level degree…I am not sure if this is true but I called the licensing body myself

    Can you tell me if I am able to work in Hawaii?

  7. OT CTY
    May 8, 2021

    Hello, I’m a Hawaii licensed occupational therapist who is researching the necessary steps for starting an OTR program in Hawaii for a capstone project in an OTD program. Do you know if there are any other entities that have expressed similar interest or already have plans underway? Thank you.

  8. Annette DeRenzo
    May 12, 2021

    If you hold active OT licenses in other states do you need to send verifications from those states when applying for Hawaii OT license?

    • OT Joni
      May 13, 2021

      No, you need to have your NBCOT info.

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