5 Things You Must Know About The NBCOT Process

Recently I was asked to take part in a Q & A session with a new graduate occupational therapists about the NBCOT and here are some of the questions that came up.

Considering I was just in school, it’s interesting being on the opposite end of the spectrum. I decided to create a series of articles discussing the hottest topics and then adding some of my personal experience as icing on the cake.

Can you explain the process of signing up for the NBCOT?

The process for signing up to take the NBCOT is not difficult, but it should be clearly understood. Here are five steps that break down the process.

Step 1: Create an account on MyNBCOT

Here is the link to create your account.

Once you created this account, you will need to complete the online application process for taking the exam. Make sure you reserve enough time to finish the application because it cannot be saved and resumes at a later date.

Step 2: Determine if you are eligible to take the exam

Here is your checklist!

  • Graduated an accredited/approved Entry-level Masters or Doctoral occupational therapy program
  • Completed the required fieldwork
  • Submitted an official transcript with graduation date and degree earned or submitted an NBCOT Academic Credential Verification Form (ACVF)
  • Abide by the NBCOT Code of Practice Standards in addition to the NBCOT Code of Conduct
Only students who have a period between completion of the program and the official graduation date will need to complete an ACVF

Step 3: Submit your academic verification documents

This will either be your official transcript or the ACVF form.

The ACVF form is to be submitted no more than 6 month prior to graduating an entry level masters degree programs and 12 months prior to the anticipated graduation date from an entry-level doctoral program

Step 4: Wait for the Authorization to Test (ATT) Letter

This is the most nerve racking for sure.

The ATT is what allows you to sign up at a Prometric’s testing center. Now, an ATT is only valid for 90 days before having to request to reactivate your ATT.

Step 5: Scheduling your NBCOT exam, after receiving your ATT

Think about when the best time frame and time of day to take the NBCOT.

At this point in the process, you know how much time you will be setting aside to study for the NBCOT.

For me, I took eight weeks, and this allowed enough time to take several practice exams and go over any material I didn’t know well. When considering the time of day to take the exam, think of when you get the best studying done.

Also, reflect on the time of day when you the best mental capability, after all, the NBCOT a 4- hour exam. If the closest testing center does not have good time availability for you, look at another location.

Closing Thoughts

I found the NBCOT Certification Handbook to be useful when learning about the NBCOT.

I found the NBCOT Certification Handbook to be useful when learning about the NBCOT. Click to Tweet

I would refer to this guide before creating a MyNBCOT and as well as learn more about the ACVF since I had a seven-week waiting period between finishing my program and graduating. Also, NBCOT provides a Procedure Checklist making sure you have all your bases covered when signing up for your exam.

Make sure you check back for additional questions that were asked during the Q & A session. If you have a question you want to be answered about the NBCOT, feel free to ask in the comments.

About Matthew Alpert, OTR/L

Matthew Alpert, OTR/L
Graduate of Touro College currently practicing as an Occupational therapist at C.J. Allen Upper Extremity & Hand Therapy and educating young minds as Adjunct faculty at Nassau Community College.


  1. Matthew Geller

    Hey Matt, how long does it take to get your grade from the exam? Is it instant? Thanks!

    • Matthew Alpert, OTR/L

      Hey Matt,

      The grading cycle is based on an NBCOT calendar and changes frequently! NBCOT has the calendar posted online and the New Grad will need to take the exam 3 days prior to the grade release date to receive it on the desired grade release date. In prior years grades were released on Thursday mornings and the New Grad would need to take the exam by Monday in order to get their grade that upcoming Thursday.

      Here is the current 2016 NBCOT grade Release Calendar: http://www.nbcot.org/pdf/2016-scoring-calendar-pdf

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