New Mexico is the 5th most extensive and the 36th most populous state in the United States of America. Large population and high salary are two important factors that make the aspirants of occupational therapy to choose this place to pursue their career. According to the BLS, the average annual and hourly income of occupational therapy professionals in New Mexico was $79,410 and $38.18 (in May 2015), respectively (1). In this state, the New Mexico Board of Examiners for Occupational Therapy is responsible for the license of occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapists. The board may take several weeks to review the qualifications and documents to issue the license.

Occupational therapy schools in New Mexico make the students ready to serve best as occupational therapy professionals at different levels including bachelor’s, master’s, associates’ and dual degree courses. These schools prepare the students not only theoretically but also practically. Candidates who are graduate in occupational therapy and are already working as a therapist can complete the post graduation course in 1 or 2 years. Whereas, those who are graduates in some other stream usually gain the same degree in 2 or 3 years. Dual degree is often opted by the students who want to obtain both bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously in 5 years. Before opting a school for enrollment in a course, candidates must be aware of its accreditation (it should be Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) or American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) approved), past reputation and the number of students enrolled in the school for last 5 years.

For more information about the accredited schools, procedure to become an OT and the salary figures in different cities of the state of New Mexico, read below:

Approved Occupational Therapy Schools in New Mexico

  • Eastern New Mexico University
    Address – P.O. BOX 6000, Roswell, NM 88202-6000
  • The University of New Mexico
    Address – Albuquerque, NM 87131
  • Western New Mexico University
    Address – P.O. Box No. 680, Silver City, NM 88062
  • Brown Mackie College- Albuquerque Campus
    Address – 10500 Copper Avenue, NorthEast Albuquerque, NM 87123
    Contact No. – 505-559-5200
    Official Website

Stepwise Procedure to Become an Occupational Therapist in New Mexico

According to the data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 670 employed and licensed occupational therapists in New Mexico in May 2015 (2). Good opportunities for jobs related to the occupational therapy in the state of New Mexico makes it a suitable place to foresee a great career in this field. Procedures for the license for different job titles of occupational therapy are almost similar in all the states of the United States, but some conditions may differ with the place. In New Mexico, the whole process related to the license is undertaken by the New Mexico Board of Examiners for Occupational Therapy. Here, a license is issued at two levels, one is for occupational therapy assistants and other is for the occupational therapists. While waiting to sit for the exam of a permanent license, you can apply for a temporary one. But, for this, it is essential to work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist who holds a licensure with the state for at least one year. If you want to practice as occupational therapist in New Mexico and gain the licensure, go through the procedure given below:

Step 1 – Graduation from an Accredited School of Occupational Therapy

The first step towards gaining a license as a registered occupational therapist in New Mexico is to become a graduate with bachelor’s, master’s or dual degree course from an ACOTE or AOTA approved school, college or university. There are two schools in New Mexico that offer programs to the students to become an occupational therapist. For the primary information about the colleges related to occupational therapy in the state, you can refer to the list provided in this article.

Step 2 – Complete the Internship or Practicum

Practical program is a crucial part of the coursework of every degree or course, as it enhances the knowledge of the students about the work they have to do as an OT later; by practicing it now in a live clinical environment. Thus, it is one of the most important requirements for licensure as an occupational therapist in the state. To gain a license as a registered occupational therapist in the state, one has to complete 6 months of program under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist in a clinical setting.

Step 3 – Pass the National Certification Exam

License seekers for occupational therapist in the state of New Mexico has to clear a national certification exam. On passing this exam, they can work as an OT anywhere across the United States. This exam is named as Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) exam and is offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). To qualify it, one has to score at least 450 marks.

Step 4 – Take the State Juriprudence Exam and Apply for the State License in New Mexico

After completing all the other formalities, candidates need to apply for licensure to the licensing body. But according to the demands of the licensing body in the state, candidates need to pass the juriprudence exam. It is an open book exam with ten questions that must be passed by the applicants of licensure. After clearing this, you need to submit a completely filled and properly signed application form with an application fee of $110 in the form of money order of check. In addition to this, submission of the transcripts from all the past schools you have attended so far, vertification of certification from the NBCOT and verification of licensure from all the past states where you have practiced till date is also important. For Issuance of the license, authorities may take some weeks or months, for proper verification of the documents and other transcripts.

Step 5 – Maintenance of the Licensure

It is a must for the professionals to maintain their license. To renew it in New Mexico, they have to complete 20 continuing education contact hours within each year of the licensure. After the license renewal, you can continue working as a registered occupational therapist without any interference by the board.

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Salary of Occupational Therapists in New Mexico

As per the salary of an occupational therapist in New Mexico was $75,000 as of May 4, 2016 (3).

Average Salary of OT Professionals with Similar Job Titles

Occupational Therapist Home Health$83,000
Occupational Therapist Occupational Therapy$75,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric Outpatient$75,000
Occupational Therapist Skilled$75,000
Occupational Therapist Hand$81,000
Outpatient Occupational Therapist$83,000
Occupational Therapist Rehab$75,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric$75,000
Occupational Therapist Rotation$44,000
Occupational Therapist Psych$75,000
Occupational Therapist School$75,000
Occupational Therapist Outpatient$75,000
Occupational Therapist Acute$75,000
OT Occupational Therapy$89,000
OT Occupational Therapist Therapy$88,000

Information Source:

From the table above, we can analyze that the wage of OT Occupational Therapy is highest among all the related jobs titles of occupational therapy in New Mexico at $89,000, while lowest is of Occupational Therapy Rotation at $44,000.

Annual Median Salaries of OTs in Different Cities of New Mexico

Name of the CityAnnual Median Salary
Las Cruces$64,568
Rio Rancho$74,537
Santa Fe$72,174
Sunland Park$68,088

Information Source: (as on April 26, 2016)

From the table above, we can conclude that wage of an occupational therapist, among the different cities of New Mexico is highest in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho at $74,537 and lowest is in Alamogordo and Roswell at $61,615 (4).