North Dakota is the 19th most extensive, but it is also the 4th least populous state out of the 50 states of the United States of America. Because of the less population, there are not many job opportunities in the state for the occupational therapy aides, assistants, or therapists. According to the BLS, the average annual and hourly income of occupational therapy professionals in North Dakota was $65,110 and $31.30 (in May 2015), respectively (1). Procedure of the licensure of these professionals is controlled by the state licensing body named as North Dakota State Board of Occupational Therapy Practice. The authorities may take some weeks or months to issue the license, after completely reviewing all the documents and transcripts.

Occupational therapy schools in North Dakota offers courses for all the job titles related to the occupational therapy including bachelor’s, master’s, associates’, doctorate’s and dual degree courses. These schools provide courses that comprise not only theoretical knowledge about occupational therapy but also the practical field work. Candidates who are already working as occupational therapists and are a graduate in the same field can finish off the master’s degree in 1 or 2 years. If someone holds bachelor’s degree in some other stream, then s/he will obtain the same degree in 2 or 3 years. Any student who wants to gain both bachelor’s as well as master’s degree in 5 years, can opt for the dual degree course. Before choosing a school, one should confirm about its accreditation (must be Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) or American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) approved), past reputation and the number of students enrolled in it in the last five years.

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

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Approved Occupational Therapy Schools in North Dakota

  • University of Mary
    Address – 7500 University Drive, Bismarck, ND 58504
  • University of North Dakota
    Address – 264 Centennial Drive, Stop 7144, Grand Forks, ND 58202
  • North Dakota State College of Science
    Address – 800 6th Street North Wahpeton, ND 58076

Stepwise Procedure to Become an Occupational Therapist in North Dakota

According to the data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 420 employed and licensed occupational therapists in North Dakota in May 2015 (2). All the states in the United States have almost the same procedure to gain the licensure as an occupational therapist, but some conditions may differ with the place as licensing bodies are distinct in every state. Thus, in North Dakota, the North Dakota State Board of Occupational Therapy Practice handles the responsibility of issuing the license to all the professionals of occupational therapy. The board issues license at two levels, one for occupational therapy assistants and other is for the occupational therapists. You can apply for a temporary license while waiting to sit for the exam of a permanent one, but you need to work under the guidance of a licensed occupational therapist who has at least a year of licensure with the state. Follow the steps given below, in order to become a registered occupational therapist in the state of North Dakota.

Step 1 – Graduation from an Accredited School of Occupational Therapy

The most basic requisite to get licensure as an occupational therapist in a state is graduation from an ACOTE or AOTA approved school, college or university. You must possess a bachelor’s, master’s or a dual degree to apply for the license. There are two schools in North Dakota that offer the necessary degrees to become an occupational therapist. For the primary information about the colleges that provide education for occupational therapy in the state, you can refer to the list given in this article.

Step 2 – Complete the Internship or Practicum

Practical program is equally important as theoretical knowledge for the students of occupational therapy, as it enhances their ability to serve the patients going through any physical, mental or emotional disability. Thus, it is one of the prime conditions of most of licensing bodies for licensure. In North Dakota, if someone wants to become a registered occupational therapist, then s/he has to complete at least 6 months of internship or practicum, under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist in a clinical setting.

Step 3 – Pass the National Certification Exam

On passing the national certification exam, aspirants of occupational therapy can work anywhere across the United States as medical professionals. It is a crucial requirement to pass it in order to gain a license as an occupational therapist in North Dakota. This exam is named as Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). It is offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). In order to qualify the exam, you have to score a minimum of 450 marks.

Step 4 – Application for the State License

Once you have passed the national certification exam, you can apply for the license from the licensing body. For this, you need to submit a completely filled and properly signed application form with the licensing fee of $150, and the application fee of $50 in the form of a money order or check to the board. Along with this, you also need to provide the transcripts from all the past schools you have attended so far, verification of certification from the NBCOT and the verification of licensure from all the past states where you have practiced till date to the authorities. They may take few weeks to review your documents and transcripts and issue the license.

Step 5 – Maintenance of the Licensure

Maintenance of the licensure is as important as to gain it from the licensing body. In order to renew it in the state of North Dakota, you need to complete 20 continuing education competency contact hours within the period of your licensure. After the license renewal, you can continue working as a registered occupational therapist without any kind of intrusion.

Salary of Occupational Therapists in North Dakota

As per, the salary of an occupational therapist in North Dakota was $77,000 as of May 5, 2016 (3).

Average Salary of Professionals with Similar Job Titles

Occupational Therapist Outpatient$77,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric Outpatient$77,000
Occupational Therapist Home Health$84,000
Outpatient Occupational Therapist$85,000
Occupational Therapist Rehab$77,000
Occupational Therapist Pediatric$77,000
Occupational Therapist Hand$82,000
Occupational Therapist Skilled$77,000
Occupational Therapist Psych$77,000
Occupational Therapist School$76,000
Occupational Therapist Occupational Therapy$77,000
Occupational Therapist Rotation$45,000
OT Occupational Therapy$91,000
OT Occupational Therapist Therapy$90,000
Occupational Therapist Acute$77,000

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 North Dakota at $91,000, while the lowest is of Occupational Therapy Rotation at $45,000.

Annual Median Salaries of OTs in Different Cities of North Dakota

Name of the CityAnnual Median Salary
Grand Forks$62,190
West Fargo$76,584

Information Source:

From the table above, we can conclude that wage of an occupational therapist, among the different cities of North Dakota is highest in Fargo and West Fargo at $76,584 and lowest in Grand Forks at $62,190 as on April 26, 2016 (4).