Skip to main content

Occupational Therapist (OT)


Occupational Therapists support patients experiencing physical, developmental, or cognitive barriers to participating in activities of daily life. OTs assess patients’ abilities, develop customized interventions, and provide therapy to support individuals’ independence, productivity, and overall well-being.  

Steps to becoming an Occupational Therapist in Nova Scotia.

Step 1
Complete an Occupational Therapy program

You can study to become an Occupational Therapist through  various programs across Canada or locally at Dalhousie University. Although each program’s requirements may vary, Occupational Therapy is typically a two-year Master of Science program requiring an undergraduate degree.

Step 2
Complete on-the-job training

As part of your OT training, you will complete at least 1,000 hours of on-the-job training – outside of school.

Step 3
Register as an Occupational Therapist

If you completed your OT education in Canada, you could then register with the College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia (COTNS).

If you received your OT education outside of Canada, even if you are a Canadian citizen, you must first complete the Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS). Through the SEAS process, there will be a review of your credentials and various assessments. Once you have successfully demonstrated your credentials and abilities to the College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia (COTNS), you will be able to provisionally register as an OT.

Step 4
Pass the Occupational Therapy Exam

After you attain provincial registration, complete the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE). Successful completion of the exam will be required to become fully registered. 

If you are waiting to right your exam, you may obtain a provisional licence until your exam results are provided. Refer to the College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia (COTNS), for more information.