National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE) 

What is the NOTCE?

The National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE) assesses the written application of academic knowledge and professional behaviour of individuals entering the occupational therapy profession in Canada. Successful completion of the NOTCE is a registration requirement for regulatory organizations (excluding Quebec).

Each province has a provincial regulatory organization responsible for regulating the practice of occupational therapy. Please contact the regulatory organization for the province in which you wish to work to obtain its specific requirements.

Successful completion of the NOTCE does not allow you to practice in the US or internationally without meeting that country’s requirements.

It is strongly recommended that you read the NOTCE Resource Manual to learn about the development of the exam, view the blueprint and obtain a list of helpful resources to prepare for the exam. NOTCE study resources are available and designed for different learning styles.

Further details about the NOTCE can be found on the general information page and by reviewing the NOTCE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Eligibility to write the exam

Canadian graduates

As a Canadian graduate of an approved occupational therapy education program, you are eligible to write the NOTCE. You need:
  • To register for the exam, and
  • Proof of program completion from your university. Confirmation letters are provided to CAOT automatically from your university and state that you have completed all of the requirements of your program.
  • Candidates who have successfully completed an accredited occupational therapy program at a Canadian university more than two years before the date of the exam or have failed a previous exam will be deemed eligible to write the examination upon CAOT receiving confirmation in writing, directly from a provincial regulatory organization, that the candidate is eligible to write the examination.
  • Post-professional programs/degrees offered at certain Canadian universities do not qualify under this criterion.  Only approved entry-level master’s degree programs at Canadian universities apply.
Additional notes:
  • You may register for the exam prior to your completion date of your program. The Confirmation Letter from your university must be received before the exam day for you to be eligible to write.
  • If you need adaptations to write the exam, testing accommodation requests will be reviewed/accepted subject to the Testing Accommodations Policy Document. 
  • You may choose to work as an OT under supervision prior to writing the exam. The provincial regulatory organizations oversee provisional licensing and may request proof of your eligibility to write the NOTCE before issuing a provisional licence. This proof comes from CAOT. You may need to complete a Statement of Candidacy Request Form and submit it to CAOT. A NOTCE registration form and proof of program completion from your University are also required.

Please contact the Exam and Accreditation Officer for further information.

Internationally Educated Occupational Therapists

There is no reciprocity amongst countries with regard to the exam. Internationally Educated Occupational Therapist (IEOT) applicants must first have their credentials assessed before they can apply to be registered provincially and register to write the NOTCE. IEOTs must confirm eligibility to write the examination for each exam sitting. 

The assessment process is called Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS) and is administered by the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO)

CAOT provides information and resources for IEOTs related to a potential move to Canada.

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