Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand

I am studying to be an Occupational Therapist

Congratulations on becoming qualified. To practise in Aotearoa New Zealand, you need to become registered with us. It’s illegal to practise without registering and getting a practising certificate.

How to register

Individuals who have graduated from an accredited Aotearoa New Zealand occupational therapy programme and have never been registered with the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand may apply for registration as a New Zealand qualified New Graduate.

Accredited programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand are:

  • Bachelor of Health Science (Occupational Therapy). Auckland University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. Otago Polytechnic

To apply for registration you must:

  1. Complete an online application,
  2. Make the appropriate payment
  3. Scan and provide the required documents listed below. These may be emailed directly to the OTBNZ at enquiries@otboard.org.nz.

Required documentation

A checklist for the required documentation can be downloaded here.

All documentation must meet our documentation and translation requirements


You must provide two forms of identity documentation and evidence of any changes to your name. One of these must have a photograph. Acceptable forms of identification are:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Current Passport (current)
  • Driver’s Licence (current)
  • Aotearoa New Zealand Citizenship Certificate
  • Aotearoa New Zealand Certificate of Identity
  • Deed Poll Change and/or Marriage Licence
English Language

If English is not your first language, you will be required to provide a referee to attest to your ability to communicate effectively in English. This person should be your last clinical placement supervisor. The form for this is available on request from the OTBNZ office.

For more information please see the English language Policy.

Criminal history checks

You are required to declare any criminal convictions you may have and consent to a criminal history check in New Zealand. The form for this is available to download and complete here. You must sign the form in ink and scan it for return.

If you have lived in any other country since you were 18 for more than 6 months in the last 10 years you will also be required to apply and pay for an International Criminal History Check (ICHC) conducted online by Fit2work (international) or Fit2work (Australia). The cost for this can be estimated here. Further information about Criminal Conviction reports is available here.

If you have any convictions then we will ask for information to enable us to understand how this may impact your application. More information about this is available here.

Health information

You must declare any physical or mental health condition/s that may impact your ability to practice as an occupational therapist. We may ask for more information to enable us to understand how this may impact your application. More information about this is available here.

Previous registration

If you have been registered with any regulatory or disciplinary body either in Aotearoa New Zealand or overseas in the past you will need to upload a Certificate of Good Standing. You will also need to supply information about any complaints, investigations, or disciplinary action that may have been taken while you were registered/licensed.

Certificates of good standing must be no older than 6 months when processed by the OTBNZ.

Time since qualification

If you have not commenced practicing as an occupational therapist for more than 3 years following graduation you will need to demonstrate your competence to practice. This consists of:

  • Completion of a short online course
  • Demonstrating your understanding of the competencies in a written desktop competence assessment.
  • Providing a copy of your current curriculum vitae/resume detailing your work and study history. Please explain any gaps.

Practising certificate

You must be registered and hold a practising certificate before you can work as an occupational therapist in Aotearoa New Zealand. You may apply for a practicing certificate at the same time as your application from within your online application.

Application and practicing certificate fees

The application fee for registration as Aotearoa New Zealand graduate is NZD$230. Practicing certificates are NZD$500 for up to 12 months or NZD$190 for up to 3 months.

Payments may be made via credit card, either over the phone or by completing a payment form.

New Graduates who apply directly following completion of their course may be eligible for a rebate on their first practising certificate.

Processing time

You will be advised of the outcome of your application within 15 working days of receiving all relevant information. Missing or incorrect information may lead to a delay in your application being processed.

Please be aware that police checks may take several weeks to process.

Requirements for new graduates

Recertification programme participation

Recent New Zealand graduates are required under section 41 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act to complete the New Graduate recertification programme in the first year of practice.

It is your responsibility to arrange a supervisor, maintain a supervision log and apply for the completion of the programme within the appropriate time frame. For further information see the supervision section of our website.



When you commence practising, you are required to participate in the ePortfolio. This is an online platform that permits you to demonstrate continuing competence, goals and development activities, via the practitioner-only area of the website. Participation in the ePortfolio is a compulsory requirement while you are practising. For further information see the ePortfolio section of our website.

Last updated Feb 2021