I am studying to be an Occupational Therapist

Congratulations on becoming qualified.

You’ll need to register with us and get your first annual Practising Certificate before you begin your professional career as an occupational therapist.

On this page you’ll find information on:

To practise in Aotearoa New Zealand you need to become registered with us. It’s illegal to practise without registering.

If you want to register because you’re considering moving from overseas or are a returning registered occupational therapist in Aotearoa New Zealand see:

I am an overseas practitioner

I am a practitioner

If you have questions about registration please contact us. 

Steps to registration

There are 5 steps to registration:

  • read about our requirements
  • complete the forms for registration
  • send us your registration fee
  • send any supporting documents
  • we assess you for registration.

1. Read about our requirements

Registration Policy for Recent New Zealand Graduates (DOC, 296KB, 6 pages)

Our policy on registering New Zealand Graduates.

Registration Information for Recent New Zealand Graduates (DOC , 274KB, 10 pages)
If you’ve graduated in the last 12 months or less, this is the information you need to register.

Checklist for New Zealand Graduates when Applying for Registration and a Practising Certificate
(Doc, 18KB, 2 pages)
A checklist to help you when registering and applying for your first Practising Certificate as a New Graduate in Aotearoa New Zealand

Qualifications for Registration (PDF, 315KB, 14 pages)
The qualifications you must hold to register.

Requirements for Certifying Documents (DOC, 57.5KB, 1 page)
Documents you need to have certified, why you need to do this, and who you can get this done by.

Applying for registration 12 months or more after graduating

Registration Information for New Zealand Graduates applying more than 12 months after graduation (DOC, 258KB, 11 pages)
If you’ve waited 12 months or more after graduating in New Zealand, this is the information you need to register.

Registration Policy for Aotearoa New Zealand graduates applying for registration more than 12 Months following graduation (Doc, 536KB, 6 pages)
Our policy for Aotearoa New Zealand graduates applying for registration more than 12 months after graduation.

Checklist for New Zealand Graduates registering twelve months after graduation (Doc, 17KB, 2 pages)
A checklist to help you when applying for your practising certificate.

2. Complete the forms for registration

myOTBNZ
You can register online through this portal.

Request for Criminal Conviction History – Third Party (PDF, 1MB, 5 pages)
You will need to complete this form and return it to us when you are registering with us.

3. Send us your registration fee

Our Fees 
A list of our fees including the fee for registration.

4.  We assess you for registration

Assessment of Fitness, Qualifications and Competence for Registration (DOC, 294KB, 2 pages)
Information on how we assess your application for registration.

Fitness Policy (PDF, 369KB, 7 pages)
Policy for assessing of fitness for registration and renewal of your practising certificate.

How to receive your first Practising Certificate

To practise in Aotearoa New Zealand you need a current Practising Certificate. It’s illegal to practise without one. If you apply for registration between the end of the final year of your programme and 31 March of the following year we’ll issue your first Practising Certificate free along with your registration.  However, you still need to apply for your first Practising Certificate when you apply for registration. Every year after that, you must renew your practising certificate if you are practising.

If you are applying for your first Practising Certificate and commencing to practice twelve months after registering please read:

Policy for Registered Practitioners Who Have Not Commenced Practising 12 Months After Registration (DOC, 308KB, 10 pages)

Information for Registered Practitioners who have not Commenced Practising 12 months After Registration (DOC, 271KB, 11 pages)
Information to help you gain your first Practising Certificate if you apply 12 months or more after registering.

Checklist for New Zealand graduates applying for a Practising Certificate 12 months after Registration (Doc, 17KB, 2 pages)
A checklist to help you when you apply for your first practising certificate twelve months after you register.

Practising Certificates are valid from 1 April to 31 March.  Each year, we notify all registered practitioners when we open the renewal process. We do this by email, so be sure your information (including your contact details and preferred email address are) is current in myOTBNZ.

Steps to receive your first Practising Certificate

There are 2 steps to receive your first Annual Practising Certificate:

  1. Read about our requirements
  2. Complete the online form

1. Read about our requirements

As a new Graduate, we believe you’re competent to practise at graduation. We don’t start assessing competence until the following year, when you apply for your next Annual Practising Certificate. You’re expected to maintain your competence and record how you do this by using our ePortfolio tool.

ePortfolio tool
Our tool for you to record your professional development against our competencies. You can access ePortfolio through your myOTBNZ account.

ePortfolio handbook (PDF, 5.9MB, 34 Pages)
A guide to help you use e-Portfolio to your best advantage.

Policy for Renewing a Practising Certificate (PDF, 235KB, 5 pages)
Our policy on renewing your practising certificate  each year and receiving an annual Practising Certificate.

Policy on When Registration and Practising Certificate are Required (PDF, 715KB,10 pages)
Our policy on your requirements to be registered and hold a Practising Certificate when practising.

Fitness Policy (PDF, 369KB, 7 pages)
Policy to efficiently and consistently assess registration in regards to fitness.

2. Complete the online form

myOtbnz
Our online tool to apply for a Practising Certificate.

We’ve created a range of publications to help you provide a safe working environment and safe relationships for you, your co-workers and consumers. This section has some of the publications you’ll need.

Our documents page holds all our current policies, guidelines and forms.

General Scope of Practice (DOC, 308KB, 1 page)
The definition of Scope you work under as an occupational therapist and the qualifications you must have.

Guidelines for Social Media and Electronic Communication (PDF, 756KB, 7 pages)

Information and guidance on maintaining privacy when using social media and electronic communication.

Position Statement: Practice Boundaries for Occupational Therapists (PDF, 302KB, 5 pages)
Our position on providing services beyond the general Scope of Practice.

Practice Boundaries for Occupational Therapists – A Guide for Practitioners (PDF, 302KB, 11 pages)
Information and guidance on maintaining a professional relationship with your clients.

Professional Boundaries for Occupational Therapists (PDF, 810KB, 20 pages)
An Occupational Therapist’s guide to the importance of professional boundaries.

Policy for the use of Occupational Therapy Qualifications and or Titles (DOC, 279KB, 3 pages)
Our policy on when you can use the qualifications and/or titles of occupational therapy.

Policy for Renewing Practising Certificates ( PDF, 232 KB, 5 pages)
Our policy for when you need to be registered and have a current practising certificate.

Competencies Poster (PDF, 544KB, 2 Pages)
A useful reference  for the current 5 competency areas.

We require all occupational therapists to receive supervision. You’ll require weekly supervision from a registered occupational therapist for 12 months once you’re registered.

Supervision is also required if you have a condition on your Scope of Practice (as laid out in the Health Practitioner Competence Assurance Act 2003). The frequency and length of your supervision depends on why you’re being supervised.

If you’re being supervised

Supervision Requirements for Occupational Therapists (PDF, 971KB, 16 pages)

Guide on supervision requirements for occupational therapists.

Quick Guide to Supervision (PDF, 124KB, 2 pages )

The key information you need to know about supervision.

Available Supervisors (DOC, 279KB, 1pages) 
A list of supervisors you may wish to use.

Removing conditions from your Scope

Supervision Requirements for Occupational Therapists (PDF, 971KB, 16 pages)

Guide on supervision requirements for occupational therapists

Example of Supervison Log (DOC, 41KB, 1 page)
An example of the records that should be kept as part of supervision

Competencies

We’re responsible for setting standards of clinical competence, cultural competence, and ethical conduct (under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003). To be registered, you must demonstrate threshold competence in each competency area. Once you’re registered and practising, you need to maintain the required standard of competence to obtain a current Practising Certificate. Your growth and development is recorded in our online platform: ePortfolio.

How we assess your competency and fitness

Assessment of Fitness, Qualifications and Competence for Registration (DOC, 294KB, 2 pages)
Information on how we assess your application for registration.

Competencies for Registration and Continuing Practise (PDF,  550KB, 12 pages)
Information on the five key areas you need to remain competent in, what is expected from you and how to demonstrate your competency.

Fitness Policy (PDF, 369KB, 7 pages)
Policy to efficiently and consistently assess registration in regards to fitness.

Where to go to improve your cultural competency

www.mauriora.co.nz (external website for cultural awareness training)
The provider of our approved cultural competence course.

Code of Ethics

You’re expected to practise to the standard of conduct laid out in our Code of Ethics. Our ethics protect the safety of consumers and your integrity as an occupational therapist.

Code of Ethics (PDF,  649KB, 12 pages)
The ethical standards occupational therapists must adhere to.

Occupational Therapy New Zealand Whakaora Ngangahau Aotearoa
Join the New Zealand Association for Occupational Therapists.

Ministry of Justice – criminal records
Find out more about criminal convictions and Police reporting from our Justice Department.

myOTBNZ user guide (PDF,360KB, 5 pages)
How to use myOtbnz for practitioners.

ePortfolio handbook (PDF, 5.9MB, 34 Pages)
A guide to help you use e-Portfolio to your best advantage.

Competencies Poster (PDF, 544KB, 2 Pages)
A useful reference to  for the current 5 competency areas.

Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003
The statutory law we must adhere to.

Health and Disability Commissioner

Ministry of Health

Mauriora Health Education
Mauriora Health Education offers the Foundation Course in Cultural Competency (Maori) necessary for competence assessment.

OTBNZ | Code of Ethics (Video, 3:05)
This video covers the Code of Ethics for Occupational Therapists in Aotearoa New Zealand.

OTBNZ | ePortfolio (Video, 6:36)
This video provides an overview of the online tool you will use to record your professional development.

OTBNZ | Competencies (Video, 7:36)
This video provides an overview of the competencies for continuing registration.