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Facts About Licensure
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What is This DSPS Survey About?

The Department of Safety and Professional Services has been asked to review all professional licenses in the State of Wisconsin. Based on this review, they will recommend keeping some licenses and eliminating others. The survey is intended as a tool to help DSPS make their recommendation. WOTA strongly encourages OTs and OTAs to indicate the need for a professional license. In addition, there has never been a better time to join WOTA, and maintain a united voice for Wisconsin's Occupational Therapy Profession.


Why Do OTs and OTAs Need to be Licensed?

Professions are regulated because the kinds of services they provide have the potential to harm the public. Licensure provides a way to ensure that all practitioners have proper training, and it creates a way to monitor the safety of the profession. Medicare and many private insurance companies also require a license, in order to reimburse for services. Having a license allows OTs and OTAs to be paid for their services!

Can OTs and OTAs Do Harm?

Yes. Harm can occur when therapy services are not done in a professional and trained manner. Examples of harm done have included:


  • A classroom aide took a child with Rett Syndrome who was in a sensory program with the OT and she spun the child on a scooterboard (looks like a small skateboard) and the child stopped breathing.  Her central nervous system was too over stimulated by the spinning and it shut down. 
  • A practitioner used both paraffin and hot packs on a hand with peripheral neuropathy and caused severe burns that caused person to have two fingers amputated. 
  • Other physical, emotional, financial, and sexual misconduct have been reported.

Having a professional license program protects patients from harm, and ensures the safety of OT services.


Are the Exams and CEU Requirements a Barrier to Practice?

No!  OTs and OTAs rely on their ongoing training to provide effective services for their clients. Removing the requirement for professionals to complete continuing education takes away a mandate for practitioners of a profession to stay current with new techniques and complex processes that they will have to use and if done by untrained people will have the potential to cause harm.  Wisconsin has a comprehensive regulatory process in place that does a good job of ensuring that qualified professionals provide services and if a consumer is harmed they can make a complaint and create a safe guard of disciplinary action.    


Tasks of an OT/OTA

 Depending on an OT/OTA's employer or work setting, his or her tasks may include:

  • Supporting the growth and development of babies born prematurely
  • Creating learning environments for children with physical or cognitive needs
  • Providing activities to build self-esteem in individuals recovering from drug or alcohol abuse
  • Engaging individuals with mental health diagnoses in dynamic and function-based group programming
  • Adapting home environments for people dealing with the effects of illness or injury
  • Re-teaching life skills to individuals recovering from stroke, spinal cord injury, orthopedic injuries, etc.
  • Rehabilitating the hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder to prevent dysfunction and restore function
  • Developing community wellness programs across the lifespan
  • Analyzing job tasks and environments to ensure a person-occupation-environment fit
  • Conducting research to measure the effectiveness of treatment outcomes
  • Teaching occupational therapy skills and methods to students and other healthcare professionals

In Summary

WOTA firmly believes that requiring a state license to practice OT protects patients, and ensures that OTs and OTAs have a strong professional future. Join us, and help us protect our licenses, and our profession. WOTA membership is $10/month for OTs, and less for OTAs. Membership includes advocacy, free monthly webinars, and practice support.

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