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Tennessee Occupational Therapy Definitions 

The Tennessee occupational therapy legal and regulatory definitions. 

ACOTE - The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, a nationally recognized accrediting agency for professional programs in the field of occupational therapy.

Act - The Occupational and Physical Therapy Practice Act of 1984.

Advertising - Includes, but is not limited to, business solicitations, with or without limiting qualifications, in a card, sign, or device issued to a person; in a sign or marking in or on any building; or in any newspaper, magazine, directory, or other printed matter. Advertising also includes business solicitations communicated by individual(s), radio, video, or television broadcasting or any other means designed to secure public attention.

American Occupational Therapy Association - When the acronym AOTA appears in these rules, it is intended to mean American Occupational Therapy Association.

Applicant - Any individual seeking licensure by the Board who has submitted an official application and paid the application fee.

Board - The Tennessee Board of Occupational Therapy.

Board’s Administrative Office - The office of the administrator assigned to the board located at 665 Mainstream Drive, Nashville, TN 37243.

Board Designee - Any person who has received a written delegation of authority from the board to perform board functions subject to review and ratification by the full board where provided by these rules.

Competence - The application of knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively, safely, ethically, and legally within the context of the patient's role and environment.

Continued Competence - A dynamic, multidimensional process in which an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant develops and maintains the knowledge, performance skills, interpersonal abilities, critical reasoning skills, and ethical reasoning skills necessary to perform his or her professional responsibilities.

Department - Tennessee Department of Health.

Direct contact - Observed treatment interventions, in-person review and/or discussion of caseload and treatment planning.

Division - The Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, from which the board receives administrative support.

Dry Needling - A skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying neural, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, pain, and movement impairments.

Electrical Stimulation Certification - An authorization issued by the Board when a licensed occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant has successfully completed requirements to use a device, for which a federally required prescription is necessary, that employs transcutaneous electrical current (direct, alternating, or pulsatile) for the purpose of eliciting muscle contraction, alleviating pain, reducing edema, or drug delivery.

Examination Service - The testing service whose written examination has been adopted by the board.

Fee - Money, gifts, services, or anything of value offered or received as compensation in return for rendering services; also the fees required in Rule .06.

Good Moral Character - The quality of being well regarded in personal behavior and professional ethics.

He/she Him/her - When “he” appears in the text of these rules, the word represents both the feminine and masculine genders.

HRB - When the acronym HRB appears in the text of these rules, HRB represents Health Related Boards.

License - Document issued to an applicant who successfully completes the licensure process. The certificate takes the form of an “artistically designed” license as well as other versions bearing an expiration date.

Licensed Occupational Therapist (OT) - Any person who has met the qualifications for licensed occupational therapist and holds a current, unsuspended or unrevoked license which has been lawfully issued by the Board.

Licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) - Any person who has met the qualifications for licensed occupational therapy assistant and holds a current, unsuspended or unrevoked, license which has been lawfully issued by the Board. Such person assists and works under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist.

NBCOT - The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.

Occupational Therapist - A person licensed to engage in occupational therapy practice.

Occupational Therapy Assistant - A person licensed to assist in occupational therapy practice under the supervision of an occupational therapist.

Occupational Therapy - The therapeutic use of everyday life activities (occupations) for the purpose of enabling individuals or groups to participate in roles and situations in home, school, workplace, community and other settings. Occupational therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial and sensory aspects of performance in a variety of contexts to support engagement in occupations that affect health, well-being and quality of life.

Occupational Therapy Practice - Includes specialized services provided by occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants who are certified or trained in areas of specialization that include, but are not limited to, hand therapy, neurodevelopmental treatment, dry needling of the upper limb, sensory integration, pediatrics, geriatrics and neurorehabilitation, through programs approved by AOTA or other nationally recognized organizations.

Occupations - Everyday life activities, named, organized and given value and meaning by individuals and their culture. “Occupations” includes everything that people do to occupy their time, including caring for their needs, enjoying life and contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities.

Person - Any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, organization, or body politic.

Recognized Educational Program- An educational program in occupational therapy approved by the Board of Occupational Therapy and accredited by the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education in collaboration with the American Occupational Therapy Association; or alternatively, as the case may be, an educational program for occupational therapy assistants approved by the Board of Occupational Therapy and the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Registrant - Any person who has been lawfully issued a license.

Relative - A parent, foster parent, parent-in-law, child, spouse, brother, foster brother, sister, foster sister, grandparent, grandchild, son-in-law, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-inlaw, or other family member who resides in the same household.

Supervision - The following:

    • Continuous: Within sight of the individual being supervised.
    • Close: Daily direct contact at the site of treatment.
    • Routine: Direct contact at least every two (2) weeks at the site of treatment, with interim supervision occurring by other methods such as telephone or written communication.
    • General: At least monthly direct contact with supervision available as needed by other methods.
    • Minimal: For supervision of occupational therapists, minimal supervision may be provided on an as-needed basis and may be less than monthly. For supervision of occupational therapy assistants, minimal supervision is not appropriate.

Thermal Agents Certification - An authorization issued by the Board when a licensed occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant has successfully completed requirements to use thermal agents, for which a federally required prescription is necessary, that include superficial heating agents (e.g., hot packs, paraffin), cryotherapy, and deep heating agents (e.g., ultrasound).

Unlicensed Person Working in Occupational Therapy - A person who performs specific supportive tasks related to occupational therapy practice under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant and whose activities do not require professional or advanced training in the basic anatomical, biological, psychological and social sciences involved in the provision of occupational therapy services. Such persons are often referred to as aides, technicians, transporters or support staff.

Upper limb - The hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder girdle.

Use of a Title or Description - To hold oneself out to the public as having a particular status by means of stating on signs, mailboxes, address plates, stationery, announcements, business cards, or other means of professional identification.

Written Evidence - Includes, but is not limited to, written verification from supervisors or other professional colleagues familiar with the applicant’s work.


Tenn. Code Ann. § 63-13-103

Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1150-02-.01

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