Disclaimer: Misrad Habriut regulations are subject to change without advance notice and are constantly changing. For the most current information regarding licensing procedures, please seeMisrad Habriut’s site. Nefesh B’Nefesh does not take responsibility for inaccuracies on the site or changes to the law.
There is a strong demand for occupational therapists to work in various areas such as:
• Integration Therapy
• Rehabilitation Therapy
• Psychiatrically Oriented Therapy
Occupational Therapists are employed in Health funds (Kupot Cholim), hospitals, clinics, special-edschools, etc.
Anyone applying to Misrad Habriut for licensing as an occupational therapist is required to take an exam in order to be licensed in Israel.
Please note: It is now possible to apply to the Ministry of Health Pre Aliyah. It is also possible to take the licensing exam as a tourist. For more information, please see the following article: Start your Licensing Before Aliyah.
In order to take this licensing exam you must read through and sign this document: Declaration to Sign Before Taking Exam in OT on a Tourist Visa
The cost of the exam is 354 NIS.
Misrad Haklita offers a reimbursement (up to 500 NIS) for Olim who took the governmental licensing exam for physicians. Your eligibility lasts for 10 years from your date of Aliyah. The reimbursement is ONLY given retroactively and will be paid back ONLY after submitting the receipt for your exam to your local Misrad Haklita office. Please contact your local Misrad Haklita office for more information.
Please note: if you didn’t participate in a Misrad Haklita preparation course for the governmental licensing exam, you may be entitled to a reimbursement for 2 exams (if needed).
Misrad Habriut now offers a new customer call center to answer questions about licensing for health care professionals. Call *5400 from Israel or 972-8-6241010 from abroad. The center operates Sunday through Thursday, 8am-6pm, and Fridays from 8am-1pm, Israel time.
Local Misrad habriut offices are no longer open. All applicants should submit all of your licensing documentation to Misrad Habriut via registered mail to: Licensing department, Ministry of Health, Yermiyahu 39, Jerusalem, 9446724.
Graduates who completed recognized academic degree programs in occupational therapy, in an institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel or in an institution abroad that is recognized by the Council, can submit a request for a professional license from the Ministry of Health.
The following documents must be included with the request:
- 2 passport pictures.
- A copy of your Teudat Zehut, including the Sefach, the appendix with your address. If you are applying pre-Aliyah, please provide a copy of your passport with your application to Misrad Habriut.
- Final diploma or a certificate from the university indicating completion of studies, fulfillment of all of the university’s requirements and eligibility for a diploma in the relevant field, which will be granted at a specified date – requires verification* (see below).
- Official certification indicating the start and end date of studies – requires verification* (see below).
- Official certification of an internship (“stage”) indicating the number of hours that you completed.OTs must have completed at least 1,000 hours of internship.The greater the number of hours considered as part of your internship, the more likely it is that your licensing process will proceed smoothly. If you did not complete an internship, please provide official certification about supervised work done in the field abroad, with a valid license, for at least one year – requires verification* (see below).
Please note: If you have worked as an OT for more than one year you do not need to provide an internship certificate. In this case, you can send your work permit, license and license verification from the board stating that your license has never been revoked, suspended, limited or placed on probation.
- Official certifications of work experience, from the relevant medical institutions, indicating the start and end date of work in each institution – requires verification* (see below).
- Valid license – – requires verification* (see below).
- Professional letter of good standing from the board of the state in which one is licensed. The letter confirms that there are no, and have not been any, disciplinary, negligence or professional ethics complaints against the physician. (This letter is issued from the board of the state in which one is licensed. If it is sent directly to Misrad Habriut from the board it does not have to be translated and notarized. Please ensure in this case, that the letter is sent only once the rest of the documents have been received by the Misrad Habriut.) Alternatively, You may have the letter of good standing sent to you. If you leave it in the sealed envelope- you can add it to the rest of the documents that you send in to the MOH- and you do not need to notarize and translate it. It may be a good idea to ask the board for a copy of the letter- just to have. Physicians from the UK should ask for a letter of good standing to be sent by registered mail from the GMC directly to Misrad Habriut (the GMC will only mail it directly, and this is the only way to guarantee its arrival). Physicians from Montreal should obtain the letter from the College des Medicines du Quebec.
- An application form – Medical Licensing – Questionnaire. Please make sure to have your name written also in its Hebrew transliteration. In addition, you must provide with an ISRAELI address and cell phone# (can be of friends/family).
- An application requesting to be tested in the relevant field.
- Documentation indicating a name change, where relevant.
*For the documents which require verification, you have 3 verification options:
- Verified with an apostille after having the original document notarized (recommended).
- Bring it to an ISRAELI notary and have them notarize it.
- A verified copy (אימות העתק, Imut He’etek) at the Israeli consulate.
All documents must be submitted in two copies. You must submit the verified copy plus an additional photocopy of the original document. Always keep the originals for yourself, as well as a photocopy of the verified document.
Please Note: As of now the Israeli Ministry does not recognize online degrees.
It should also be noted that some of the documents listed above are only valid for one year from their issuing date. If you have not submitted your Teudat Zehut (ID) within a year from opening your file with the Misrad Habriut, you may be required to present valid, re-issued documents in order to request your temporary license.
To receive the permanent license, you must submit all of your translated and notarized documents toMisrad Habriut. Misrad Habriut will then send you a permission form allowing you to take the licensing exam. Once you pass the exam you should receive your license in the mail. You may pay for your license online: Misrad Habriut Online Payment.
Misrad Habriut does not send a reminder indicating that your licensing is going to expire soon. As soon as you receive your license, please mark your calendar 12 weeks before the expiration date so that you can receive your renewed license before the old one expires.
Each of the four health funds, Meuchedet, Macabbi, Clalit and Leumit has branches throughout the country. The differences between the health funds lie mainly in the location of their facilities, the types of supplemental policies offered, and additional services offered within the framework of their facilities. Most large cities have a clinic in almost every district. OTs either work in the Kupot or work privately and accept Kupot members and get paid per treatment.
When you have a private practice you can see either see patients on a strictly private basis, or, if you have an agreement with a Kupah, you can receive members of health funds and then be reimbursed by the funds. There are many practices that combine the two.
One way to begin looking for work is to directly contact your local health funds or local hospitals and speak to the department head of Occupational Therapy.
It is also possible to turn to the government employment bureau for academics, known as the Bureau for the Placement of Professionals (Lishka Le Ta’asukat Acadama’im). In Jerusalem, go to:
21 Rechov Yaffo (opposite Safra Square), Jerusalem
Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, 8:30 – 11:30 AM and 12:30 – 2:30 PM
Monday, Wednesday, 8:30 AM – 13:30 PM
Phone: 02 501 3100
Etti and Bilha speak English.
For a full listing of Lishkat Taasuka locations throughout Israel, see Lishkat Taasuka Offices
In addition, the Ministry of Education might be contacted regarding positions for occupational therapists both in regular and special education schools.
Finally, word of mouth is often one of the best sources of job leads. Don’t hesitate to let everyone you can know that you are seeking work, and follow up on any leads they may offer. Many positions are filled without ever being advertised.
Knowledge of Hebrew
A good working knowledge of Hebrew is essential. It is strongly advised to study Hebrew before you arrive and then to take Ulpan upon arrival. Even where an immigrant occupational therapist works entirely with speakers of his/her mother tongue, it is still necessary to deal with the various agencies that make up the Israeli medical network. For a full listing of Ulpan options, see the Ulpan Guide.
In addition to regular Ulpan, Misrad HaKlita offers an Ulpan for medical professionals – shlav bet. The class opens provided there are enough people who are interested. Be in touch with your local branch of Misrad HaKlita to find out when the next class will begin. For more information, see Medical Ulpan.
Thanks to Shira Greenstone for contributing to this interview.
What job did you take upon your Aliyah to Israel?
I made aliya three years ago. My first job was in adult day program in Yad Sarah, working in primarily group OT.
What is the job market like in Israel?
I came to Israel with broken Hebrew…and people wanted to hire me. This market will probably get more flooded, but as of now, all the people I know who want a job in Occupational Therapy have a job.
Do you need Hebrew to work in your field in Israel?
To repeat the above – I came to Israel with broken Hebrew…and people wanted to hire me.
What experience do you need to get into your field?
People will hire you without the experience; you just get paid less.
What degree does someone making Aliyah need in order to break into your field? / Does it make any difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
An OT degree from any university recognized in Israel is accepted. (OT programs in North America mostly offer Masters degrees, but I had a bachelors degree and it was accepted. The OT programs in Israel are mainly Bachelors degrees) More OT Masters programs are opening up in Israel. Everyone must take a national Occupational Therapy exam but it is also offered in English. Probably easier for people who went to OT school in Israel because it’s based on the specific Israeli framework. Terminology and language is easier when you learn it in school but you can find ways to get the material to study to prepare for the exam.
What are the benefits of working as an OT?
Pretty much the same as in America. It provides flexibility for a working mother and there are so many different areas you can work in.
Is there a professional organization in your field?
Yes, Israel Society for Occupational Therapy (ISOT) as well as several facebook groups and email listserves.
What is the salary range?
Hospitals minimum wage (around 26 NIS/hr) plus benefits. Privately you can probably earn up to 200NIS an hour. The average rate is about 50-60NIS an hour. Geriatrics/Nursing homes make more.
What are the upcoming areas of specialty you would recommend?
It depends on where you’re living. In Bet Shemesh, for example, there’s a lot of pediatric opportunities.
What recommendations can you offer the Olim looking for work in this field?
#1: Find out what kind of documentation you need to qualify for the exam, and prepare that before you make Aliya, so you don’t have to worry about doing it long distance! Double check all information (like deadlines) with Misrad HaBriut. They have a call center and you can request an English speaker. Know that things change frequently with Misrad HaBriut.
#2: You have to prepare for the exam. The national exam is relatively new in Israel but there have been many Olim who have successfully completed it. Try to make contact with someone who has taken it so that you can get their study material. Old exams are great for helping you narrow down what to study for the exam.
Shira Greenstone is an Occupational Therapist.
This Article was last updated on March 31, 2020.