Apply for a License
- Apply online
Prior to applying online, review the following information that you'll be asked in the application:
- You must have a Social Security number to apply online. A U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN) cannot be substituted. If you do not have a Social Security number, you must complete a paper application (PDF).
- If you will answer ‘Yes' to any of the following questions, you must apply with a paper application (PDF).
- Do you have a medical condition which in any way impairs or limits your ability to practice your profession with reasonable skill and safety? “Medical condition” includes physiological, mental or psychological conditions or disorders, such as, but not limited to orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, intellectual disabilities, emotional or mental illness, specific learning disabilities, HIV disease, tuberculosis, drug addiction and alcoholism.
- Do you currently use chemical substance(s) in any way which could impair or limit your ability to practice your profession with reasonable skill and safety? "Currently" means within the past two years. "Chemical substances" include alcohol, drugs, or medications, whether taken legally or illegally.
- Have you ever been diagnosed with, or treated for, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism or frotteurism?
- Are you currently engaged in the illegal use of controlled substances? "Currently" means within the past two years. "Illegal use of controlled substances" is the use of controlled substances (e.g., heroin, cocaine) not obtained legally or taken according to the directions of a licensed healthcare practitioner.
- Have you ever been convicted, entered a plea of guilty, no contest, or a similar plea or had prosecution or a sentence deferred or suspended as an adult or juvenile in any state or jurisdiction?
- Have you ever been found in any civil, administrative or criminal proceeding to have:
- Possessed, used, prescribed for use, or distributed controlled substances or legend drugs in any way other than for legitimate or therapeutic purposes?
- Diverted controlled substances or legend drugs?
- Violated any drug law?
- Prescribed controlled substances for yourself?
- Have you ever been found in any proceeding to have violated any state or federal law or rule regulating the practice of a healthcare profession? If “yes”, please attach an explanation and provide copies of all judgments, decisions, and agreements?
- Have you ever had any license, certificate, registration or other privilege to practice a healthcare profession denied, revoked, suspended or restricted by a state, federal or foreign authority?
- Have you ever surrendered a license, certificate, registration, or other privilege to practice a health care profession, in connection with or to avoid action by a state, federal or foreign authority?
- Have you ever been named in any civil suit or suffered any civil judgment for incompetence, negligence or malpractice in connection with the practice of a healthcare profession?
- Have you ever been disqualified from working with vulnerable persons by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)?
If you will answer ‘No' to all of the above questions and have a Social Security number, you'll be able to apply for your credential online.
Washington State law authorizes the Department of Health to obtain fingerprint-based background checks for licensing purposes. This check may be through the Washington State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This may be required if you have lived in another state or if you have a criminal record in Washington State. This would be at your own expense.
The application fee must be paid at the time you apply. You may use a credit or debit card with a VISA or MasterCard logo or pay by ACH/E-Check. Please make sure your address on the payment information screen matches the address your financial institution has on file for you. This fee is non-refundable. There is a convenience fee to apply online.
If additional documentation is needed, you'll be notified by email.
There are additional items you may need, in addition to your application:
We have an online application checklist (PDF) to help with the process. You may print it for reference purposes and reminders.
If you have questions, contact our Customer Service staff at 360-236-4700.
Online Application Instructions
Online application instructions are on our website.
Once you have completed the process you will find your pending credential number on Provider Credential Search. Refer to this credential number anytime you contact Department of Health or submit paperwork.
Additional Website Links
To get important information about recreational therapists, please select the green “Subscribe” button at the bottom of the page.
- Apply on paper
The following forms are required for completing the application process. Please download and print.
- See fee information below
Non-Refundable Fee Type Fee Amount Initial application fee $205 License renewal fee $230 Late renewal penalty $116 Expired license reactivation $90 Duplicate license $15 Certification to other state / institutions $15
Fees submitted with applications for initial credentialing, examinations, renewal, and other fees associated with the licensing and regulation of the profession are nonrefundable.
- Make checks or money orders payable to the Department of Health.
- Practitioners should include their credential number on the check, draft or money order.
- Applicants should include profession for which they are applying on the check, draft or money order.
- Send check, draft or money order to:
Department of Health
P.O. Box 1099
Olympia, WA 98507-1099
- See certification requirements below
State license verification
Applicants must list all states where they do or did hold credentials. This list must also include when the applicant has applied for a credential, even if a credential was not granted. The jurisdiction where the applicant is or was credentialed must complete and submit the verification form (PDF). The jurisdiction must send the completed form directly to the department.
Personal data questions
Each applicant must answer the personal data questions. If there is a positive answer to the professional liability claims history question, the applicant must send an explanation of the nature of the case, data and summary of care given, copies of the original complaint, and the settlement or final disposition. If the case is pending, applicant must indicate status.
Process for approving/denying applications
We finish final review for approval after a credentialing specialist verifies that the application is fully complete, and complies with requirements in chapter 18.230 RCW and chapter 246-927 WAC. We complete background checks and make sure applicants have submitted required fees. Credentialing supervisors and lead workers have the authority to approve routine applications. The disciplining authority may conduct further review if the credentialing supervisor can't verify the applicant meets all requirements. We'll formally notify applicants of a denial. Those applicants may request a hearing to appeal the decision.
Recreational therapists must renew their credential every year on or before their birthday.