Occupational Therapist Job Description

Occupational Therapist Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for an occupational therapist job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an occupational therapist. Feel free to use our occupational therapist job description template to produce your own occupational therapist job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an occupational therapist.


Who is an Occupational Therapist?

They are fondly called OTs and they work with people of a diverse age range to overcome physical obstacles or illnesses. An occupational therapist is a health professional who treats disabled ill or patients who are injured and he utilizes special equipment and therapeutic procedure to administer treatment to patients. They help patients to enhance their skills and regain their health for day-to-day life and work. They also provide care and long-term assistance to patients.  daily help they give to patients is; helping patients get dressed, moving them around the house, cooking, eating, gardening, using a computer, driving, and doing school work.

They assist patients with permanent disabilities such as cerebral palsy which is often required to perform daily tasks. Occupational therapists also show patients how to make use of adaptive equipment such as eating aids, wheelchairs, and leg or knee braces. Patients can be able to take care of themselves when they utilize these devices.

Some occupational therapists work in the educational sector with children privately or in small groups. They analyze the children’s abilities, especially those children who are handicapped and they also make changes to classroom equipment to accommodate certain disabilities that can help children to be active in school activities. Some therapists also provide early intervention therapy to toddlers and infants who may be vulnerable to risks and developmental delays.

Occupational therapists who work with aged people help their patients live a better life that is active. They also evaluate patients’ abilities and environments and also make recommendations using adaptive equipment or removing potential hazards in the home after identification. In some scenarios, occupational therapists can help create a very functional work setting. They also assess work space, plan work activities, and meet with patients’ employers to recommend changes in patients’ work environment or work schedule.

Occupational therapists can also work in a mental health environment where they assist patients who are suffering from developmental disabilities, emotional problems, and mental illness. They help these patients in their day-to-day activities by teaching them skills in time management, public transportation, budgeting, and doing other household chores. A therapist can also work with individuals who are addicts such as people who are suffering from drug abuse, depression, alcoholism, and also from other disorders.

Some occupational therapists can also work in hospitals, or physician offices work alongside doctors, registered nurses, and other health care professionals. They may also supervise the work of newly recruited therapists, assistants, and aides.


Occupational Therapy Job Description

What is an occupational therapist job description? an occupational therapist job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of an occupational therapist in an organization. Below are the occupational therapist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write an occupational therapist job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The following are the duties and responsibilities of an occupational therapist:

  • Examining patients doing tasks, asking the patient question, and reviewing the patient’s medical history
  • Utilizing the observations, answers, and medical history to evaluate the patient’s condition and needs
  • Organizing a treatment plan for patients, laying out the types of activities and specific goals to be accomplished
  • Enabling people with various disabilities with different tasks, such as helping an older person with poor memory to make use of a computer, or leading autistic children in play activities
  • Indicating exercises that can help relieve pain for people with chronic conditions, such as joint stretches for arthritis sufferers
  • Assessing a patient’s home or workplace and identifying how it can be better suited to the patient’s health needs
  • Teaching a patient’s family and employer about how to accommodate and care for the patient
  • Proposing special equipment such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instructing patients on how to use that equipment
  • Evaluating and recording a patient’s activities and progress for evaluating clients, billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers
  • Conservingprofessional knowledge and technical progress to provide clients with the best treatment program available
  • Adhering to federal, state, and local certification requirements
  • Assessing a patient’s condition regarding physical and basic mental health
  • Evaluating the patient’s progress and adapting the treatment accordingly
  • Executing administrative tasks such as keeping records, writing reports, and making telephone calls



  • A bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from a university certified by the ACOTE (Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education) or AOTA (American-Occupational Therapy Association)
  • Certified by the National Board for Certification
  • Obliging with state healthcare regulatory requirements
  • Have up-to-date knowledge of treatment practices and physical therapy programs
  • Terrific interpersonal communication skills
  • Capacity to take care of clients with different personalities
  • Comfortable using a computer for numerous tasks
  • Proficiency to assess a patient’s conditions and work plans for treatment
  • Medical, neurological, and anatomical expertise
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Self-discipline and time-management skills
  • Empathy Skills


Essential Skills

An occupational therapist should possess the following skills and competencies:

  • Medical, Neurological, and Anatomical Expertise: an occupational therapist must understand anatomy to connect with the body performance so that you can administer the appropriate treatments. You must also know the physical and neurological needs of both children and older adults who have neurological issues. You must also have a grasp understanding of how to apply methodologies, principles, and protocols for rehabilitation and treatment of neurological and physical illnesses, disabilities, and injuries.
  • Observational Skill: Good occupational therapists must know how to monitor and study clients carefully to administer the best care. You will need to pay keen attention to what the patient says and also be a very good listener to know what they are not saying. For instance, you may have a patient that acknowledges that they are not facing any pain but if you go close to them you will notice that they are not comfortable.
  • Verbal Communication:  Occupational therapists must be excellent communicators to be able to listen to what their patients are saying and be able to communicate back to them vividly. For instance, if you are working with children, you will need to be able to explain difficult words to them and communicate to them in such a way that they will not misinterpret you. You will also need to communicate with their family members, caregivers, and doctors. You can also delegate tasks to your therapy assistants and build a bond with him or them.

Additionally, for you to communicate fluently, you must know the industry terminologies and also when to utilize them or not.

  • Written Communication Skills; A, you must be highly proficient in writing to keep detailed records of notes and also explain the patient’s progress and also treatment courses. You may also be mandated to explain the reason behind a particular course of treatment to the insurance companies when summoned. You will also need to draft reports you can share with professionals or you can keep them for future reference.
  • Technological Skills:  although most of your work schedule will be manual the necessity of possessing relevant technological skills is highly paramount. The technological skills can be learning everything about electronic record keeping and also mastering how to utilize new medical software. Utilizing telehealth interfaces to have meetings with patients. You may also need to enhance your practice by building your knowledge of tech and also teaching patients how to utilize it. You need to also have extensive knowledge of cutting-edge software designed to assist patients such as text-to-speech software.
  • Empathy: Occupational therapists must be compassionate to help patients who might be struggling physically, emotionally, and mentally. These patients need who can show them deep wells of compassion and sympathy. This will make them feel at ease and accepted without using negativity or judgment. To showcase your empathy, you must be patient and tolerant. This is because you will encounter clients who are depressed, stubborn, frustrated, and impatient; treat them in a well-nurtured way. Some clients may take weeks, months, and years to accomplish success. You will need to be patient with these clients if they have given up on themselves
  • Self-discipline
  • Time-management
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Flexibility
  • Organizational Skills


How to Become an Occupational Therapy

The first step to becoming an occupational therapist is to acquire a bachelor’s degree in Occupational therapy from an accredited university. For instance, in America, the AOTA (American-Occupational Therapy Association) must approve a bachelor’s degree. Some employers give preference to candidates with a master’s degree, you will need to acquire a master’s degree in occupational therapy although it is not mandatory.

In course of your degree, you will need to complete your academic fieldwork. Fieldwork is highly essential because it is where you apply what you have learned in the classroom on the job scene. For you to become a registered occupational therapist, fieldwork is mandatory. As you apply for academic programs, it is very paramount for you to find out what fieldwork is available to you. For instance, as an occupational therapist, you can enroll in level 1 and level 2 fieldwork.

The next step is for you to pass the NBCOT (National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy) Exams. The NBCOT works hard to ensure that all practitioners across the country meet the required standard by administering a national certification exam that all occupational therapists are expected to enroll in and pass. When you pass the exams, you will use the title “Occupational Therapist Registered” (OTR).

After you have passed the exams, the NBCOT exams, you can now proceed to apply for licensure and pay the license fee for the location you want to practice. Some states can allow you to practice OTs on a temporary license before you receive the result from the NBCOT exam. The license varies state by state and you should check your state license requirement before you apply.


Where to Work as an occupational

  • Assisted-Living facilities and retirement communities:  occupational therapists can work in assisted-living facilities by providing support and healthcare. This facility is designed specifically for individuals who require little assistance with instruments and activities of day-to-day living such as transportation, meals, and medication as well as daily living such as bathing and dressing.

Occupational therapy provides support to these clients living in this environment by helping them to be cheerful and to age graciously.

  • Elementary and Secondary Schools: occupational therapists and their assistants can work in the educational sector where they use diverse activities to help children engage in task that facilitates physical and mental health. They focus on academics, play, and leisure and they utilize all these activities to reduce barriers to participation.
  • Rehabilitation Centers: there are many centers where occupational therapists can work. They can work in drug and alcohol rehab centers where they will assist patients who have a medical condition from a substance abuse challenge. These substances can cause chronic short-term memory loss and abstract thinking problems which is similar to dementia patients or Alzheimer’s. Occupational therapists work with substance abuse by introducing routine exercises to improve their daily living and recovery.
  • Home healthcare services; occupational therapists can work in their patients’ homes to help them live a better life. They provide various home services such as;
  • Addressing challenges in diabetes management and establishing daily routines such as blood sugar observation, foot care,hygiene, meal planning and preparation, and also health strategies as well as physical activities
  • Assisting patients in mastering new activities such as healthy dietary plans, and daily weights and also incorporating other activities into regular routines.
  • Helping in the formulation of day-to-day routine for medication adherence, stress management skills,and self-management.
  • Hospitals
  • Therapist’s offices
  • Client’s Workplaces


Occupational Therapists Salary

The salary scale of occupational therapists varies across countries, below are some examples:

  • In the United States, The average occupational therapist salary in the USA is $82,388 per year or $42.25 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at $68,248 per year while most professional workers make up to $103,629 per year. The average occupational therapist salary in California is $90,056 per year or $46.18 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at $77,946 per year while most experienced workers make up to $114,930 per year. The average occupational therapist salary in New Jersey is $84,263 per year or $43.21 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $72,500 per year while most professional workers make up to $117,007 per year.
  • In the United Kingdom, The average occupational therapist’s salary in the United Kingdom is £35,629 per year or £18.27 per hour. Entry-level positions start their careers at £31,990 per year while most experienced workers make up to £48,750 per year
  • In Canada, The average occupational therapist’s salary in Canada is $76,830 per year or $39.40 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at $70,103 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $87,779 per year.
  • In Australia, The average occupational therapist salary in Australia is $90,365 per year or $46.34 per hour. Entry-level positions start their career at $80,000 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $109,995 per year.

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