What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?
Occupational therapists (OTs) assist patients with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities in performing daily living and work activities. Their treatment plans address the specific needs and goals of patients and may include exercises, adaptive equipment, or environmental changes.
The ability to work collaboratively with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals is essential for success as an occupational therapist. They should also have experience with a variety of treatment techniques and modalities, as well as a detailed understanding of anatomy and physiology. Furthermore, occupational therapists should be able to adjust their approach to meet the needs of each patient and be comfortable in a fast-paced setting.
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National Average Salary
Occupational therapist salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an Occupational Therapist is:
Occupational Therapist Job Descriptions
It’s important to include the right content in your job description when hiring a occupational therapist. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.
We are looking for an occupational therapist to join our team at [Your Company Name]. The occupational therapist will be in charge of consulting with patients and assisting patients in the recovery of normal conditions. As an occupational therapist, you must have a beyond excellent communication ability as well as the ability to empathize and be understanding with difficult patients. You will be in charge of developing a treatment plan for your patients, setting goals and deadlines, and assisting the patient to reach these deadlines to the best of your ability. You must also be able to competently demonstrate exercises and therapy in order to educate a patient on the best method to follow their schedules and tasks. You may also need to occasionally recommend equipment that can assist the patient in daily activities as well as special diets and exercises the patient may find useful. If you are interested in joining our team and becoming an occupational therapist, please apply. Relevant certifications will be required.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Evaluate a patient’s condition and needs
- Develop treatment plans, goals, and activities
- Help patients with daily tasks such as getting dressed and making meals
- Teach exercises that relieve pain and increase mobility
- Evaluate a client’s home and workspace and suggest improvements
- Advise patient’s family and employer about needs and care
- Recommend helpful devices and equipment and teach a client how to use them
- Monitor progress and adjust treatment as needed
Education and experience
Occupational therapists need a master’s degree from an accredited program. This coursework includes supervised clinical experience and usually takes two to three years to complete. All states require occupational therapists to pass an exam and be licensed. Some students decide to specialize in a particular field or earn a doctoral degree, although that is not required.
Required skills and qualifications
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Compassion, empathy, and a desire to help people
- Strong analytical and observational skills
- Flexibility and creativity to develop individualized treatment plans
- Patience in working with people who may be frustrated or upset
- Time-management skills
- Keen attention to detail
- Master’s degree in occupational therapy
- Experience working with young children
- Strong interpersonal skills
We are searching for a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for our new location in (City) — someone who works well in a fast-paced setting. In this position, you’ll plan, evaluate, organize, and implement occupational therapy treatment programs in a developmentally and age-appropriate manner.
- Complete patient evaluations and reassessments
- Develop an individualized plan of care based on evaluation findings
- Develop measurable long-term and short-term goals
- Manage the schedule effectively to maintain productivity expectations
- Participate in ongoing communication and collaboration with other members of the patient’s interdisciplinary care team
- Monitor patient response to treatment intervention
- Recommend appropriate adaptive equipment and/or termination of treatment when appropriate
- Assess patient and family needs regarding their level of understanding, readiness to learn, ability to assimilate information, and the most desirable method of teaching
- Develop and instruct the patient and family for appropriate home treatment programs
- Document the patient information in the electronic medical record
- Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy required
- OT certification required
- 2 years pediatric and/or clinical experience preferred
- Outpatient pediatric experience preferred
- Feeding experience highly preferred
Our ESIT (Early Support for Infants and Toddlers) Team is hiring a Occupational Therapist to work with children from newborns to age three, and their families! Join our team of providers and our mission as we partner with families to build healthy foundations and community where all children thrive.
You will be joining a team that is focused on holistic, wrap around care to meet the critical individual needs of the developing child, and support for the family. You will be working with a team of providers offering multidisciplinary care in a community that connects with, encourages, and builds relationships with one another.
The ESIT Occupational Therapist is responsible for the planning and implementation of therapeutic services in conjunction with the early intervention team providing a treatment plan supporting the functional development of a child’s ability to complete daily living activities. The Occupational Therapist works with families and their children age birth to three years old in the child’s natural environment which may include home, childcare, or other community-based settings using a parent coaching model.
Essential duties and responsibilities:
- Provide services to children and families, using a parent coaching model during treatment to encourage parent involvement and training
- Monitor treatment progress and adapt the plan according to the developmental needs of the child and the family goals
- Evaluate children for program qualification
- Develop initial and on-going individualized goals and regular updates on progress
- Collaborate and consult with other therapists as a participant of a multi-disciplinary team of providers and FRCs on a regular basis
- Complete written daily treatment notes in a timely manner to document services rendered
- Maintain records on each child as mandated to monitor progress and development
- Provide daily insurance billing information to facilitate timely reimbursement
- Using the parent coaching model, implement practices of reflection, observation, and connection to include parents in all aspects of their child’s development, promoting the parent’s ability to support their child
- Demonstrate a desire to identify, gain knowledge in and awareness of individual experiences and societal oppressions that impact ESIT families and children in underserved populations centered around race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, belief systems, physical/mental/neurodevelopment differences, marital status, and gender
- Plan and implement play-based activities creating opportunities for children to practice functional skills and work towards developmental goals
- Actively engage in building a community that thrives from a genuine sense of belonging, involvement, and inclusion; by honoring differences, acknowledging biases, and transforming in togetherness
- Monitor and track caseload requirements with on-going new referrals
- Participate in staff development/training opportunities based on Part C, DCYF, and King County contracts
- Able to work closely and collaboratively with parents, caregivers, and professionals
- Be resourceful, responsive, engaged, and reflective in addressing the unique needs of every family and their child
- Execute exceptional time management and organizational skills
- Maintain all certifications related to the field of Occupational Therapy and Early Intervention
- Other duties as assigned
- Graduate of an accredited Occupational Therapy program
- Valid Washington Certified Occupational Therapy license
- Infant Toddler CPR certification required within 90 days of hire
- Must have valid current State Driver’s License and vehicle insurance
- Pass Washington State DSHS criminal history and background check and FBI fingerprint check if not in state for more than the past 3 years
- Proof of most current COVID Vaccination
- Must possess a positive attitude and friendly manner with strong verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to work independently
- Ability to be flexible, solution focused, collaborative, and mindful
- At least one year of pediatric experience
- Experience with telehealth
- Bilingual in English and Spanish
- This is an active job requiring lifting of up to 50 lbs, frequently squatting, sitting on the floor, and active work with children
The OT – Occupational Therapist provides direct rehab care in occupational therapy to patients upon physician referral in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations, and ABC Company standards.
Education, experience, and licensure requirements
- NBCOT certified upon hire, but renewal is optional going forward
- Graduate of an accredited program in occupational therapy (BSOT or MSOT)
- Currently registered/licensed in applicable State. Must maintain an active license in good standing throughout employment
- One (1) year experience in post acute care or related setting preferred
- CPR certification upon hire or obtain during orientation. CPR certification must remain current during employment
Specific job requirements
- Participates in community health matters/projects as appropriate
- Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and e mail
- Liaisons with patients, families, support departments, etc., to adequately plan for patient needs
- Must demonstrate good body mechanics at all times
- Make independent decisions when circumstances warrant such action
- Knowledgeable of practices and procedures as well as the laws, regulations, and guidelines governing functions in the post acute care facility
- Implement and interpret the programs, goals, objectives, policies, and procedures of the department
- Perform proficiently in all competency areas including but not limited to: patient rights, safety, and sanitation
- Maintains professional working relationships with all associates, vendors, etc.
- Maintains confidentiality of all proprietary and/or confidential information
- Understand and follow company policies including harassment and compliance procedures
- Displays integrity and professionalism by adhering to ABC Company’s Code of Conduct and completes mandatory Code of Conduct and other appropriate compliance training
- Follow occupational treatment plans for patients (i.e., activities of daily living)
- Establish, assess, and modify realistic, measurable, timely, and functional goals
- Oversee and evaluate care given by OTAs, Rehab Aides, and students
- Chart appropriately and timely
- Utilize therapy software appropriately and accurately
- Exhibit excellent customer service and a positive attitude towards patients
- Assist in the evacuation of patients
- Demonstrate dependable, regular attendance
- Concentrate and use reasoning skills and good judgment
- Communicate and function productively on an interdisciplinary team
- Sit, stand, bend, lift, push, pull, stoop, walk, reach, and move intermittently during working hours
- Read, write, speak, and understand the English language
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Assistive Technology Professional. Becoming a certified assistive technology professional will allow an occupational therapist to better consult and educate patients on assistive technology such as walkers or wheelchairs. This certification can be immensely useful for any occupational therapist and should be considered as a potential certification when going into occupational therapy as a career.
- Board Certification in Mental Health. Having a board certification in mental health as an occupational therapist will assist the therapist in counseling patients on their mental stability and health. This certification can improve the care an occupational therapist may provide to clients and patients, and can be immensely beneficial due to this.
- Certified Autism Specialist (CAS). Becoming a certified autism specialist can be beneficial to an occupational therapist when providing frequent care for a patient on the spectrum. This certification can provide and assist the therapist with a proper understanding of care and expertise in specific care for these patients.
Sample Interview Questions
- Can you tell us about what inspired you to become an occupational therapist, and what experience you have in this field?
- How do you tailor your approach to each patient’s unique needs when developing treatment plans?
- What techniques do you use to track patient progress over time, and how do you measure the effectiveness of your treatment plans?
- To ensure patients receive comprehensive care, how do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals?
- What is your experience working with patients of varying ages and conditions?
- In your work as an occupational therapist, what steps do you take to ensure patient confidentiality and compliance with relevant healthcare regulations and guidelines?
- Describe a time when you had to adjust your treatment approach based on a patient’s specific preferences or needs.
- In terms of continuing education, what resources do you use to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in occupational therapy research and techniques?
- When managing patient caseloads and completing administrative tasks, how do you prioritize your time?
- If you have worked on a challenging case, how did you approach the patient’s treatment plan?