As a practice owner preparing to expand your team, crafting a comprehensive job description is your first step in attracting the right occupational therapist. The role of an occupational therapist is multifaceted, blending expertise in therapy with compassion and innovation. In this guide, we’ll walk you through each aspect of the occupational therapist’s role, equipping you with the information you need to create a job posting that not only outlines the responsibilities and requirements but also highlights the impact and growth opportunities within your practice.

Understanding the Role of an Occupational Therapist

In defining the role of an occupational therapist for your practice, it’s essential to communicate the collaborative and holistic approach they will take in patient care. Highlighting the partnership with other healthcare professionals and the variety of patient needs they will address paints a comprehensive picture of the day-to-day responsibilities. Use this section to outline the specific skills and attributes you’re looking for in a candidate, emphasizing the impact of their work on patients’ lives.

The goal of a licensed occupational therapist is to help people with physical, mental, or cognitive impairments adapt to challenges so that they can perform everyday activities. Occupational therapists partner with physical therapists, social workers, and a patient’s healthcare team to develop a treatment plan to help the patient improve at their daily tasks.

Occupational therapists can work in educational settings, nursing homes, and private clinics. Your job description should clarify the setting, and the type of patient they’ll be helping: elderly people, children, or any age in between.

Key Responsibilities of an Occupational Therapist

Detailing the key responsibilities is a crucial part of your job posting. It sets clear expectations for potential applicants about what their daily tasks will include. From patient evaluation and treatment planning to implementing therapeutic activities, ensure you clearly describe each duty. This clarity helps candidates understand the scope of the role and assess their own fit for your practice’s needs. Consider incorporating examples from your practice to provide a realistic preview of the work environment.

Some sections you can include:

  • Patient Evaluation and Treatment Planning
  • Implementing Therapeutic Activities
  • Environmental Modification Recommendations
  • Progress Monitoring and Documentation


Patient Evaluation and Treatment Planning

When crafting your job description, emphasize the critical role of patient evaluation and treatment planning in an occupational therapist’s job. This is where your new hire will make their first impact, setting the stage for successful patient outcomes. Describe how they will assess patients’ conditions, collaborate on interdisciplinary teams, and devise personalized treatment plans. Highlighting this process showcases the depth of expertise and care your practice commits to, appealing to candidates who value detailed assessment and tailored patient care.

Occupational therapists spend time evaluating patients and developing treatment plans for them. When they first meet with a patient, they’ll assess their health condition by examining them and reviewing patient and department records. Then, they create a treatment plan to help build patient confidence and skills. They’re also responsible for discharge planning.

Implementing Therapeutic Activities

In this section, underline the importance of hands-on therapeutic activities in the recovery and rehabilitation process. Your job description should detail how the occupational therapist will engage patients in exercises and the use of assistive devices to improve their daily living skills. Point out that the candidate should be innovative and patient-focused, capable of designing and instructing in therapeutic activities that meet diverse patient needs. This emphasis attracts professionals who are passionate about creative problem-solving and patient empowerment.

Occupational therapists develop home exercise programs and instruct individuals on the therapeutic use of assistive equipment. For instance, as part of their functional therapy expert duties, they might teach others how to use assistive devices such as screen readers or text-to-speech programs.

Environmental Modification Recommendations

Highlight the occupational therapist’s role in suggesting environmental modifications to enhance patient safety and independence. This aspect of the job reflects a holistic approach to care, extending beyond the clinic to the patients’ living environments. Mention in your job posting how these recommendations require a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of patient needs. Candidates interested in a role that encompasses such transformative impact will be drawn to the comprehensive care perspective your practice offers.

Occupational therapists may suggest environmental modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, widened doorways, and lowered bathroom/kitchen counters. They might also recommend installing special equipment, including shower grab bars and touch-free sink faucets.

Progress Monitoring and Documentation

The ability to monitor progress and document patient outcomes is a cornerstone of effective therapy. Stress the value your practice places on this accountability, as it informs treatment adjustments and demonstrates efficacy to patients and their families. Your job description should communicate the expectation for thorough documentation and regular assessment of patient goals. This will appeal to candidates who pride themselves on precision, outcomes-oriented practice, and continuous improvement in patient care.

Occupational health specialist responsibilities include keeping an eye on the progress of patients. They set a deadline for when they want a patient to perform a certain activity, such as buttoning a coat, and record whether or not the patient was able to meet the deadline.

Skills and Qualities for Success in Occupational Therapy

Identifying the ideal candidate goes beyond educational qualifications and work experience. This section should enumerate the soft skills and personal qualities that will enable an occupational therapist to thrive in your practice. Emphasizing traits like compassion, empathy, communication skills, and problem-solving abilities will attract candidates who are not only capable but also aligned with your practice’s values and culture.

Some sections you can include:

  • Compassion and Empathy
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Problem-Solving Abilities


Compassion and Empathy

In your job posting, it’s essential to emphasize the critical importance of compassion and empathy in the role of an occupational therapist. Candidates must understand that your practice values these qualities not just as professional skills, but as fundamental aspects of patient care. This section should highlight how occupational therapists in your practice are expected to engage deeply with patients, demonstrating genuine understanding and support as they guide them through their rehabilitation journey. Attracting candidates who naturally embody these qualities ensures a team that prioritizes patient-centered care.

Occupational therapists work closely with patients, so they must have plenty of compassion and empathy to assist with patient care. As an occupational therapist, you’ll need to put yourself in your patient’s shoes to help them learn to overcome challenges.

Communication and Collaboration

Communication and collaboration are the linchpins of effective interdisciplinary healthcare. In framing this section of your job description, underscore the expectation that your occupational therapists will maintain open lines of communication with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals. Detailing this requirement signals to potential candidates the collaborative culture of your practice and the value you place on teamwork and clarity. This approach appeals to those who excel in dynamic, communicative environments and who are eager to contribute to a cohesive healthcare team.

Strong communication skills are an absolute must for occupational therapists. You must be able to clearly communicate with patients, their families, and their caregivers.

Problem-Solving Abilities

Problem-solving is at the heart of occupational therapy, with each patient presenting a unique set of challenges. Your job description should convey the importance of innovative thinking and adaptability in developing effective treatment plans. Highlighting this aspect draws in candidates who are not just looking for a job but are passionate about creatively overcoming obstacles to improve their patients’ quality of life. This section will resonate with professionals who thrive on critical thinking and are motivated by the opportunity to make a tangible difference through their expertise and ingenuity.

No two occupational therapy patients are alike. You’ll need to approach each patient’s case as a puzzle to be solved, then come up with an ideal solution. If you want a job that forces you to put your thinking cap on, occupational therapy is a wonderful fit.

Educational Pathways and Certification

​​While outlining the educational and certification requirements, offer guidance on the pathways that lead to a career in occupational therapy. This information helps ensure that candidates understand the qualifications necessary to be considered for the role. Additionally, mention any specific credentials or continuing education your practice values, reinforcing your commitment to high standards of care and professional development.

Educational requirements for occupational therapists vary by state. Typically, they’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree and complete an accredited occupational therapy program that’s approved by the American Occupational Therapy Association. Nearly all states require them to have a master’s degree in occupational therapy as well (Colorado is the sole exception as it doesn’t require occupational therapists to complete any master’s degree programs).

In addition to obtaining a master’s degree and completing their occupational therapy education, they’ll also have to undergo real-world training. They might train in a hospital, clinic, rehab center, or residential facility.

They will also need to pass the exam from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Once they’ve passed the NBCOT exam and earned their license, they must complete continuing education credits.

Here is a templated version you can use for your practice’s job description:

To qualify for the position of Occupational Therapist at [Your Practice’s Name], candidates must meet the following educational and licensing criteria:

Bachelor’s Degree: Applicants are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a preference for degrees in health science, psychology, biology, or a related field.
Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy: A master’s degree in occupational therapy from a program accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is mandatory. This requirement applies to all candidates, with the exception of those applying in Colorado, where the state-specific regulations will be honored.
Clinical Training: Prospective occupational therapists must have completed supervised fieldwork or an internship as part of their educational program. This hands-on experience should have taken place in settings such as hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, or residential facilities, providing a comprehensive understanding of practical patient care.
Licensure: Candidates must have passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. Proof of licensure in the state where the practice is located is required before employment can commence.
Continuing Education: To maintain licensure and ensure up-to-date practice based on the latest evidence-based research, occupational therapists are required to fulfill continuing education credits as per state regulations.

[Your Practice’s Name] values the dedication it takes to meet these requirements and is committed to supporting our therapists’ ongoing professional development. We encourage candidates who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of those we serve to apply.

The Impact of Occupational Therapy

End your job posting by highlighting the profound impact an occupational therapist can have on patients’ lives. Share success stories or testimonials to illustrate the rewarding nature of the work. This final section is your opportunity to inspire potential applicants, encouraging them to envision the difference they can make through their expertise and dedication in your practice.

Occupational therapists have the chance to truly improve others’ lives for the better. For instance, you may have a patient who can’t enjoy his favorite hobby anymore after injuring his arm. After working with this patient, he’s recovered enough to take part in his beloved hobby again.

Go Further in Your Field With Weave

As you seek to attract the best talent for your practice, remember that your job posting is more than a list of requirements; it’s an invitation to join a professional journey. By providing a detailed and engaging description, you’re not only outlining what you expect from candidates but also what they can expect from you. Encourage prospective therapists to learn more about your practice and how they can contribute to its success and the well-being of your patients.

Need more help at your practice? Check out Weave! Our software features everything you’ll need to succeed as an occupational therapist, including review management tools, online scheduling, and convenient bill pay features. Get your free demo of Weave now.

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