Occupational Therapist Job descriptions

Occupational Therapist Job descriptions

Occupational Therapist job descriptions profile the job of people who assist injured and disabled patients through therapeutic means. These activities include helping the affected individuals develop skills needed for daily life. An Occupational Therapist works toward improving their recovery to resume, as closely as possible, an everyday life without much difficulty.

The Occupational Therapist's job description focuses on developing, recovering or maintaining the daily living and work skills of people with physical, mental or developmental conditions. The job mainly focuses on effective, client-centred services that enable patients to confidently and independently carry out everyday tasks or activities.

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Occupational Therapist Job descriptions: Overall Purpose

Assists and empowers patients to participate more fully in daily tasks when a health condition compromises their ability. Occupational therapy is medically prescribed and involves skilled evaluation, treatment, and discharge for treating injury or illness, mental health problems, developmental delay, or ageing effects.

Occupational Therapist Job descriptions: Primary Duties


  • Evaluates a patient's condition and needs by carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the patient's history with the condition.
  • Helps them meet specific therapy goals by developing treatment plans to address a patient's needs.
  • Recommends adaptations to fit the patient's needs and improves independence through assessing a patient's home and work environment.
  • Trains patients and their caregivers to use special equipment by monitoring and facilitating the use of the equipment.
  • Carries out therapy evaluation and billing by assessing and documenting progress for reporting.
  • Supports engagement in occupations and activities that affect health, well-being and life quality through addressing and assessing client's aspects of performance.
  • Applies interventions to maximize safety and performance in activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) by assessing each activity's key performance indicator.
  • Educates clients on how to break down activities into achievable components by teaching them new ways of approaching tasks.
  • Recommends adaptive equipment to maximize recovery by ensuring that all equipment is user friendly.
  • Guides and educates family members and caregivers by ensuring that they understand the current situation and the goals to be achieved through therapy.
  • Conducts routinely check ups on improvement and progress by ensuring that progress is in line with the set therapy goals.
  • Makes sure that homes, workplaces and public places are accessible by analyzing and assessing the extent of the patient's accessibility and mobility.
  • Assesses an individual's ability to function with the normal requirements of living – dressing, eating, interacting socially and so on by closely monitoring and assessing the patient’s daily activities.
  • Assesses home arrangements and decides what assistance is needed using appliances such as wheelchairs and chair lifts through conducting a thorough assessment of the patients needs and goals.
  • Arranges for the provision of some appropriate aids and appliances by engaging the Health Service Executive (HSE) or certifying eligibility for the disabled person's grant.
  • Advises schools to help children overcome writing difficulties and other learning challenges by ensuring that all necessary steps are taken.
  • Eases the transition back into the home after being hospitalized by ensuring the patient doesn't exert too much pressure on themselves.
  • Improves the play and movement skills of a baby or child with a disability through regular therapy sessions.
  • Assesses the driving ability of someone with a disability by closely monitoring them as they carry out daily activities.

Occupational Therapist Job Description

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Occupational Therapist Job descriptions: Educational Requirements

The role of the Occupational Therapist deals with people in different situations. Sometimes, you may find patient-specific requirements in the Occupational Therapist job description. For example, an Occupational Therapist dealing with an individual with mental illness may be required to use psychotherapy approaches to ensure recovery. An Occupational Therapist's job description for physical rehabilitation may require active knowledge of first aid. Below I list some of the qualifications in the job description for the Occupational Therapist.

  • A certification related to Occupational Therapy may be needed.
  • A degree in Occupational Therapy.
  • A master's degree from an accredited Occupational Therapy program may sometimes be required.

Occupational Therapist Job descriptions: Experience Required

The level and type of experience in the Occupational Therapist job description is determined by the license requiring extensive experience. Below I list some common experience requirements in the Occupational Therapist job description.

  • At least 2 years of experience as a licensed Occupational Therapist is a mandatory requirement.
  • Clinical experience is required for practical, hands-on experience working with patients or clients.
  • Specialization experience is required in paediatrics, mental health, gerontology, or neurology.

Occupational Therapist Job descriptions: KSAOs


  • Knowledge of various medical conditions, disabilities, and mental health disorders to better understand each patient's condition.
  • Knowledge of assistive devices, equipment, and technology used, to support performance in activities of daily living. 
  • Knowledge of human growth and development across the lifespan to know the type of therapy and treatment to administer.


  • Excellent problem-solving skills to determine the best course of action for each unique situation and patient.
  • Must be patient and flexible when dealing with the high and low points throughout the therapy process.
  • Must have strong written and verbal communication skills to interact with diverse people effectively.


  • Ability to observe and assess client needs and evaluate progress.
  • Ability to manage time to monitor caseloads and maintain accurate client documentation.
  • Ability to work in a team-oriented environment effectively with other healthcare professionals.
  • Ability to adapt and modify treatment plans to meet client goals.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of occupational therapist?

Helps patients develop, recover, and improve regarding a condition or injury and maintain the skills needed to execute daily activities.

What is the difference between PT and OT?

The most basic difference between Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) is that a PT focuses on improving patients' ability to move their bodies. In contrast, an OT focuses on improving the patient's ability to perform activities of daily living. Additionally, PT's foundation was in physical rehabilitation, whereas OT was founded in mental healthcare and physical rehabilitation.

What are the basic skills of an occupational therapist?

A skilled occupational therapist possesses various abilities, but the fundamental ones are excellent organizational abilities, inventive problem-solving abilities, and a willingness to attempt new medical therapies.

Effective communication with patients, their families, and other medical specialists is very important. This is to be able to describe symptoms, home exercise regimens, complicated medical words, and procedures. It is essential to adequately describe these ideas so that anyone, regardless of age, medical condition, or cognitive ability, may comprehend them.

Occupational Therapists need to be able to come up with original solutions to problems. Every client is different and has unique goals, issues, anxieties, and motivations. Customized treatments must be used to guarantee that each client achieves their treatment goals as quickly as their circumstances permit.

Skilled Occupational Therapist is constantly looking for the most recent effective treatments to assist their patients to recover more quickly. For example, functional electrical stimulation is an example of medical treatment for spinal cord injury.

Occupational Therapists must have excellent organizational skills. They have a lot of responsibilities to manage, including their calendars, the objectives and appointments of their clients, and group meetings with other experts. Additionally, they must carefully collect customer information and clearly and concisely document it.

What are some examples of occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a very vast profession. Below are examples of Occupational therapy;

  • Helping a stroke survivor regain coordination and mobility by practising daily activities such as dressing, cooking, and using the bathroom.
  • Supporting a child with autism spectrum disorder to develop essential skills such as social interaction, communication, and sensory processing.
  • Assisting a person with a traumatic brain injury to relearn memory and problem-solving skills through exercises and games.
  • Helping an older person with arthritis to modify their home environment and use adaptive devices to promote independence in activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
  • Supporting a person with mental illness to develop coping strategies and participate in meaningful activities to improve their overall well-being and quality of life.
  • Assisting a person with a developmental disability to learn functional skills such as money management, house cleaning, and grocery shopping to enhance their level of independence.

These are just a few examples of the many ways that Occupational Therapists can assist individuals in achieving their goals, participate more fully in the activities that are meaningful to them and improve their quality of life.

Nadezhda Maisvoreva
This article was written by Nadezhda a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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