Occupational Therapist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Occupational Therapist, or Physiotherapist is a healthcare worker who helps individuals with impairments, reach their career potential. Their duties include evaluating patients, designing treatment plans and monitoring patients progress. 


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Occupational Therapist duties and responsibilities 

Occupational Therapies assess patient conditions and develop treatment plans to help them recover, improve or develop better living habits. They also help patients manage their daily activities, time and social lifestyles. Their daily duties include:

  • Identifying the set of activities and motivations that might help patients work towards their goals 
  • Helping people with disabilities perform different activities such as dressing, eating and walking 
  • Demonstrating exercises that could potentially help improve the patient’s conditions or relieve pain
  • Evaluating the patients’ home and workplace environments in an effort to identify potential improvements to be made to improve their conditions 
  • Educating the patients’ families and friends about the right way to accommodate and care for them 
  • Recommending special equipment and medication, as well as instructing patients on how to use the equipment and take medications
  • Documenting and assessing the patient’s activities and progress, as well as creating reports for billing and evaluations 
  • Generating reports for patients and their physicians and families
  • Reporting a patient’s progress  to Physicians and other healthcare providers 


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Occupational Therapist Job Description Examples:


Example 1

NHS Lothian is committed to encouraging equality and diversity among our workforce, and eliminating unlawful discrimination. The aim is for our workforce to be truly representative and for each employee to feel respected and able to give their best. To this end, NHS Lothian welcomes applications from all sections of society. ***Please NOTE: We cannot accept late applications so please ensure your application is submitted early*** Fixed Term - 8 Months To provide a comprehensive service of assessment, diagnosis, treatment/appropriate management, onward referral and discharge to a diverse range of patients referred to the service To supervise and support Occupational Therapy assistants, clinical support workers, and students. This post requires the post holder to have a PVG Scheme membership/ record. If the post holder is not a current PVG member for the required regulatory group [website] child and/or adult) then an application will need to be made to Disclosure Scotland and deemed satisfactory before they can begin in post. For further information on what is included in the role and what skills/experience are being looked for, click on the links at the bottom of the screen to the job description and person specification. If after reading this information you have any questions please contact Angela Bryce on 0[phone number] or at

Example 2

An exciting opportunity to join NHS Tayside Perth & Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership Perth & Kinross Occupational Therapy Service Occupational Therapist – Band 7 Salary Scale: £40,872 - £47,846 per annum An exciting opportunity has arisen for a dynamic and innovative Occupational Therapist to join our friendly and enthusiastic Stroke Team. We are looking for an individual who is highly motivated and flexible in their approach, and is able to demonstrate excellent leadership, management, clinical assessment and rehabilitation of stroke patients. The successful candidate will have extensive experience working as an Occupational Therapist within physical rehabilitation services, possess excellent communication and decision making skills and have an exemplary approach to team working within an integrated Health and Social Care setting. You will join an experienced and committed multi professional Stroke Team in delivery of an integrated approach to the stroke pathway. You will be involved in supporting the Occupational Therapy Team in delivery of evidence based stroke care, develop and support service improvement both within Occupational Therapy and the wider Stroke Team, proactively engaging with colleagues across the Occupational Therapy stroke pathway to facilitate consistency of service delivery and innovation. You will need to have a flexible approach, be resourceful and enthusiastic in demonstrating the impact and added value that Occupational Therapy brings to the stroke pathway. Excellent time management, resilience and prioritisation skills are essential for delivery of an efficient and effective service Applicants are encouraged to take the opportunity of an informal visit in order to familiarise themselves PRI. Perth and Kinross Occupational Therapy Service provides excellent formal and informal supervision, actively supports individual development through performance development review and learning plans, provide a framework for encouraging CPD and promotes innovative practice. In line with the evidence base and the strategic direction of NHS Tayside, the Allied Health Professions, will be moving towards 7 day working. This is for improved outcomes and to maximise a person-centred equitable approach to care. Therefore all new contracts for AHP staff will be for a 5 out of 7 day service/rota to enable the service to be ready to move to a safe and effective 7 day service. Applicants must be registered with HCPC. For further information please contact Morag Ottley, Interim Clinical and Professional Team Manager on 01738 473703. Hours of work: 30 hours NHS Tayside is committed to equality and diversity and welcomes applicants from all sections of the community.

What does an Occupational Therapist do? 

Occupational Therapists help people become more productive in life and conquer obstacles when experiencing difficulties trying to do day-to-day activities. They do this by helping patients with disabilities, illnesses, injuries develop, recover and improve skills necessary for working and daily living. 

Some Occupational Therapists work with disabled children in educational settings. They evaluate disabled children’s needs and abilities, modify classroom equipment to accommodate specific disability and help them participate in school activities. Occupational Therapists also work with elderly people to help them lead more independent and proactive lives.


Occupational Therapist skills and qualifications

A successful Occupational Therapists candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications to perform their duties effectively, these include:

  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills 
  • Passion for helping people and improve their daily lives 
  • Open-mindedness and willingness to adopt new ideas and techniques
  • Trustworthiness and ability to earn the respect of their patients 
  • Patience and the ability to provide high- quality care to their patients 
  • In-depth medical knowledge to recommend the right treatment plans for patients 
  • Ability to solve problems 
  • Ability to work well in a team and independently 


Occupational Therapists experience requirements

Occupational Therapists must have several years of experience working in social care, health or a related field in wither a voluntary or paid role. Many employers prefer candidates who have shadowed a certified Occupational Therapist in charities, home shelters or residential homes. Some employers prefer candidates who have relevant work experience in more competitive areas of occupational therapy, such as paediatrics. Other employers accept candidates who worked at rehabilitation or occupational therapy assistant, support or technical worker level. 


Occupational Therapists education and training requirements

Occupational Therapists must have a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy. Some employers prefer candidates with an MSc in occupational therapy, a postgraduate diploma in occupational therapy or a degree-level apprenticeship in occupational therapy. Occupational Therapists in the UK must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). 

Occupational Therapists typically receive the training they need to perform their duties during their post-graduate internships. Most  complete short on-the-job-training sessions to deepen their knowledge  about their company’s workflows, procedures and processes.


Occupational Therapist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary of an Occupational Therapist in the UK is £33,550 per year. Their actual salary varies depending on factors, including their experience, education, geographical location and company. 


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Occupational Therapist job description FAQs


What's the difference between an Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapists?

An Occupational Therapist focuses on assessing and improving a patient’s functional ability, and how the patient uses cognitive and fine motor skills to perform activities that are meaningful to them. A Physical Therapist’s  works with patients suffering from injuries and specifically works on the gross motor functions of a patient. A Physical Therapist will focus on assessing, diagnosing and evaluating a patient’s injured structures and tissues, and may use acupuncture, exercise and massage therapy to treat these injuries. 


What are the different types of Occupational Therapists?

There are several types of Occupational Therapist. These include Gerontologists, who work with the elderly people; Mental Health Occupational Therapists, who assist individuals who are struggling with adverse life circumstances, such as adjustment and grief, stress, emotions and parenting; and Paediatric Occupational Therapists, who work with children and young people who have a disability or impairment. 


Who does an Occupational Therapist report to?

Occupational Therapists working in hospital facilities may report to the Head Nurse, Chief Nursing Officer or Physician. 

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