Occupational therapists


​As an occupational therapist, you will provide services to students enrolled in state educational facilities within a region, including primary and secondary schools, special schools, and children registered for early childhood development programs or services.

Occupational therapy services in the Department of Education (DoE) aim to meet the specific needs of students with disability that influence their occupational performance (i.e. what students need to do at school). The purpose of DoE occupational therapy services in state schools is to promote students' well-being, participation and success in the daily occupations of school life, such as studying, playing and working.

Occupational therapists use specialised knowledge of the skills and abilities required for learning and occupational performance at school (including movement and sensory, cognitive and psychosocial skills), along with expertise in design of tasks, environments and equipment to deliver evidence-informed strategies for occupational success. Services are delivered through collaboration and embedding advice in curriculum activities and classroom routines to enhance learning engagement and achievement.

Departmental occupational therapists are committed to working collaboratively with other team members, including those from other agencies, to achieve the best possible education outcomes for students with a disability.

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Jackie: why DoE is the employer of choice for OTs (0.40mins, 1.8MB)
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Jennifer: tips for newly-appointed OTs (0.27mins, 1.2MB)
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Angela: what she enjoys about working in schools (1.17mins, 3.5MB)
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Role descriptions

General information about your role can be found in Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Services in State Schools Revised edition​.

Jackie: "What is unique about the role of the OT in education?" (0.40mins, 1.8MB)
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Deb: a typical day in the life of a DoE occupational therapist (1.18mins, 3.5MB)
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Line manager

If you are a school-based occupational therapist, your line manager is the school principal or Head of Special Education Services (HOSES) of your base school.

If you are based in a service centre, your line manager will likely be the Principal Education Officer, or the Principal Advisor, Education Services.

Professional supervision is provided by the Senior Advisor Occupational Therapy or Senior Occupational Therapy Officer.

Jackie: information about professional support for OTs working in education (0.33mins, 1.5MB)
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Employment conditions

Occupational therapists are employed under public sector awards and certified agreements.

Occupational therapists are classified as exempt Registered Health Practitioners under the Working with Children Blue Card system. However, if you become involved in out-of-school activities that differ from the duties expected of your position you may require a Blue Card to undertake those activities.

Jennifer: "What have you enjoyed in your first few months working in schools?" (0.20mins, 912KB)
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Professional learning

Your professional induction will include information on:

  • workload management
  • use of professional frameworks
  • training materials and assessment tools
  • how occupational therapy services are provided in an educational context.

Various opportunities for professional development are published on the Professional Development website. You will find current opportunities in the Professional Development Calendars under the year and month of interest.

Deb responds to the question, "Tips to pass on to new colleagues?" (0.49mins, 2.3MB)
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Professional interactions

You will have relationships with other government agencies, other professionals, students, parents, carers and educators in the course of your work.

Natasha speaks about the team she works with (0.27mins, 1.2MB)
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Angela: "How is being an OT in the school setting different to other OT roles?" and "Top tip for working with teachers?" (1.12mins, 3.3MB)
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Jennifer speaks about what she has found most helpful in her first months as a therapist working in schools (0.32mins, 1.5MB)
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There are many online resources to assist occupational therapists to become familiar with their role and responsibilities.

Deb: resources she uses to help her in her work (0.48mins, 2.2MB)
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Jackie: "What is important for new OTs in DoE​?" (0.34mins, 1.8MB)
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Angela: her reasons for recommending work in education to other OTs (0.40mins, 1.5MB)
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Last updated 15 February 2023