Australian occupational therapy competency standards

The new Australian occupational therapy competency standards (the competency standards) have been in effect since 1 January 2019. The Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (the Board) expects all occupational therapists to understand and apply them in their practice.

The competency standards outline professional behaviours all occupational therapists should demonstrate to practise safely and ethically. They affect occupational therapists working across all practice settings, including research, education, management and other roles not involving direct contact with clients.

The competency standards replace the Australian competency standards for new graduate occupational therapists previously developed by Occupational Therapy Australia. They have been developed after extensive wide-ranging consultation and acknowledge changes in the profession since it first became nationally regulated on 1 July 2012.

The competency standards specifically acknowledge the need for occupational therapists to enhance their cultural responsiveness and capabilities for practice with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The competency standards focus on four conceptual areas of occupational therapy practice: professionalism, knowledge and learning, occupational therapy process and practice, and communication. Each of these is supported by a number of practice behaviours which address specific core competencies.

How can I apply the competency standards?

What is safe and competent occupational therapy practice can be demonstrated through the use, reflection and application of the competency standards in all fields of occupational therapy practice.
They can be used by:

  • employers to determine what should be expected of a competent occupational therapy workforce
  • education providers to inform the design of programs of study to produce safe and competent new graduates, and
  • the public and consumers to identify the expected behaviours that an occupational therapist should demonstrate.

Resources for occupational therapists

The resources below are designed to help you understand and apply the competency standards to your occupational therapy practice easily.

The Board has produced the following animated video which provides an overview of the competency standards:

 
 
Page reviewed 8/03/2019