Australian occupational therapy competency standards

The Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (the Board) published the new Australian occupational therapy competency standards (the competency standards) on 20 February 2018.

They are being released now to allow the profession to become familiar with the new requirements before they take effect on 1 January 2019.

The new competency standards outline professional behaviours all occupational therapists should demonstrate to practise safely and ethically. They will affect occupational therapists working across all practice settings, including research, education, management and other roles not involving direct contact with clients - so it’s important you know what they are.

They will replace the Australian competency standards for new graduate occupational therapists previously developed by Occupational Therapy Australia and have been developed to acknowledge changes in the profession since it first became nationally regulated on 1 July 2012.

The new competency standards also 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.

Page reviewed 20/02/2018