Occupational Therapy Board of Australia - New competency standards published for Australian occupational therapists
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New competency standards published for Australian occupational therapists

20 Feb 2018

Today the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (the Board) has published the new Australian occupational therapy competency standards (the competency standards).

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 the professional behaviours all occupational therapists should demonstrate to practise safely and ethically. They apply to all occupational therapists whether you are working in research, education, management or a role that may not involve direct care.

The Board has developed the new competency standards to acknowledge changes in the profession since it first became nationally regulated on 1 July 2012. The new competency standards replace the Australian competency standards for new graduate occupational therapists which were previously developed by Occupational Therapy Australia.

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. The new competency standards will take effect from 1 January 2019.

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 new competency standards are the result of two years of research and extensive wide-ranging consultation with the profession, educators, the Board’s accreditation authority, members of the public and consumers of occupational therapy services. The Board would like acknowledge the invaluable contributions that were provided by its Competency Standards Reference Group and Competency Standards Advisory Panel, as well as the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Occupational Therapy Network, Indigenous Allied Health Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s Community Reference Group.

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.

For more information about the new competency standards, including resources that can be used within practice settings please visit www.occupationaltherapyboard.gov.au/competencies.

Page reviewed 20/02/2018