6 Steps to the Right OT Job
I'm a huge believer that providing great OT care begins with finding the right place to serve. To help you find the right job, I've collected resources for OTs and COTAs and divided them into 6 steps.
Discover Available Jobs
Start with this general search...
This board will give you an overview of jobs in your area. If nothing is jumping out at you, scroll on for more options.
Check out these additional job boards
These occupational therapy jobs boards are listed in the order that I would recommend them.
Look nationwide, if you have the option
I'm always on the hunt for particularly unique opportunities that might be worth making a move for! Here's the current opening that I'm hoping to connect the right OT with:
Reach Out to Your Network
If you're still not finding the right OT job, I recommend reaching out to your network. OT is the a tight community and some of the best opportunities arise person to person. For example, I've landed an interview through a FB message exchange.
For people who are interested in traveling occupational therapy jobs....
This is a totally different job hunt process. Instead of looking for a specific posting, you are looking for the right recruiter and company to work with.
When it comes to finding the right travel company, the process can be overwhelming. Below are companies that I've been recommended over the years:
- Anders Group
- Ardor Health Solutions
- Aureus Medical Group
- Comp Health
- Core Medical Group
- Jackson Therapy Partners
- Pioneer Healthcare Services
If you are just starting to consider this option, I highly recommend my interview with Emily Butler about life as a traveling occupational therapist. The Facebook Group Travel Therapists is also an awesome resource!
Research Potential Companies
Not all companies are created equal.
Before even applying, please take time to research individual companies online. You do not want to be surprised by something like unrealistic productivity levels.
Glassdoor is a great place to start.
If you are looking at multiple companies, consider making a spreadsheet of the different benefits each one offers. You can start this before even applying and add to it as your progress through the job hunting process.
This image gives you an idea of what a spreadsheet could look for in researching travel companies.
After narrowing in on particular positions, it is time to apply. If your resume needs some work, this blog post on How to Make Your OT Resume Stand Out can help.
This is always the most nerve racking part for me. If you need some help prepping for your own interview, check out Nail Your Occupational Therapy Job Interview.
Please keep in mind that the interview is also your chance to ask questions. Below are some questions that were suggested in interviews I conducted with an an acute care therapist and SNF therapist.
- What opportunities for growth exist?
- What is the staff tenure?
- Is there organizational funded continuing education?
- Are there productivity requirements?
- How does the rehab department fit into the economy of the organization?
- How is OT regarded and viewed professionally within the rehab department and organization as a whole?
- Is the company providing OT services for the SNF internal or an external company?
- Vacation time?
- Do they encourage program development?
- What are your work hours and what happens if your census is low as a full-time employee?
- What type of documentation system do they use?
- Are you involved in care conferences with the patient and families?
- What is the percentage of long-term care residence versus short term rehab?
In most cases, I believe that you should negotiate your initial offer. This may include salary negotiations, but there are other important factors you could consider, including:
- Unpaid leave for already scheduled trips
- Mutually beneficial continuing education
- The ideal schedule
- AOTA and NBCOT membership
- Loan Repayment options
Check out my post, Occupational Therapy Job Negotiations for more info.
Finding the right OT job is, of course, just the beginning to providing great care. But landing a job you are excited about is certainly worth taking time to celebrate! If you think of it, please consider sharing a post on your first day on the job with the tag #newOTjob! We would love to celebrate with you!
Some Words of Encouragement
One of the great parts about being an OT is that there are so many settings where our skills are needed. You can spend a decade working with children and then move to working on an Alzheimer's unit.
But, having such diverse options means that job hunting may not be straightforward. You may not know what practice area is right for you. You might be passionate about a particular niche but be unable to find a job in that practice area. Or you might just be curious about another opportunity but concerned about leaving your current employment.
My advice is to stay open and continually re-evaluate what is right for you. When I graduated I wanted to work in mental health, but I couldn't find a job so I ended up in a hospital setting. The hospital setting was invaluable in solidifying my OT skills and also helped me pay down my debt much faster than mental health work would have. When a mental health job did come available I was able to take it and was much more prepared than I would have been straight out of school.
Wherever you are on your journey, I wish you the best of luck.
Bonus Content: Where to Post an Occupational Therapy Job?
If you are on the other end of the spectrum and looking to post an occupational therapy job, there are many options for you. Here is quick rundown of the options and an overview of prices.
- ZipRecruiter- If you would like to be on Potential's jobs board, you can submit your posting to ZipRecruiter here and it will make its way to this board. Free to post. Pay per click.
- Indeed- Another popular option! You can post for free or sponsor a job for as little as $5/month.
- Simply Hired- Recently partnered with Indeed. Same pricing options apply.
- Covalent Careers- This is a new healthcare-specific jobs board I am watching. You can post your first job for free. The next tier of pricing is $699/month.
- LinkedIn- If you have a business page, you can post a job directly to LinkedIn. Pricing varies according the job title and geographical location.
- Facebook- Facebook is brand new to the job postings arena. I will keep you posted on details as they come out!
- Relode- Relode is another healthcare-specific jobs search start-up. Pricing info is not readily available.
Never underestimate the power of reaching out to your local network. Email the OTs you know in the area and let them know that you have an opening. You can also check with your local state association to see if they offer the option to share jobs with their mailing list.