Frequently Asked Questions About Employment

Occupational therapy work settings can be extremely different! One advantage of a small company is our ability to try to meet individual needs and preferences. An employee has direct access to the person who makes the final decision about policies and financial issues.

1. What would a typical caseload be (i.e., is there a varied age range or do some therapists choose to work with preschool vs. schools age) and how many children would a full-time therapist have on a caseload?

Part of the reason we have remained “hourly” is so that each therapist can determine how hard he/she wants to work. We have some very part-time therapists who are parents of young children, as well as full-time therapists. Even within the full-time therapists, there is a difference in the financial need of each person and/or family. Would you want a 4-day work week or 5 days? How often/how many evaluations would you be interested in doing? If some of your clients are more physically or mentally draining, you may not want an additional client on that day; however, another day could be different.

Part of the specifics becomes a logistical issue. Typically, parents want us to schedule therapy so that their child does not miss school. Therefore, we can schedule younger children who may not be in a 5-day program or those who are “home-schooled” in the mornings. Occasionally special education preschools are only 4 mornings and those children can come in the morning. Occasionally, there will be a child in an afternoon kindergarten program or whose program does not begin until a little later who also wants or can take a morning therapy time. There are other children in preschool and kindergarten who want early afternoon times. As the day goes on, the children coming in tend to be older. However, there are also some younger children whose parents work full-time, the child attends a full day program, or otherwise need a later time. We ALWAYS have families that want 3 to 6 p.m. times and do not have as many requests for morning times. This is why some days we may start later and work later.

Initially, think of 6 treatments a day (25-30 hours full-time) as being a full day. After a therapist adjusts to the clinic, routines, and schedule, we can talk about additional clients, or other adjustments to the schedule. It is most appropriate to begin with 6 treatments.

2. How are clients assigned to therapists?

Initially, the director does the scheduling, trying to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each therapist, clinic room availability, and clients on our waiting list (or needing to be transferred from another caseload). The director is always open to the preferences of the therapist, as well as if there are skills the therapist would like to develop (and therefore needs a certain type of client on their caseload) but that also has to be tempered with the reality of who the clients are that we have available and how long they have been on our waiting list.

3. Does your clinic provide all therapy materials, assessment kits/forms, etc. or is that the responsibility of the therapist?

As an employee, all supplies, materials, etc. are provided by the clinic. The director is open to recommendations for purchases of new toys/equipment/materials.

4. At my current job, an hourly fee-for-service OT treatment session involves 45 minutes of direct treatment time and 15 minutes of indirect time (which includes planning, set up, take down, documentation, and administrative tasks such as photocopying handouts, etc.). I have found that 15 minutes of indirect time was not always enough time to even set up and take down equipment, let alone document. Most therapists I have worked with have found that completing these activities in 15 minutes is quite challenging. I was wondering how therapists at your clinic do it all in just 10 minutes.

An aide and/or volunteer can often help a therapist with setup or clean-up. However, consideration of time management may be why a therapist should initially think about 6 treatments per day. We do not schedule more than 4 clients in a row (before at least a 1/2 hour break or more). If you think of 6 treatments in an 8-hour workday, then there is time for the remainder of the work needed. It also works out when thinking about the pay. If the rate of pay is $55 x 6 = $330; for an 8-hour day that would be equivalent to $41.25 per hour.

5. Would there be opportunities to run groups? I really enjoy and have experience running several fine motor groups, printing and writing programs and “How Does your Engine Run?” groups.

This again becomes a logistical issue. Many years ago we did groups, especially on Saturdays. However, now we have such demand for individual therapy and due to the space requirements of groups, it makes the logistics difficult. What type of space is needed for the group? Would other therapists be able to see treatments at the same time as the group? We are not opposed to it, but it would be something that we would really have to talk about to make the logistics work. Certainly parents would be interested in Saturday groups, but therapists usually decide they would rather not work every Saturday. However, if that is an interest, at least groups are time limited and so a Saturday commitment would not have to be long-term.

6. Are there opportunities to run workshops for parents, educational assistants, teachers, etc.?

This is definitely a possibility. There are regular requests for brief talks (2 hours) and it is likely there would be a community interest in more formal educational presentations. For example, parents (and possibly teachers) would probably be willing to pay for a workshop to learn how to implement “The Alert Program”.

7. Are there Speech Pathologists or Physical Therapists on staff or just Occupational Therapists at the clinic?

Our clinic only has OTs. That is our specialization. We do have many professionals in the community with whom we work closely and exchange referrals.

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Information on this website should not be construed as medical or therapy advice and is provided only as general information. Please consult your physician or an occupational therapist for specific advice for you or your child.