Whether you’re a recent graduate applying for your first school occupational therapist position or an experienced therapist looking to transition into the educational setting, understanding the pertinent interview questions will greatly enhance your chances of securing the job.

What is a School Occupational Therapist?

A school occupational therapist is a licensed professional who specializes in helping students develop and improve the skills necessary for their academic, social, and emotional success in a school setting. They work with students who have physical, cognitive, or sensory challenges, which might affect their performance in school activities.

In their role, school occupational therapists collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals, such as speech therapists and physical therapists, to develop and implement individualized plans to assist students in reaching their full potential.

Qualifications for School Occupational Therapists

School occupational therapists have the following qualifications:

  1. A minimum of a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in occupational therapy from an accredited institution.
  2. Passing score on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination.
  3. Licensure to practice occupational therapy in their state.

Types of School Occupational Therapist Interview Questions

Two primary types of occupational therapist interview questions, general interview questions and technical interview questions, serve different purposes in a school occupational therapist interview.

General interview questions are designed to assess the candidate’s overall personality, interpersonal skills, work ethic, and fit within the school environment. They often focus on the candidate’s background, experiences, and motivations for seeking the role.

On the other hand, technical interview questions aim to evaluate the candidate’s knowledge, expertise, and problem-solving abilities related to the specific responsibilities of a school occupational therapist. They often focus on the candidate’s understanding of various therapeutic interventions, assessments, and strategies for working with students with diverse needs.

Explore some common examples of OT interview questions below to help prepare yourself for an upcoming interview!

General School Occupational Therapist Interview Questions

  1. Can you briefly describe your background and experience as an occupational therapist, specifically in a school setting?
  2. Why did you choose occupational therapy as a career?
  3. What inspired you to work in a school setting?
  4. How do you collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals to create a comprehensive treatment plan for a student?
  5. What strategies do you use to manage and prioritize your caseload effectively?
  6. How do you handle difficult situations or conflicts with students, staff or parents?

Technical School Occupational Therapist Interview Questions

  1. What assessments do you typically use to evaluate a student’s occupational therapy needs?
  2. How do you determine appropriate goals and interventions for students on your caseload?
  3. Can you describe your experience working with students with autism, ADHD, or other specific conditions?
  4. How do you address sensory processing issues in a school setting?
  5. What strategies do you use to promote the development of fine motor skills in students?
  6. How do you collaborate with teachers and other professionals to support the implementation of occupational therapy services in the classroom?
  7. Can you provide an example of a successful intervention or strategy you have used to help a student overcome a specific challenge?

How to Prepare for Your School Occupational Therapist Interview

Do Your Research

Research the school and district you’re interviewing with, and if possible, look into the background of who will be interviewing you. Learn about the school’s values, philosophy, demographics, and any special programs or initiatives they offer. This information will help you tailor your responses during the interview and demonstrate your interest in the position.

In addition to researching the school and district, be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific responsibilities and qualifications outlined in the job posting. Reflect on how your skills, experience, and education align with the requirements.

Prepare Examples & Interview Answers

Think about situations where you have demonstrated your skills as an occupational therapist, particularly in a school setting or with children. Be prepared to share these examples as evidence of your expertise and ability to meet the demands of the role. In addition, it can be helpful to prepare some answers to the common interview questions above and practice answering them in a mock interview with a friend or family member.

Brainstorm Your Own Questions

At the end of your interview, be prepared to ask some thoughtful questions about the school, the position, and the team you would be working with. Not only does this show your genuine interest in the role, but it will help you better understand if this is the right role for you. Some example questions include:

  • What is the typical caseload size for an occupational therapist in this school district?
  • What are the key challenges that school-based occupational therapists face in this district, and what support is available to address these challenges?
  • What specific goals or objectives does the district have for its occupational therapy program in the coming years?
  • What resources are available to support occupational therapists in their work with students?
  • How does the district support continuing education and professional development for occupational therapists?
  • How does the school promote collaboration among staff members, particularly when addressing the needs of students with disabilities?
  • What opportunities are there for growth and advancement within the district for occupational therapists?

Don’t Show Up Empty-Handed

Bring multiple copies of your resume, cover letter, and any other relevant documents, such as your occupational therapy license, transcripts, or letters of recommendation. You may also want to bring a portfolio of your work, including examples of IEPs and intervention plans you have developed.

Believe in Yourself

Show off your confidence during the interview by practicing good body language and showing that you are engaged and attentive. Remember to maintain eye contact, sit up straight, avoid fidgeting, and nod and smile when appropriate.

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but try to stay calm and confident. Trust in your skills and experiences to help you succeed in the interview and secure the position. Once the interview is finished, send a thank-you email or note to the interviewer within 24 hours, expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to interview and reiterating your interest in the position.

Land Your Next School Occupational Therapist Interview

As you prepare for your interview, reflect on your experiences and skills, and convey your enthusiasm for helping children reach their full potential. Good luck on your journey to becoming a successful school-based occupational therapist!

Still trying to find your dream school-based occupational therapist position? There’s a high demand for occupational therapists right now, and with an incredible job outlook, now is a perfect time to apply for roles.

ProCare has a variety of school-based OT and certified occupational therapist assistant (COTA) openings nationwide looking for passionate professionals like you. ProCare’s team is equipped to help you land the role you want with job matching, interview, and licensing support, and once in your dream role, we offer ongoing career support, competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and more.

What are you waiting for? Embark on a deeply rewarding career path and start helping students in need today with ProCare’s school occupational therapist jobs!