Aquatic Therapy Specialist Job Description [Updated for 2024]

aquatic therapy specialist job description

In the realm of physical rehabilitation, the spotlight on aquatic therapy specialists has never been brighter.

The field of therapy continues to evolve, and with each advancement, the demand for skilled professionals who can employ, enhance, and safeguard our aquatic therapy techniques grows.

But let’s delve deeper: What’s truly expected from an aquatic therapy specialist?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the nuances of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply fascinated by the world of aquatic therapy,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable aquatic therapy specialist job description template, designed for easy posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right into it.

Aquatic Therapy Specialist Duties and Responsibilities

Aquatic Therapy Specialists are health professionals who utilize water-based exercises and treatments to help patients recover from various illnesses or injuries, and improve their physical fitness.

They work with patients of all ages and fitness levels, from young athletes to elderly individuals with chronic conditions.

The duties and responsibilities of an Aquatic Therapy Specialist include:

  • Evaluating the patient’s health status, physical abilities, and therapeutic needs
  • Developing and implementing individualized aquatic therapy programs to meet the patient’s goals
  • Utilizing water-based techniques and exercises to improve balance, strength, coordination, and endurance
  • Providing hands-on assistance to patients during aquatic therapy sessions
  • Monitoring the patient’s progress and adjusting the therapy program as necessary
  • Educating patients and their families about the benefits and procedures of aquatic therapy
  • Ensuring safety and comfort of patients during therapy sessions
  • Maintaining patient records, documenting therapy sessions, progress, and any changes in the patient’s condition
  • Working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians and physical therapists, to coordinate patient care
  • Maintaining cleanliness and sanitation of the pool area and therapy equipment


Aquatic Therapy Specialist Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking a dedicated Aquatic Therapy Specialist to join our team.

The Aquatic Therapy Specialist will be responsible for providing therapeutic exercise programs and treatments in water environments.

Our ideal candidate has a strong background in physical or occupational therapy, with a special focus on aquatic therapy.

This individual should be compassionate, patient, and have a deep understanding of the therapeutic benefits of water-based treatments.



  • Develop and implement aquatic therapy programs tailored to patient needs
  • Monitor patient progress and adjust treatments as necessary
  • Work closely with other healthcare professionals to create comprehensive treatment plans
  • Ensure all safety and hygiene standards are met within the aquatic facility
  • Provide patient education on exercises to be performed at home
  • Record and report on patients’ status and progress
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of advancements in the field of aquatic therapy



  • Proven experience as an Aquatic Therapy Specialist or similar role
  • Graduate of an accredited Physical or Occupational Therapy program
  • Valid license to practice physical or occupational therapy
  • Additional certification in Aquatic Therapy is a plus
  • Excellent knowledge of physiology and kinesiology
  • Knowledge of aquatic therapy equipment and treatments
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Aquatic Therapy Specialist
  • Work Environment: Primarily in a rehabilitation center or hospital with a pool facility. This position may require working on weekends or evenings.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Rehabilitation Services Manager.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does an Aquatic Therapy Specialist Do?

An Aquatic Therapy Specialist typically works in healthcare settings like rehabilitation centers, hospitals, or private clinics, providing specialized therapeutic services to patients in a water-based environment.

They are experts in utilizing the unique properties of water, such as buoyancy, resistance, and thermal conductivity, to design and implement therapeutic interventions for patients with a variety of conditions.

These conditions may include musculoskeletal disorders, neurological conditions, post-surgical rehab needs, chronic pain, and more.

Their primary task involves planning, coordinating, and implementing individualized aquatic therapy programs to meet the specific needs of each patient.

This includes teaching exercises that improve flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, and overall function.

Aquatic Therapy Specialists also monitor and document patients’ progress, ensuring that the therapy is effective and safe.

They need to make necessary adjustments to the program to optimize patient outcomes.

In addition, they also educate patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals about the benefits and limitations of aquatic therapy, making sure everyone involved understands the rehabilitation process.

They must maintain a clean, safe, and inviting therapy pool environment, following all health and safety regulations to ensure the well-being of their patients.

An important part of their job is to stay updated on the latest research and advancements in aquatic therapy, which allows them to provide the best possible care to their patients.

In some cases, they may also be responsible for managing and training other aquatic therapy staff members.


Aquatic Therapy Specialist Qualifications and Skills

An Aquatic Therapy Specialist requires a unique combination of physical and interpersonal skills, as well as knowledge about water-based therapies, including:

  • Understanding of aquatic therapy principles and techniques to design and implement effective treatment plans for patients.
  • Physical strength and endurance, as the job often requires assisting patients in the pool, demonstrating exercises, and potentially providing lifesaving aid.
  • Strong communication skills to clearly explain treatment plans and exercises to patients, answer their questions, and communicate their progress to other healthcare professionals.
  • Empathy and patience to work with patients who may be experiencing discomfort or fear, and to encourage them throughout their treatment.
  • Problem-solving skills to adapt exercises and treatment plans based on the unique needs and progress of each patient.
  • Knowledge of safety regulations and procedures to ensure the wellbeing of patients at all times.
  • Ability to work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with other professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and physicians.
  • Professional certifications such as Certified Aquatic Therapist (CAT), or equivalent, to demonstrate a recognized level of competence in the field.


Aquatic Therapy Specialist Experience Requirements

An Aquatic Therapy Specialist often requires a degree in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy or a related field and a substantial amount of practical experience in aquatic therapies.

Entry-level Aquatic Therapy Specialists typically have at least 1 to 2 years of relevant clinical experience, often gained through internships or part-time roles in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, or sports medicine clinics.

After certification and licensure, they can gain on-the-job experience in roles such as Rehabilitation Specialist, Occupational Therapist, or other health and wellness-related roles.

Candidates with more than 3 years of experience often have developed their patient care skills and knowledge in using aquatic therapies for a variety of conditions.

At this stage, they may be ready to take on more complex cases or patients with severe conditions.

Those with more than 5 years of experience often have some supervisory or managerial experience and may be ready to lead a team of therapists or manage a therapy department at a large healthcare facility.

They may also have experience in designing and implementing aquatic therapy programs.

Continuing education and additional certifications in aquatic therapy are usually beneficial and could lead to advancement opportunities.


Aquatic Therapy Specialist Education and Training Requirements

Aquatic Therapy Specialists typically require a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field such as physical therapy or occupational therapy.

They must also complete clinical rotations and gain hands-on experience in the field of aquatic therapy.

This involves training in the therapeutic use of water for pain relief and treatment, including techniques for improving balance, strength, and coordination.

Aquatic Therapy Specialists must also be certified in CPR and have a lifeguard certification.

Some employers might also require a Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certification.

After gaining their bachelor’s degree, many Aquatic Therapy Specialists go on to earn a master’s degree in physical therapy or occupational therapy, often specializing in aquatic therapy.

In order to become a licensed Aquatic Therapy Specialist, individuals must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination or the National Occupational Therapy Examination, depending on their field of study.

Some practitioners further their education and training by gaining certifications through organizations such as the Aquatic Therapy Rehabilitation Institute or the American Physical Therapy Association.

Continuing education is important in this field to stay up to date with the latest techniques and research.


Aquatic Therapy Specialist Salary Expectations

An Aquatic Therapy Specialist earns an average salary of $76,600 (USD) per year.

The actual earnings can significantly vary depending on factors such as years of professional experience, geographic location, level of education, and the size and type of the employing organization.


Aquatic Therapy Specialist Job Description FAQs

What skills does an Aquatic Therapy Specialist need?

Aquatic Therapy Specialists should have a comprehensive understanding of human physiology, kinesiology, and the principles of water therapy.

They should possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills to understand their clients’ needs and provide the most effective therapy.

They should also have physical stamina to assist clients in the water and should be competent swimmers.


Do Aquatic Therapy Specialists need a degree?

Aquatic Therapy Specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy or a related field.

They also need to be certified or licensed in physical therapy, and hold a specialist certification in Aquatic Therapy.

The exact requirements may vary by state, so it’s essential to check the local regulations.


What should you look for in an Aquatic Therapy Specialist resume?

Look for a degree in physical therapy or a related field, as well as licensure and certification in Aquatic Therapy.

Check for experience in aquatic therapy settings and look for demonstrated skills in working with various patient populations.

Other desirable qualities include physical stamina, strong swimming ability, and excellent interpersonal skills.


What qualities make a good Aquatic Therapy Specialist?

A good Aquatic Therapy Specialist is patient, empathetic, and has excellent communication skills.

They are knowledgeable about a variety of therapeutic techniques and exercises, and are able to adapt these to each patient’s needs.

Good Aquatic Therapy Specialists also have a strong understanding of safety procedures and protocols in an aquatic environment.


Is it difficult to hire Aquatic Therapy Specialists?

The hiring difficulty can depend on your location and the specific requirements of the role.

Some areas have a higher concentration of qualified Aquatic Therapy Specialists than others.

If the role requires a lot of experience or specialized skills, it may be more challenging to fill.

However, providing competitive compensation and creating a supportive work environment can help attract top talent.



And there you have it.

Today, we dived beneath the surface to explore the real essence of being an aquatic therapy specialist.


It’s not just about swimming.

It’s about crafting a healthier and fitter future, one stroke at a time.

With our reliable aquatic therapy specialist job description template and real-life examples, you’re primed and ready to dive in.

But why stop there?

Immerse yourself further with our job description generator. It’s your next leap toward meticulously crafted listings or optimizing your resume to perfection.


Every stroke counts towards the bigger journey.

Let’s swim towards that future. Together.

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