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CARF® Compliant Job Descriptions

CARF® Compliant Job Descriptions

The purpose of job descriptions is to provide an understanding of expectations for staff members.  Well written job descriptions help eliminate misunderstandings and confusion within an organization.  A clear understanding of duties will assist in providing a harmonious work environment while helping to protect against turn-over and potential legal issues.

Writing Basics

Job descriptions should never be written for a specific person.  The job description is complete and general enough that any change in staffing will only require an assignment of the job title with the corresponding description to any individual assigned. Similar formatting should be used to create all job descriptions. Job titles should reflect the position described, that is common to similar job titles in the industry.  Accreditation Now provides sample job descriptions in the Documents section, Group One, section I. Human Resources, 10.01, 10.11.

Leadership Structure


Job Title: Human Resource Manager

Supervisor: Chief Operations Officer

Positions Supervised: Human Resource Assistant, Payroll Manager, Safety Officer

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt

Most employees are entitled to specific protections under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) pertaining to wages, overtime wages, record keeping, etc.  These employees are Non-Exempt.  Some salaried employees may be exempt from these regulations.  The job description should identify if the job is Exempt or Non-Exempt.


Provide a brief description of the primary responsibilities assigned to the position. The summary should provide an overview of duties and expectations. The level of detail will depend on the complexity of the position.


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for the management of the entire organization, including marketing, development, human resources, finance, communications, strategic planning, and clinical programs.  The CEO represents the organization to the Board of Directors and key stakeholders. The CEO leads the organization in meeting the highest level of ethical and moral standards.

The Receptionist is responsible for initiating a welcoming, comfortable, first point of contact.  The Receptionist greets incoming visitors, answers and directs incoming calls, provides filing and light clerical duties.


Duties and Skills

The main body of the job description may be written in narrative, numbered, bullet point, or a combination of formats.  Include as much detail as possible.  Information on content can be researched through observation of current practices, and interviews with staff members, supervisors and managers.  Internet research on similar positions is particularly valuable for helping to identify specific duties that may have been overlooked.

Including both, tangible and intangible skills, helps secure desired outcomes by setting the expectation level. Providing detailed expectations helps avoid misunderstanding.

Wrong – Communicates with vendors.

Right – Utilizes professional communication skills in phone, email and in-person contact with vendors.


Detail the required level of formal education and specialized training.  List any special equipment knowledge or software that will be used.  Include any licensing or continuing education requirements.

Physical Demands

Physical demands will include any physical activities that the employee will be engaging in on a regular or occasional bases.


This position requires sitting for several hours at a time with occasional standing or stooping.


This position requires regular lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling or otherwise moving objects weighing up to 50 pounds.

Working Conditions

Describe the environment in which the individual will perform their duties.  Will they be working in a temperature controlled environment or will they be working outside? Does the work potentially expose them to contagious or infectious diseases? Does the environment expose them to volatile situations that pose a risk of bodily harm?


CARF® standards require that a member of management review job descriptions, at least, annually.  This ensures that any changes that may develop in a particular job description are noted and conveyed to the employee and other affected staff members. In addition, each staff member is required to view their own job description, at least, annually.

Management Reviews –When performing a review of each job description it is helpful to ask the following:

  • What has changed?
  • Were there any compliance issues that might indicate a need to revise?
  • Were there any critical incidents that indicate a need to revise?
  • Have any positions been eliminated that would transfer responsibilities?
  • Were any positions added that would transfer responsibilities?
  • Does our performance improvement plan indicate a need for change?

Employee Reviews – Make sure employees are comfortable requesting clarification on anything they do not understand.  If a substantial change occurs in a job description consider additional training and/or internal memorandums. An employee acknowledgement is required whenever there is a change to the job description.

The Accreditation Now electronic job description review function can send automated reminders to staff members when their job descriptions are due for review.

Paper verses Electronic

Paper job description reviews are much more cumbersome and time consuming than the electronic system provided through Accreditation Now. The CARF® Surveyor would need to review separate job descriptions for each staff member, if using hard-copy reviews.  Each staff member’s job description will require signatures from management and individual staff member and signatory dates.  If, for example, you employ 20 therapists with the same job description, your surveyor would need to review each of the 20 job descriptions for one job title. Using the electronic system, the CARF® surveyor would only review the job description once and check an additional report for acknowledgment of all staff members.

Job Description Survey Preparation

Print each job description, management job description review report and employee job description review report. These may be presented with other employee related files.

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