Home Explore Job Ideas Occupational Therapist

Job Description

Occupational Therapists will devise individual treatment programmes to help people overcome illnesses, injury, accidents and age which will help them live normal independent lives. Tasks could include things like, teaching somebody who has had a stroke how to dress themselves, suggesting ways in which to adapt the home or place of work to overcome temporary or permanent disabilities or generally advising people on how to adapt their lives and adjust to their situation.

Entry Requirements

You can get into this role through a university course, an apprenticeship or a work based route.

University

You can do a degree in occupational therapy approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

If you have a degree in a related subject, you may be able to do a postgraduate conversion course

Entry requirements for your degree course are usually

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including maths and English
  • 2 to 3 A levels, including at least one science subject (biology may be preferred)

University course search

Apprenticeship

You can do an occupational therapist degree apprenticeship

You will usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English and maths 
  • 2 or 3 A levels or equivalent 
Work based route

You could start as an occupational therapy support worker and study for a degree part time to qualify as an occupational therapist

There are no set entry requirements for an OT support worker but some employers may ask for GCSEs in English and maths or a BTEC or equivalent vocational qualification in health and social care

Career Tips

You will find it helpful to get some work experience or volunteering experience in care or healthcare work before you apply for training.  You could also get some knowledge of the profession by contacting the occupational therapy unit at your local hospital, to ask how you could get involved.

You will need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council

You will also need to pass enhanced background checks as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults

Health Careers has information about occupational therapy careers.

Career Path and Progression

You could progress to senior clinician or head of occupational therapy services in the NHS. You may also be able to move into general health or social services management.

You could also go into private practice, education or research.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Art therapist
  • Speech and language therapist
  • Learning disability nurse
  • Occupational health nurse
  • Occupational therapy support worker

Required Skills

  • Patience and perseverance in helping patients who are not willing to accept their situation
  • Good communication skills
  • A creative and adaptable approach
  • The ability to create individual treatment plans
  • Good problem solving skills
  • Mental and physical strength and stamina
  • A strong desire to help others
  • A good sense of humour

Salary Range

£24,214 to £43,772

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