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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'll need:

  • degree, or postgraduate qualification in occupational therapy approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • registration with the HCPC
  • to pass enhanced background checks as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults

To do a degree in occupational therapy, you’ll usually need:

  • 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)

To do a postgraduate course in occupational therapy, you'll usually need a degree in a related subject and some relevant paid or voluntary work experience.

UCAS has information on degree courses and entry requirements .

You can apply for student finance to cover fees and living costs.

Before you apply for a course, it's a good idea to get some experience or knowledge of the profession. You could do this by contacting the occupational therapy unit at your local hospital, to ask how you could get involved.

You could also start out as an occupational therapy support worker. With support from your employer, you could take a degree while you're working and then register with the HCPC.

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

National Government Policy states that all students should have achieved at least a Grade 4 or C Grade in English & Maths at GCSE.  Achieving this minimum grade in these subjects will increase the opportunities open to you, support your future career development and prospects.

Students who do not meet this standard will be supported to continue to study English and Maths through full-time education or an Apprenticeship.

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

Starting Salary

£21,500 to £41,000

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