Healthcare | Social care
Occupational therapists help people overcome difficulties caused by physical or mental illness, disability, accidents or ageing.
£24,907 Starter - £62,001 Experienced
35 to 40 a week (9am to 5pm)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
a university course
working towards this role
You can do a degree in occupational therapy, approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.
You may be able to do a postgraduate conversion course if you've got a degree in a related subject like biological science, health science or psychology.
You'll usually need 2 to 3 A-Levels, or equivalent, for a degree. You'll need a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study.
You can do an occupational therapist degree apprenticeship. You'll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A-Levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship.
You could start as an occupational therapy support worker. With backing from your employer, you could study for a degree part time to qualify as an occupational therapist. You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in care or healthcare work before you apply for training.
You'll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of psychology
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- sensitivity and understanding
- to be flexible and open to change
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
What you’ll do
In this role, you could:
- teach a patient recovering from a stroke how to do things for themselves
- encourage someone with depression to take up a hobby or activity
- suggest ways to adapt an office so that an employee injured in a car accident can return to work
- support patients to manage permanent physical disabilities
- help people with learning disabilities to live independently
- keep notes about clients' progress
advise and support clients and their families and carers.
You could work at a client's home, in an NHS or private hospital, at a client's business, at a GP practice or at an adult care home.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
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.