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Occupational therapist

Alternative titles for this job include

Occupational therapists help people overcome difficulties caused by physical or mental illness, disability, accidents or ageing.

Average salary (a year)

£25,654 Starter

to

£45,838 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

9am to 5pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an occupational therapist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You can do a degree in occupational therapy, approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Courses combine practical placements with academic study.

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
  • psychology

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

Apprenticeship

You can do an occupational therapist degree apprenticeship.

This typically takes 4 years to complete and is a combination of workplace learning and academic study with an approved university.

Entry requirements

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

More Information

Work

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.

Volunteering

You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in care or healthcare work before you apply for training.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

More Information

Registration

Career tips

When applying for courses and jobs, you'll be expected to have an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.

Further information

You can find out more about careers and training in occupational therapy from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • 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:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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 an 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.

Working environment

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could specialise, for example in elderly care or services for children.

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

With experience and further training you could move on to more senior and management roles within the NHS.

There are also opportunities for occupational therapists to work overseas.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an occupational therapist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

ACCESS to Higher Education Health Science Professions

  • Provider: LUMINATE EDUCATION GROUP
  • Start date: 12 September 2022
  • Location: Keighley

Access to HE (Health Sciences)

  • Provider: HAVANT AND SOUTH DOWNS COLLEGE
  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: Waterlooville

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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