Occupational therapist

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

Average salary (a year)

£24,907 Starter

to

£62,001 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

9am to 5pm

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.

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.

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 and experience

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

More information

Registration

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

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
  • 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:

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 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.

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

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.

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

Science Access to HE Diploma L3 (Health)

  • Provider: CITY COLLEGE NORWICH
  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: NORWICH

ACCESS TO HE DIPLOMA: HEALTH SCIENCE PROFESSIONS (CHEMISTRY ROUTE) (CAVA)

  • Provider: CRAVEN COLLEGE
  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: SKIPTON

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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