Osteopaths move, stretch and massage their clients' muscles and joints with the aim of improving their health and wellbeing.

Average salary (a year)


Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 variable

You could work

in your own business managing your own hours

How to become an osteopath

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • professional development training


To work as an osteopath, you need to complete a degree or postgraduate master's degree approved by the General Osteopathic Council.

Courses are usually full time for 4 years, although there may be options for part-time study over 5 years.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including a science, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Volunteering and experience

You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience with an osteopath before you apply for a course.

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

Other routes

If you're already medically qualified, for example as a doctor or nurse, you may be able to take a shortened postgraduate training programme.

More information


Further information

You can find out more about becoming an osteopath from the General Osteopathic Council and Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

Before you can register with the General Osteopathic Council you will need to provide both health and character references.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You’ll help your client develop muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves and joints that work well together. As part of your day-to-day duties, you may:

  • ask clients about their health and medical history
  • examine their posture and gait, paying particular attention to their muscles, bones and joints
  • use X-rays and other methods to help with your diagnosis
  • plan a course of treatment 
  • use gentle, hands-on techniques like joint mobilisation and massage 
  • advise clients about diet and lifestyle
  • give clients exercises to do at home

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in a therapy clinic, at a client's home or from home.

Career path and progression

With experience you could set up your your own osteopathy practice.

You could also take further training and move into an academic career teaching osteopathy students.

You could also move into osteopathic research.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an osteopath 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

L3 Access to Higher Education Diploma - Science

  • Start date: 01 September 2020

Access to HE Science

  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: Poole

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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