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Play therapist

Alternative titles for this job include

Play therapists help children to make sense of difficult life experiences, or complex psychological issues through play.

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter


£38,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 37 variable

You could work

evenings attending events or appointments

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Play therapist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship


You'll need to complete a degree followed by a postgraduate qualification approved by the British Association of Play Therapists or Play Therapy UK.

Your undergraduate degree should be in a related subject like:

  • psychology
  • early childhood studies
  • mental health nursing
  • social work
  • education

You'll also need experience of working with children in professions like teaching, nursing, counselling, therapy or social work.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You could do a Play Therapist Level 7 Higher Apprenticeship.

This typically takes 3 years to complete.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • experience in related work 
  • a degree in a relevant subject

More Information

More Information


Career tips

If you have an interest in play therapy and work in a profession like teaching, nursing, counselling or social work you may be able to take an introductory course to find out more about it.

Further information

You can get more advice about careers in play therapy from the British Association of Play Therapists and Play Therapy UK.

What it takes

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • knowledge of psychology
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • 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:

  • work closely with parents, carers and other professionals
  • assess a child's needs and decide on a suitable course of action
  • run sessions for individuals or groups, using creative arts and storytelling
  • monitor and record children's progress
  • take part in regular supervision sessions with a more experienced therapist

Working environment

You could work at a client's home, at a children's care home, at a health centre or at a school.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience and further training, you could:

  • supervise less experienced therapists
  • provide a consultation service to professionals in the community
  • move into training, lecturing or clinical supervision

Current opportunities

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Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Play 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

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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