Childcare

Occupational therapist

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

Annual Salary

£24,907 to £62,001

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40 a week

You could work: 9am to 5pm;

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Occupational therapist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

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 may need to wear a uniform.

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 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
For 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
For 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 work experience

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

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

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

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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

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
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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