Skip to content

Childcare

Play therapist

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

Annual Salary

£24,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 37 variable

You could work: evenings; attending events or appointments

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Play therapist jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • assess a child's needs in consultation with parents, carers and other professionals
  • run individual or group therapy sessions at a regular time and place
  • use creative arts, like drawing, clay, sand, movement, music and therapeutic storytelling
  • monitor children's progress
  • promote positive change in the child by helping them to help themselves
  • take part in regular supervision sessions with a more experienced therapist
  • run workshops for parents and other professionals
  • keep confidential record systems up to date and write reports

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.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
University

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

Relevant first degree subjects include:psychology; early childhood studies; mental health nursing; occupational therapy; drama, art or music

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
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could do a play therapist degree apprenticeship.

This typically takes 36 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and academic study at an approved university.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject for a degree apprenticeship
  • experience in related work
For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

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.

Further information

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

Showing jobs in:
View all vacancies in this region

With experience and further training, you could supervise less experienced therapists. You might also provide a consultation service to professionals in the community.

You could move into training, lecturing or clinical supervision.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

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
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
My top 5 skills
Please sign in to compare your skills to this job. Sign in

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register