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Guide to Studying Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy
iStock/shironosov
Occupational Therapy is a challenging but highly
rewarding field to work and study in

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapists treat people with mental or physical disabilities, creating individual treatment programmes which can help their patients better navigate everyday life tasks.

Occupational Therapy at university generally aims to provide students with the skills required to fulfil the above. 

Why study Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy courses are geared towards those who wish to practise as occupational therapists.

In order to register as an occupational therapist individuals must have completed a relevant undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Upon completion graduates are registered with Health and Care Professions Council (HPCP).

Degrees in occupational therapy have a strong practical focus with students spending much of their time on clinical placements.

What qualifications do I need?

Entry requirements vary by university. For postgraduate courses students are generally required to have a relevant degree and able to demonstrate an understanding of Occupational Therapy in practise.

Specific or general skills developed

Occupational Therapy degrees typically lead to professional accreditation, and as such, most of the skills acquired are related to a job in the field. As such, you should expect to develop a range of skills, including:

  • How to use special equipment such as wheelchairs and hoists
  • Designing adaptations to living environments
  • How to develop and manage therapeutic groups
  • Communication skills

What degree can I get?

Examples of degrees in this field include:

  • BSc Occupational Therapy
  • MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration)
  • PgDip Occupational Therapy (pre-registration)

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Given that most undergraduate Occupational Therapy courses lead to professional accreditation, postgraduate degrees in the field tend to be accelerated programmes for students with a degree in another subject.

Graduate job prospects

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*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • Courses are very specific so students generally go on to practise as occupational therapists.
  • The need for occupational therapists is growing so the chances of gaining professional-level employment after the course are strong.