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Occupational Therapy guide

If you're interested in a medical-related degree but not sure which area to choose, Occupational Therapy could be worth your consideration.

Female doctor helping elderly man to walk with walker

CONTENTS

  1. What's Occupational Therapy?

  2. Why study Occupational Therapy?

  3. What jobs can you get with an Occupational Therapy degree?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapists treat people with mental or physical disabilities. They create individual treatment programmes which 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.

Occupational Therapy degrees typically lead to professional accreditation. Most of the skills acquired during a course are related to a job in the field. 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 and other interpersonal skills

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, you must complete a relevant undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Upon completion, graduates are registered with the 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.

Job satisfaction is generally high, despite it being a potentially challenging profession. This is because therapists help others regain a lost ability to carry out the tasks they want and need to do in everyday life.

If you take a look at the Occupational Therapy subject table, you'll see that most universities have outstanding Graduate Prospects. The vast majority of institutions seem to have at least 80% of their graduates entering employment within six months of leaving.

Crop doctor helping patient with walker

What jobs can you get with an Occupational Therapy degree?

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. 

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need?

Entry requirements vary by university. You may need an A Level (or equivalent) in a science or social science subject.

For postgraduate courses, you generally need a relevant degree and must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the field.

Always check for the university and course you want to apply to.

What degrees can you study?

  • 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.

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