Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists support patients using tailored care plans that enable them to return to or optimise participation in all aspects of daily life including work, hobbies, socialising, and personal care. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages with a wide range of issues resulting from physical, mental, social or developmental difficulties. 


Career Casenotes: Occupational Therapist

Check out the vitals for a career as an occupational therapist

Graphic of a clipboard on background of medical illustrations that reads: Profession: Occupational Therapist Essential Qualifications: Degree or degree apprenticeship in occupational therapy Frequently works in: GP surgeries, rehabilitation wards, adult care homes, in patient's home/workplace Frequently works with: Psychologists, learning disability nurses, physiotherapists, psychotherapists  Average working hours: 37.5 hours with the need to work flexibly over a seven day period Key skills: Creativity, patience, flexibility, resourcefulness, good social skills



Student Experience: Charlotte, Year 2 Occupational Therapy

  • Charlotte's Journey to Occupational Therapy

    “I was unsure what I wanted to do until aged 28! I waitressed during college, kept my options broad with an English Language degree then shadowed various publishing roles. I did temp jobs as ‘paid work experience’, travelled and worked in book publishing and marketing for a few years. Then my Nana had a stroke and lost her independence overnight. I discovered Occupational Therapy and moved back home to career change. I shadowed an OT in a neuro rehabilitation setting; a teacher and OT in a special needs school; local stroke association workshops; and volunteered as a hospital dementia volunteer. I got a job as a Therapy Assistant in a hospital setting for 6 months to try it out, which was incredibly useful. I then began the course – the best decision I’ve ever made! I have worked as a part-time Rehabilitation Assistant, Student Ambassador for UWE, and as ‘bank’ casual staff during the summers. Even if it’s not for you now, there is lots of funding support to come back to it in the future.”  

  • Why Occupational Therapy?

    "I chose this career because I wanted to help people, but nursing and medicine wasn’t for me. I love the idea of empowering people to take control of their own condition or impairment. It's unique and exciting helping people to recognize their personal strengths and problem-solving the activities they want, need or have to do in their daily lives. It’s so interesting to find out what is meaningful to different people and how we can use it to regain independence.”

  • What do you learn?

    “Typically, Occupational Therapists will work out what someone can currently do, what they want to be able to do, then work out ways of enabling them to achieve it. We are taught how to help people practice these activities in a safe space, adapt the environment and provide creative equipment to make things easier. We are also taught therapeutic techniques to build a trusted relationship and increase someone’s sense of capability and belonging. We become skilled at breaking down seemingly impossible tasks with a particular impairment, then problem solving ways to overcome barriers to everyday living. This improves health, wellbeing, dignity and independence.”

  • How do you learn?

    "A typical day of teaching switches between a few hours of lectures followed by a few hours experimenting with these new skills in practical workshops. We are given opportunities to see what it feels like doing the therapeutic activities we might prescribe, for example a day in a community garden, or learning new skills like pottery or cycling in nature. During the three placements I can experience three different settings, for example going out to people’s homes, rehabilitation or hospital settings, schools or mental health services. I’m given a 1:1 educator who works in that role to shadow, to find out what they do and practice skills I’ve learnt or are interested in. We tick off goals we’ve set together and get a taste for the diverse world of Occupational Therapy.”

  • Charlotte's advice

    “Try shadowing Occupational Therapists in different settings, volunteering or working as a Therapy Assistant or Support Worker. Talk to everyone about your ideas. You’ll be surprised how many people have a sibling, friend or parent you can shadow in the job role for a day. This will help you to decide what you do or don’t like. People are very happy to help so don’t be afraid to ask, change your mind or take a leap!”