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Occupational therapy is the assessment and treatment of physical and psychiatric conditions using specific, purposeful activity to prevent disability and promote independent function in all aspects of daily life. Occupational therapy staff work with people facing physical, mental and social disabilities to help themselves. Occupational therapy is a challenging and dynamic profession which makes a valuable difference in people’s lives.
Occupational therapists work in hospital and various community settings. They may visit clients and their carers at home to monitor their progress. When a course of therapy is completed, the therapist will analyse how effective it has been.
They work with people of all ages to help them overcome the effects of disability caused by physical or psychological illness, ageing or accident. The profession offers enormous opportunities for career development and endless variety.
Training normally consists of a three year course leading to a BSc in occupational therapy You need five GCSE passes and at least two, (usually three) A levels. A science subject at A’ level is sometimes required. Alternatives to A levels are also considered, such as an approved access course, VCE and Scottish qualifications. It is essential to check the entry requirements of the university/universities to which you wish to apply.
Training normally consists of a three year course leading to a BSc in occupational therapy. If you are already employed as an occupational therapy support worker or a technical instructor, however, you might be able to study part-time, in which case the course would take four years. There are also graduate entry schemes to a two year accelerated course which also lead to a formal qualification. You are then able to apply for the necessary registration to work in the NHS or social services.
Qualified occupational therapists working in the NHS start with an average salary of about £20,000 while more experienced occupational therapists can earn over £40,000 and consultant occupational therapists can earn up to and beyond £50,000