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Career Guidance

Making Life Better

You’d have to go a long way to find a career as varied, exciting, challenging and rewarding as this. Where else could you be in a community that requires adaptive well being? Where else could you watch someone’s happiness when they can be independent of what they are doing?

Occupational Therapists might experience many of these situations during their career. ‘Experience’ is the key word here – and that’s what makes the difference between a career in this discipline and any other.

Experience Your Working Life

It’s your job to make life better in some way (no pressure then) and the best way to do that is to understand exactly what someone else is experiencing by putting yourself in their shoes.

By doing this and then applying your specialist knowledge about people and their capabilities and limitations.  It’s a big ask, but it’s within your grasp as a qualified occupational therapist.

And we are here to support you. We can point you in the right direction to get you from where you are now, to where you want to be. You won’t believe where a career in occupational therapy can take you.

Occupational therapy is a vocational degree with a substantial work experience element, designed to equip students to promote health, well-being and a satisfying lifestyle.

Job Options

Job options directly related to your degree include:

  • Art therapist
  • Dance movement psychotherapist
  • Ergonomist
  • Health promotion specialist
  • High intensity therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Sports therapist

Job Options

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  • Advice worker
  • Care manager
  • Life coach
  • Medical sales representative
  • Play therapist
  • Social worker
  • Special educational needs teacher
  • Teaching assistant
  • Social security (Case manager)

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don’t restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Outside of your degree, work experience in supportive roles with vulnerable groups can allow you to further develop your communication and problem-solving skills, and experience different working environments. Learning about the social and psychological difficulties facing these groups is also beneficial. Vulnerable groups might include elderly people, those with disabilities, children and young people, and those with mental health issues, physical health difficulties or injuries.

Paid opportunities include work as a care assistant in a residential home, hospital or in clients’ homes, or as an occupational therapy or social work assistant.

Relevant voluntary opportunities exist within:

  • youth projects
  • day care centres
  • special schools
  • advisory services
  • disability equipment hire services
  • hospitals
  • homeless shelters

Most graduates pursue a clinical career in occupational therapy and work in a variety of settings – such as hospitals, housing associations, schools, businesses, community centres, charities, prisons, job centres and clients’ homes. There are opportunities to specialise, for example with children or stroke patients.

Key employers are the Ministry of Health (MoH), private hospitals and private therapy centres.

Opportunities also exist in management, education, private practice and research. Related careers include working within organisations specialising in injury claims, drug rehabilitation, inclusion work or developing and distributing disability aids.

As well as developing knowledge around human anatomy, life cycle, psychology and sociology, a degree in occupational therapy helps you develop a range of diverse skills, including:

  • communication and relationship building with people of all ages
  • collecting and interpreting data
  • assessing, reviewing and evaluating data
  • devising creative solutions to problems
  • managing and prioritising multiple and complex demands
  • teaching, mentoring and coaching
  • teamwork through liaising with professionals, such as doctors or social workers, as well as patients’ families, carers and employers
  • the ability to reflect on learning
  • research and report writing
  • completing administrative tasks.

Most occupational therapy graduates go directly into clinical employment. However, MSc programmes in specialist areas may allow students to develop advanced skills within a specific area of treatment, therapy or health condition. Other postgraduate qualifications in health studies can provide opportunities to influence healthcare practice through clinical research and development.

Options for postgraduate study for those interested in other, or related, careers include social work, health promotion, public health, health development and teaching.

There is a potential upcoming on practising occupational therapists through continuing professional development (CPD) under Allied Health Practice (AHP). Skills to be updated via informal and formal learning such as courses, workshops, supervision and reflective practice.

Popular career choices include alternative jobs within the health sector, as well as positions within legal, social and welfare-based organisations.

Graduates have also progressed into child-focused and educational roles.