Anne speaks to us about her experience as an Occupational Therapist, and what a typical day looks like.
Occupational therapists (OTs) help people with long-term health conditions, disabilities and illnesses, and those who are ageing to adapt their homes and workplaces to meet their needs. You may work with a wide variety of patients, including those who have had traumatic brain injuries, who were born with disabilities or who have experienced a life-changing accident or illness.
If you’re looking for an occupational therapist opportunity, Medacs is a great place to find your next job.
Being an occupational therapist
Each day will be different for you as an occupational therapist and will vary depending on the setting you work in. For example, if you are employed by a private company, your day may consist of speaking to staff who are on sick leave and understanding how their working environment can be adapted to facilitate their return.
Other duties you’ll carry out include:
- Helping patients adapt to life after major surgical procedures
- Helping to adapt homes and workplaces following sudden disability or illness
- Working with people with mental illnesses or learning disabilities and assisting them with finding employment or volunteer work
- Adapting elderly or disabled people’s homes so they do not have to move into residential care.
Occupational therapists can work in a number of settings, including:
- Hospitals, including accident and emergencies (A&E) wards where you’ll help plan post-discharge support
- Specialist units and wards
- Community clinics
- Social services
- Charitable organisations.
Occupational therapist salaries
If you work for the NHS, occupational therapy jobs start at pay band 5 on the Agenda for Change (AfC) scale. Your salary will be between £25,655 and £31,534, plus 5-20% extra if you’re based in London. Private employers may offer higher salaries, and you can boost your income by adding agency shifts into your working week.
Qualifications for occupational therapist jobs
You’ll need to complete a degree in occupational therapy before you’re qualified for occupational therapy jobs. You can also complete a master’s if you didn’t choose a specialist OT course at undergraduate level. Once you’ve finished your studies, you’ll have to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before you can start working with patients.
Alternatively, you can complete an apprenticeship degree. You’ll work for a healthcare provider, which could be the NHS or a private company, as you complete your studies. This route will give you an income whilst you study, but it also means you won’t be eligible for any student loans.
Key skills for occupational therapist jobs
In addition to your qualifications, the best occupational therapists need to have certain skills or attributes. They include:
- Being a natural people person who can put patients at ease
- A good balance of patience and creativity to encourage patients without rushing them
- Being a great team player
- Ability to think quickly
- Being a natural problem-solver.
Where occupational therapy can take you
Once you’ve started working in the field of occupational therapy, you’ll have plenty of options for the future. It’s advisable to join the British Association of Occupational Therapists, which offers you professional indemnity insurance and a trade union membership, as well as access to the latest news and training opportunities.
You could choose to specialise in a particular area, such as caring for the elderly or children, or helping those with mental health issues live fulfilling lives. Occupational therapists can also progress into research or education to help the next generation start their careers. Alternatively, once you have a few years of experience behind you, it’s possible to train for more senior or specialist positions.
What’s next for your career?
Browse and apply for occupational therapy jobs here. Whether you’re looking for permanent, part-time or temporary work, Medacs receives more than 1,000 jobs every day, meaning you’ll have plenty of choice. Our consultants take the time to get to know you and what your ideal role looks like, before getting to work finding you the right opportunities. All you need to do is tell us when, where and how often you’d like to work and we’ll do the rest.
Medacs is a supplier across all NHS frameworks and a preferred supplier for 150 Trusts, so you’ll get first sight of both short- and long-term agency shifts. We also work with lots of private clients to offer our healthcare professionals the best possible choice when it comes to job opportunities.
You can access free courses that help you gain CPD points through our online academy, and Medacs’ consultants can arrange free and discounted appraisals, should you need them. Flexibility and control are two of the key aspects of what we do: you could access your money quickly and only work when it fits with your lifestyle and other commitments.