How to Become an Occupational Therapist

When looking at career options, occupational therapy jobs might not be the first thing you consider. It is a highly specialised career path, not unlike some mental health jobs, that may appear not possible if you have not taken the decision to pursue such a path early on. In this article, we will look at both the conventional path to becoming an occupational therapist. Alongside other routes to becoming an occupational therapist that may appeal to someone who has not started a career path tailored toward becoming one.

Simply put, to become and practice as an occupational therapist you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). If you are going to register with the HCPC though, you must have successfully completed a course in occupational therapy to a degree-level.

There a few options of the ways in which you can complete this degree level training. Firstly, the most conventional route is to study occupational therapy as an undergraduate study (BSc). Each educational institution will set its own entry requirements. So it is important to take the time to research various places to apply to based on the university or course you liked the most, combined with the reality of what grades you have under your belt.

When deciding what undergraduate course to take while you were in secondary education, occupational therapy might not have been at the forefront of your mind. For example, you may have wanted to pursue something more general, such as psychology. This sort of subject at a university level can help you understand what area of health and care you want to specialise in. With a large amount of institutions offering in depth modules in occupational and other forms of therapy. If your undergraduate degree is relevant to occupational therapy, such as psychology, then you can apply for a postgraduate Masters (MSc) in occupational therapy after finishing your bachelors. This can take between one and two years to complete.

Finally, all of these courses in occupational therapy will have a large practical component attached to it. This is also, if not more so, the case with degree apprenticeships in occupational therapy. To start this process, you would need to apply for an apprenticeship position at a healthcare provider. To get onto this sort of apprenticeship, you’ll need a level three qualification. One of the best places to start searching for this apprenticeship role is the NHS jobs website. The amount of times these apprenticeships can take will vary depending on who you do your apprenticeship with.