- Help people experiencing health problems to adapt their lifestyle and environment to cope with the changes
- Work in a variety of settings from care homes to workplaces
- Progress into senior occupational therapy roles or other aspects of health or social services management
As an occupational therapist, you'll adapt treatment programmes to suit each client's needs and lifestyle. Main employers are the NHS and local authority social services.
- Teaching a patient recovering from a stroke how to do things for themselves
- Encouraging someone suffering with depression to take up a hobby or activity
- Suggesting ways to adapt an office so that an employee injured in a car accident can return to work
- Supporting patients to manage permanent physical disabilities
- Helping people with learning disabilities to live independently
- Keeping notes about clients' progress
- Advising and supporting clients and their families and carers
You could work at a client's home, in an NHS or private hospital, at a client's business, at a GP practice, or at an adult care home. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
For this role, you'll need knowledge of psychology, counselling skills, sensitivity and understanding, flexibility and openness to change, knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses, patience in stressful situations, the ability to work well with others, and good initiative.
You can do a degree in occupational therapy, approved by the Health and Care Professions Council. You might be able to do a postgraduate conversion course if you've got a degree in a related subject like biological science, health science, or psychology.
You can also do an occupational therapist degree apprenticeship.
You could start as an occupational therapy support worker. With backing from your employer, you could study for a degree part time to qualify.
Voluntary or paid experience in care or healthcare work would be useful before you apply.
You'll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council, and need background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
You could progress to senior clinician or head of occupational therapy services in the NHS. You may also be able to move into general health or social services management. You could also go into private practice, education or research.