Careers in Occupational Therapy

What does an occupational therapist do?

How can you adapt a home or office so that a person in a wheelchair can move around more easily? How can you make a particular job safer or less stressful? How can you make things easier for someone with learning difficulties?

These are the sort of questions occupational therapists seek to answer - and there's no single solution, as every person is different.

Basically occupational therapy is about looking at individuals holistically and enabling them to achieve maximum independence, well-being and quality of life, at home or in the workplace.

There are all kinds of solutions an occupational therapist might develop. These could include adapting a person's surroundings by installing special equipment or changing room layouts.

It might also mean teaching someone with physical or mental health problems, learning difficulties or social problems new skills or coping strategies. Or it could mean organising physical aids or support.

What does the training involve?

To practise as an Occupational Therapist you have to gain a recognised Degree in Occupational Therapy.

During your studies you'll develop a thorough knowledge of human physiology and behaviour, the skills needed to understand individual's needs and expertise in devising and applying solutions.

There's also a strong practical element to your training. You can expect to attend a number of placements in various settings, during which you'll be trained and supervised by qualified occupational therapists.

At the University of Liverpool we organise these placements for you.

Where do Occupational Therapists work?

Traditionally they work in the NHS and local authorities, in hospitals, day facilities, social services and community teams. Service users tend to be older people and people with disabilities.

With the increased emphasis on health and safety at work, occupational therapists are increasingly in demand from employers, to support employees and even advise on product design.

Jobs are also available in places such as community centres, prisons, schools and job centres.

What are the career prospects like?

The NHS Strategic Health Authorities fund the training places at the University of Liverpool School of Occupational Therapy, so the likelihood is you'll have your first job offer before your study begins.

Subsequently there's a defined grading structure within the health service, so you can work your way up from junior practitioner to clinical specialist, therapy consultant or service manager. Or of course there's teaching or research.

The occupational therapy training programme in Liverpool is accredited by the College of Occupational Therapists. This includes the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, so you'll be entitled to practise in many countries.

How do I find out more about studying in Liverpool?

Go to our BSc (Hons) on Occupational Therapy page. This will give you full course details, including entry requirements.