OT as a career
Occupational therapists work with people facing physical, mental and social disabilities to help them do the things they want to do
Occupation includes all daily activities such as making a hot drink, using public transport and socialising.
Imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t get out of bed unassisted or because of injury couldn’t lift a kettle. Our daily activities give us a sense of identity and purpose. Occupational therapists develop practical strategies for people facing such challenges so that they can continue to flourish in their lives. Occupational therapists work in many different roles and settings. The short film below will help you find out what a rewarding career you could have as an occupational therapist, helping people to live life their way.
Using people’s goals to enable their independence
Occupational therapists use a range of strategies and specialist equipment to enable people to reach their goals. This could range from helping someone regain the confidence to shop or cook unassisted for his or her family or return to work after a physical or mental illness.
Occupational therapists work in a very broad range of fields and settings
The scope of occupational therapy ranges from infancy to old age. Occupational therapists aim to get people functioning given any social, mental or physical challenges which they face.
Occupational therapists can work in fields such as social care, mental health, work rehabilitation and neurology. Work settings include people’s homes, work environments, prisons and hospitals.
Occupational therapy is creative problem solving
Occupational therapists work in partnership with people to create practical solutions to the problems that affect their independence.
Answer these three questions to find out if occupational therapy might be the career for you:
- Do you enjoy helping people and solving problems?
- Are you patient, practical, creative and a good communicator?
- Do you want to help people optimise their quality of life?
You can also enjoy a career as an OT support worker
OT support staff – assistants, technicians or support workers – usually start with little or no formal training. Training often happens on the job, but there are also formal qualifications available. You will definitely need a range of essential skills, such as:
- good written and verbal communication
- a great capacity to work with people of all sorts
Some support workers work exclusively within occupational therapy; some work as generic staff with a number of professions like nursing and physiotherapy.
The interest in these posts is very strong, so applications can be competitive. Be sure to check with the employer about what skills and experience might give you a better chance of employment.
You may feel that training as an occupational therapist isn't the right career choice for you but you might still want to work with occupational therapists in a support worker role. Find out more about becoming an OT support worker.