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Occupational therapist: Salary and conditions

  • Jobs in the National Health Service (NHS) are covered by the Agenda for Change . Occupational therapists starting their career as allied health professionals in the NHS typically start at Band 5 (£21,176-£27,625), moving to occupational therapist specialist (Band 6, £25,528-£34,189) and then occupational therapist advanced (Band 7, £30,460-£40,157). To progress up each pay scale, staff must demonstrate that they can effectively apply the required knowledge and skills.
  • Salaries in local government are at similar levels, although there can be significant variations.
  • NHS entry-level positions are available, although the field has become more competitive in recent years. Applicants may need to be flexible about the geographical area in which they are willing to work.
  • The average working hours are 35-37.5 per week, with most full-time occupational therapists working nine to five, Monday to Friday. However, there are a number of posts, notably in mental health community services, acute hospitals, accident and emergency services and private practice, where evening and weekend work is more common.
  • Part-time, other flexible working arrangements and career breaks are possible.
  • Occupational therapists work in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, community facilities, schools, businesses, prisons and people's own homes.
  • Some areas of work may be stressful and require physical and mental strength, flexibility and stamina.
  • Travel within a working day is common if you work in the community.
  • The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT)  recognises qualifications accredited by the British Association of Occupational Therapists and College of Occupational Therapists (BAOT)  which facilitates employment abroad.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

Written by AGCAS editors
February 2012

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