An occupational therapy degree provides you with significant work experience to equip you with the practical skills and knowledge you'll need to help others
Job options directly related to your degree include:
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Advice worker
- Art therapist
- High intensity therapist
- Life coach
- Medical sales representative
- Play therapist
- Psychological wellbeing practitioner
- Social worker
- Special educational needs teacher
- Teaching assistant
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
You'll spend a significant amount of time during your degree in clinical placements under the supervision of qualified occupational therapists. This experience helps you to develop the skills you'll need for the job in the future.
Outside of your degree, work experience in supportive roles with vulnerable groups can allow you to further develop your communication and problem-solving skills and experience different working environments. You'll also learn about the social and psychological difficulties facing these groups. Vulnerable groups might include elderly people, those with disabilities, children and young people, and those with mental health issues, physical health difficulties or injuries.
Work experience opportunities exist within:
- youth projects
- day care centres
- special schools
- advisory services
- disability equipment hire services
- homeless shelters
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
The majority of graduates move into a clinical career in occupational therapy. Key employers are the NHS and local government, who employ occupational therapists within mental health services, hospital departments such as accident and emergency (A&E), or social services.
You can work in a variety of settings including:
- housing associations
- community centres
- job centres
- clients' homes.
There are opportunities to specialise, for example with children or stroke patients.
Opportunities also exist in management, education and research, private practice, prisons and with charities and social enterprises.
Related careers include working within organisations specialising in injury claims, drug rehabilitation, inclusion work or developing and distributing disability aids.
Skills for your CV
Studying occupational therapy provides you with an in-depth understanding of the relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing. You develop knowledge around core subjects including human anatomy, life cycle, psychology and sociology.
You also develop a range of skills that can be used in a number of jobs. These include:
- communication and relationship building with people of all ages
- data collection and analysis
- critical thinking
- creative problem solving
- the ability to manage and prioritise a busy and complex workload
- teamwork through liaising with professionals, such as doctors or social workers, as well as patients' families, carers and employers
- teaching, mentoring and coaching
- self-awareness and the ability to reflect on learning
- a flexible and innovative response to change
- research and report writing
- IT and administration.
The majority of occupational therapy graduates go directly into clinical employment after graduating. However, there are a number of Masters programmes available in specialist areas that may allow you to develop advanced skills within a specific area of treatment, therapy or health condition. Other postgraduate qualifications in health studies can provide opportunities to influence healthcare practice through clinical research and development.
If you're interested in other or related careers, there are opportunities for postgraduate study and training in areas such as social work, health promotion, public health, health development and teaching.
For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in occupational therapy.
What do occupational therapy graduates do?
The vast majority (86%) of occupational therapy graduates are working as occupational therapists.
|Working and studying||3.9|
|Types of work||Percentage|
|Childcare, health and education||3|
|Legal, social and welfare||1.3|
|Retail, catering and customer service||1.3|
Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data provided by the Higher Educations Statistics Agency.