An occupational therapy degree sets you up for a career as an occupational therapist but also gives you skills for other areas of health and social care
Job options directly related to your degree include:
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Advice worker
- Art therapist
- High intensity therapist
- Housing manager/officer
- 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 practical skills you'll need for the job in the future and can also help you to make key contacts.
Outside of your degree, work experience in supportive roles with vulnerable groups can allow you to develop your communication and problem-solving skills. 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, where you could work within mental health services, hospital departments such as accident and emergency (A&E), or social services.
A variety of settings are available including:
- housing associations
- care homes
- 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 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 many careers. 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. Examples include an MSc in Advanced Occupational Therapy or an MSc in Hand Therapy.
Other postgraduate qualifications in health studies can provide opportunities to influence healthcare practice through clinical research and development.
You could also use further study to help you to progress into other 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 (89%) of occupational therapy graduates are working as therapy professionals. Caring personal services, nursing professionals, welfare and housing associate professionals, managers and proprietors in health and care services, health associate professionals and other health professionals are all among the top ten jobs held by these graduates.
|Working and studying||4.1|
|Types of work||Percentage|
|Childcare, health and education||1.4|
|Legal, social and welfare||0.9|
|Retail, catering and customer service||0.8|
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.