Occupational therapist

Occupational therapy is an exciting and varied career. It offers you the chance to make a difference, a high degree of flexibility and excellent employment prospects. You’ll work with patients every day to help improve their care and their lives.

Working life

You'll work with people who have difficulties carrying out these activities because of disability, illness, trauma, ageing, and a range of long term conditions.

"Occupational therapy allows you to make a difference to people’s lives across the community which is something that really appeals to me about the career." Rachel Rule, occupational therapy student.

Read Rachel's story in full

female occupational therapist smiling

What you’ll do as an occupational therapist

You’ll see a huge variety of patients and help them with many different issues as an occupational therapist. Some examples of things you might work on include:

Variety is one of the most exciting things about being an occupational therapist. As well as seeing different patients and conditions you’ll also have the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary team in a range of settings from hospitals and clinics to charities, prisons and social services departments

You'll find solutions to everyday problems, for example:

Illness, injury, disability or ageing can make ordinary tasks such daily care (washing, dressing, eating), work or education and leisure harder to do. You'll help people find ways to continue with activities that are important to them. This might involve learning new ways to do things, or making changes to their environment to make things easier.

As well as working with individual patients and their families, occupational therapists work with groups. They work in teams with other health professionals. They may also supervise the work of occupational therapy support workers.

How to become an occupational therapist

To become an occupational therapist you’ll need to train and study at degree or diploma level. Entry requirements vary depending on where you’d like to study. You can find the occupational therapy course to suit you using our Course Finder tool

"Helping to find solutions and deliver therapy that improves children's health and quality of life is really satisfying." Anne Gordon, paediatric occupational therapist

Read Anne's story in full

Want to learn more?

Other roles that may interest you

Make a comment or report a problem with this page

Help us improve Health Careers