Occupational therapy support worker

Occupational therapy support workers work with occupational therapists. They offer practical support to help people overcome problems in carrying out day-to-day activities (occupations) of their lives. 

This page has information on the role of the occupational therapy support worker, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

Occupational therapy (OT) support workers work under the supervision of registered occupational therapists. As part of the OT team, OT support workers offer practical support to help people overcome problems in carrying out day-to-day activities (occupations) of their lives.

female-pushing-patient-on-wheelchair

Illness, injury, disability or ageing can make ordinary tasks harder to do. This includes daily care (washing, dressing, eating), work or education and leisure. The OT team help people find ways to continue with activities which are important to them. This might involve learning new ways to do things. Or it might mean changes to the environment to make things easier.

OT support workers work with people of all ages and situations with a range of conditions. For example, helping

OT support workers may help people to use aids and equipment, including assistive technology. Assistive technology helps profoundly disabled people communicate, use IT, get about and control household services and equipment (lights, TV, etc).

OT support workers may also be known as

OT support workers can be based in hospitals, clinics and GP practices. They may also visit patients in their homes or in residential or care homes.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements for OT support workers. Employers expect good numeracy and literacy and some experience or qualifications in health or social care. Employers may ask for GCSEs in English and maths. They may ask for a BTEC or equivalent vocational qualifications in health and social care.

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in health or social care, either in paid employment or voluntary work. If you secure an apprenticeship in healthcare/clinical support, this could enable you to apply for OT support worker vacancies in the future.

Skills and personal characteristics needed 

As an OT support worker, you need to be

You also need 

Training and development 

You will receive appropriate training in order to do the job, including an introduction to the department and its procedures and how to set up and use the equipment.

You may be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as

Some OT support workers join the British Association and College of Occupational Therapists (BAOT/COT) as associate members. The BAOT/COT runs courses, conferences and seminars where OT support workers can update their skills and network with others doing similar work.

 

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