Occupational Therapy Apprenticeships

Do you like helping people? Read our guide on occupational therapy apprenticeships to learn how they work and why this industry could be calling YOUR name.

Occupational Therapy Apprenticeships

Do you like helping people? Want to make a difference to those struggling to look after themselves due to their age, trauma, disability or long-term condition? If so, you’ll love a career in occupational therapy. 

Occupational therapists support patients by developing solutions that make their day-to-day lives more manageable. 

Whether it’s helping them with their washing or recommending equipment that allows them to get in and out of the bath more easily. Your support will empower these people to live normal, independent lives. 

As an apprentice, you’ll work with a range of people, from babies to adults, including the elderly and create treatment programmes that accommodate their lifestyles. You’ll evaluate these programmes on a regular basis and decide whether any adjustments need to be made.

Read our guide on occupational therapy apprenticeships to learn how they work and why this industry could be calling YOUR name. 

Can you get an occupational therapy apprenticeship?

Absolutely! If you want to get into occupational therapy, you’ll need a degree apprenticeship. Ever heard of these? No? Well, sit tight, listen up, ‘cause they are good

Degree apprenticeships are the crème de la crème of apprenticeships - the cream cheese frosting on a red velvet cupcake kind-of-good. 

These apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with academic study and allow you to get paid while you study towards BSc (Hons) level qualifications. 

Want to know the best bit? As a degree apprentice, you won’t need to take out any student loans - or pay tuition fees - as the government and your employer will cover these for you. Sweet!

"“I have developed academic writing skills and acquired knowledge around the theory and practice of Occupational Therapy. This has helped me build my skills and develop new ones that I can put into practice.”" Occupational Therapy Apprentice, NHS

How long does an occupational therapy apprenticeship take?

An occupational therapy apprenticeship takes three years to complete and will teach you the skills you’ll need to succeed in this industry. 

During your programme, you’ll learn about people’s wants and needs, beliefs and physical (or social) environments. You’ll also put together a plan that helps them live more fulfilling lives - whether it’s through rehabilitation or activity-based therapy.

To get your professional qualification, you’ll need to work for a minimum of 30 hours a week, 30 weeks a year. You’ll also need to do 1000 hours of clinical placement alongside your employed role.

Lots of universities in England are currently offering degree apprenticeships in occupational therapy like:

What do I need to do before submitting my application?

Before submitting your application, make sure you consider which programme will be right for you. Here are some things you’ll want to think about:

  • Where the university is based

  • How the programme is structured

  • Campus facilities.

Consider how you learn and which course best suits your learning techniques. If you need some help, contact the university’s admissions office. They’ll be able to give you more information on their programmes. 

Oh - and - be sure to check that your course has the Royal College of Occupational Therapists accreditation. This means your degree meets UK educational quality standards and will be recognised worldwide. So you can work abroad too - yay! 

Once you’ve finished your programme, you’ll need to register with the Health & Care Professionals Council to become a fully qualified occupational therapist.

Want to know what an apprenticeship in occupational therapy is really like? Watch this video.

What are the entry requirements for occupational therapy?

Entry requirements for occupational therapy degree apprenticeships vary, so it’s best to look at university websites to get this information.

Typically, you’ll need:

  • Five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) AND 

  • Three A-Levels at grades A* - C or equivalent, including English, Maths and Science

Wondering what science subject to take? Human biology, psychology and social sciences are all frontrunners.

If you want to know whether an occupational therapy apprenticeship is right for you, try getting some work experience first. You could volunteer at a care home or a charity that helps people with disabilities.

Find a degree apprenticeship

Looking for a role - but stuck on which company to pick? We know the feeling. That’s why we’ve put together our Best Student Employers table. 

They’re based on thousands of honest reviews written by students who have been in your shoes. So if you’re not sure where to start, definitely give it a browse. 

How much do occupational therapists make in the UK?

Occupational therapist salaries come in bands. Except - instead of having a singer, drummer and guitarist to jam with, you’ll have a juicy sum of cash to feast your eyes on. If you’re an entry level or recently qualified therapist, you’ll earn a Band 5 salary of £27,055 to £32,934 per year

The more experienced you become, the more you’ll earn. A specialist occupational therapist, for example, can earn £33,706 to £40,588 a year. Excuse us - WHAT?!

Want to become a clinical manager and consultant? If so, you’ll rake in a delicious £48,526 - £65,262 a year.

Imagine what all that money can get you? A camper van and a round-the-world trip to all your favourite destinations…maybe?

The NHS employs over 1.7 million people in 350 different careers - making it one of the largest and most respected employers in the world.

Read our guide to NHS Apprenticeships

What does a typical day look like for an occupational therapist?

Ever had an injury that’s restricted your movements and left you house-bound? If so, you’ll probably have had a few sessions with an occupational therapist. 

But have you wondered what an occupational therapist actually does each day they get to work? Well, look no further, ‘cause we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a list of responsibilities you’ll have as an occupational therapist…

  • Reviewing patients’ medical histories and assessing their ability to carry out tasks

  • Treating patients with physical or cognitive disabilities

  • Setting rehabilitative goals for patients using data analysis

  • Recommending specialised equipment like wheelchairs and hearing aids to patients

  • Creating exercise programmes that will help patients relieve chronic pain

  • Training caregivers on how best to support patients during and after therapy

  • Suggesting lifestyle changes that will benefit a patient’s wellbeing

  • Registering a patient’s progress and reporting it to other health professionals, such as physicians.

Want to find out more about what it’s really like to do an apprenticeship in occupational therapy? Have a read of over 40,000 student-written reviews.

Browse health & social care services apprenticeship reviews

What makes a good occupational therapist?

Lots of things. Occupational therapists have a unique set of skills. You’ll need to be:

  • An excellent communicator - as you’ll spend lots of time providing therapeutic aid to patients. So listening to their needs and acting upon them is key

  • A good team player - to communicate with doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers and parole officers. Working in a team boosts morale, brings new ideas to the table and offers solutions to challenging problems. The more receptive you are to collaborating with others, the greater your chances of succeeding in your role

  • Empathetic -  Throughout your career, you’ll meet people from all walks of life; people who’ve lost limbs, stroke survivors who need help with coordination, and pensioners who require assistive devices like raised toilet seats or wheelchairs to get by. 

So if you’re compassionate and have great people skills, you’re well on your way to becoming a top occupational therapist.

We wish you the very best of luck - you’ve got this!

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