When occupational therapists talk about occupation, they mean all of the activities that people do; including:
Sometimes illness, disability, getting older or a change in personal circumstances may mean it becomes more difficult to do some or all of the normal and usual occupations of life.
Occupational therapy is a career for people with:
Occupational therapists help people of all ages to find ways to carry out the occupations that are important to them. They will then develop a plan with the person, and their carers if appropriate. Occupational therapists provide support to people whose health prevents them doing the activities that matter to them. An occupational therapist can identify strengths and difficulties you may have in everyday life, such as dressing, cooking, getting to the shops, or staying in work and will help you work out practical solutions. This could be because they have a:
After identifying the difficulties a person has with everyday tasks, occupational therapists can help by either:
Occupational therapy is also used as part of a rehabilitation programme after an accident, illness or operation to help you recover and regain as much independence as possible. For example:
At the core of all these changes is the Occupational Therapist’s focus is supporting the patient to maintain and improve their ability to do everyday tasks.
Occupational Therapists work across a range of settings including:
Typically Occupational Therapists work 37.5 hours per week in the NHS. Often these are weekdays within office hours. However, there is increasing need for Occupational Therapists to work at weekends and earlier and later in the day to meet the needs of the people we work with.
In the NHS, an entry level qualified occupational therapist position would start at Band 5; please see our Pay and Benefits section for more information.
Once you have qualified and gained some clinical experience there are a number of employment options available including:
|Do I need a degree?||Yes, If you want to work as an Occupational Therapist you will need to complete a degree. In addition when qualified you will need to register with the Health Care Professions Council.|
|Where can I train in Wales?||Occupational Therapy Degree courses are offered at Cardiff University and Glyndwr University (Wrexham).|
|Is there funding available?||Yes, for further information about available funding and eligibility please visit Student Awards Services.|
|Are there postgraduate opportunities?||If you already have a relevant degree and healthcare experience it may be possible for you to undertake a postgraduate course. Within Wales this is offered at Cardiff University. Additional MSc. qualification is also available.|
|Do I need previous experience to apply for the course?||Having any experience in a caring role, both professionally and personally, will be an advantage.|
|How do I get experience?||Further advice is available in the Occupational Therapy Career Handbook.
To find out about work experience and volunteering opportunities in NHS Wales visit our Work section.
|How do I apply for a job?||Vacancies for NHS Wales are advertised on NHS Jobs; visit our Work section for more information.
Local Authority posts are advertised by individual organisations usually on their own website. Role emerging opportunities such as working for third sector are advertised individually by organisations.