Occupational Therapy is one of the growing sectors in health care and OTs are very much in demand to fill occupational therapy jobs in both the public and private sphere. With an aging population, one of the main focuses of healthcare is helping people with a diminished capacity enjoy the greatest quality of life possible, and the most independence they can. This has a twofold benefit: it’s better for the patient to be able to live at home in familiar surroundings, and this relieves strain on NHS beds and wards, leaving resources free for patients whose lives are in danger unless they receive round the clock care.
Today we’re looking at how to become an OT, to inform you if you want t join this burgeoning profession.
Occupational Therapist is a title protected by the HCPC – The Health and Care Professions Council. This means that when someone sees an Occupational Therapist they can be assured they will receive at least a baseline level of expertise and experience. It also means that if you’re looking for training you need to find a course that’s approved by the HCPC. If they haven’t assessed the course and found it provides the training they require you might find you’ve wasted time and money on a qualification that doesn’t allow you to practice.
If you don’t have a degree already, the best option is choose one of the approved undergraduate degrees in Occupational Therapy, which balance theory with experience in the field to ensure that you graduate confident and ready to practise. These last three or four years.
If you’ve already taken a degree, or have some experience in an adjacent field there are shorter term or part time courses you can opt for to convert your skills into a relevant qualification without investing multiple years of your life.
If you want to be an Occupational Therapist you’ll need to have certain personal qualities. You need to be a good listener: OTs work with patients to find individual solutions that can help to foster their independence, so you need to be open and sensitive enough to dig deep and find out what really matters to someone.
It might be allowing them to safely take a bath or shower alone again by fitting bars in the bathroom and helping them learn how to use them to support themselves. It might be finding a way for someone to cook favourite recipes for themselves using prepared ingredients. The important thing is finding a solution that fits the whole person.