Occupational Therapist BSc - Level 6

Occupational therapy

As an occupational therapist, you’ll help people who have difficulties carrying out day-to-day activities because of a disability, illness, trauma, ageing, and a range of long-term conditions.

Skills and knowledge

To become an Occupational Therapist you will need to have:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently


You will need an undergraduate or Masters degree in Occupational Therapy Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before you can start practising, and to pass enhanced background checks as you may work with children and vulnerable adults.

Routes into this job

You can do an occupational therapist degree apprenticeship.

This typically takes 4 years to complete and is a combination of workplace learning and academic study with an approved university.


You'll usually need:

4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

You can do a degree in occupational therapy, approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Courses combine practical placements with academic study.

You may be able to do a postgraduate conversion course if you've got a degree in a related subject like:

- biological science
- health science
- psychology


You'll usually need:

2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

You could start as an occupational therapy support worker. With backing from your employer, you could study for a degree part-time to qualify as an occupational therapist.

You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in care or healthcare work before you apply for training.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

Career progression

Once you’ve qualified, you’ll have annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) check-ins, where you will discuss your career aspirations and plan how to achieve them, so you’re always moving forward. You’ll be encouraged to join the Royal College of Occupational Therapists where you’ll gain professional indemnity coverage and a trade union membership. You’ll also be able to specialise in areas such as elderly care or paediatrics. You could move into research or education, and there are opportunities overseas. Or with experience, further qualifications and training, you could apply for more specialist and senior posts.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner - Level 7

An Advanced Clinical Practitioner in Occupational Therapy works at an advanced level across all four pillars of advanced practice at master’s level. Advanced Clinical Practitioners are experienced clinicians who demonstrate expertise in their scope of practice. Advanced Clinical Practitioners manage defined episodes of clinical care independently, from beginning to end, providing care and treatment from the time an individual first presents through to the end of the episode, which may include admission, referral or discharge or care at home. They carry out their full range of duties in relation to individuals’ physical and mental healthcare and in acute, primary, urgent and emergency settings (including hospitals, general practice, individuals’ homes, schools and prisons, and in the public, independent, private and charity sectors). They combine expert clinical skills with research, education and clinical leadership within their scope of practice. Advanced Clinical Practitioners work innovatively on a one to one basis with individuals as well as part of a wider team. They work as part of the wider health and social care team and across traditional professional boundaries in health and social care.