Osteopathic Practitioner BSC - Level 6


Osteopathy is a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by moving, stretching and massaging a person's muscles and joints. It is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue functioning smoothly together.

Osteopaths use physical manipulation, stretching and massage with the aim of:

- increasing the mobility of joints
- relieving muscle tension
- reducing pain
- enhancing the blood supply to tissues
- helping the body to heal

They use a range of techniques, but not medicines or surgery. In the UK, osteopathy is a health profession regulated by UK law.

You'll be trained to work with patients of all ages and skilled at identifying a wide range of health conditions. You'll refer to other healthcare professionals to achieve the best outcomes for the patient. You may also work in private healthcare with other healthcare specialists.

Most osteopaths are self-employed with increasing opportunities to work in the NHS in multidisciplinary musculoskeletal units, where they may work as part of a team including acupuncturists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychotherapists.

Skills and knowledge

To become an Osteopathic Practitioner you will need:

  • knowledge of medicine and how the body works
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently


You’ll need to be trained to degree level gaining either a Bachelor’s (BSc) or Masters of Science (MSc). Courses typically last four to five years and are a combination of academic, research and over 1,000 hours of patient-facing clinical training. This intensive medical training will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, psychology and pathology combined with clinical examination techniques.

Following your training, you must register with the General Osteopathic Council to practice in the UK.

Routes into this job

To work as an osteopath, you need to complete a degree or postgraduate master's degree approved by the General Osteopathic Council.

Courses are usually full-time for 4 years, although there may be options for part-time study over 5 years.

If you're already medically qualified, for example as a doctor or physiotherapist, you may be able to take a shortened postgraduate training programme.


You'll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including a science, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience with an osteopath before you apply for a course.

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

Career progression

After graduating, you may choose to set up your own private clinic, work in the NHS or in private healthcare. You may then choose to become an advanced clinical practitioner through postgraduate training in a specific area of practice such as sports injuries, care of the elderly or working with children. There are also opportunities for study at MSc and PhD level. Non-clinical career roles also exist in teaching, professional development and research.

In the NHS, you may choose to expand your post by taking on management and leadership responsibilities.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner - Level 7

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.