Graduate careers advice: you and your occupational therapy degree
Graduate careers advice on your options with a degree in occupational therapy.
Related jobs include:
- Occupational therapist
- Social worker
- Sports therapist
- Teacher, special education
Most occupational therapy courses contain a significant work experience element.
Working in a supportive role with vulnerable groups outside of your degree will develop your communication and problem-solving skills and give you experience of differing working environments. It’s also beneficial to learn about the social and psychological challenges faced by such groups, which can vary from the elderly to the disabled, to those with mental health issues.
You may find paid work experience in a residential home, hospital or a client’s home as a care assistant.
Voluntary opportunities can be found in such areas as:
- day care centres;
- youth projects;
- special schools;
- homeless shelters;
- advisory services.
More information on work experience can be found here.
Most graduates will find employment in occupational therapy in such varied settings as hospitals, schools, community centres, businesses, charities, job centres, prisons and clients’ homes.
The main employers are the HSE and local government, where occupational therapists work within hospital departments like accident and emergency, mental health services and social services.
Opportunities can also be found in education, management, research and private practice. Related work can be found with organisations that specialise in drug rehabilitation, injury claims, inclusion work or developing and distributing disability aids.
Your occupational therapy CV
An occupational therapy degree will develop subject-specific knowledge of human anatomy, psychology and sociology, along with transferable skills like:
- data collation and analysis;
- teaching and mentoring;
- time management;
- researching and report writing;
- administrative skills.
Most occupational therapy graduates will go straight into clinical employment. If you wish to develop advanced skills in a specific area of therapy or treatment, you can take an MSc programme in a specialist area. Other health care qualifications allow you to influence healthcare practice through clinical research and development.
Options for further study exist for those interested in pursuing careers in such fields as social work, public health, health development, teaching and health promotion.
Occupational therapists are required to engage in continuing professional development (CPD) while practising, updating their skills and knowledge through courses, workshops, supervision and reflective practice.
More information can be found in our Further Study section.