Job descriptions and industry overviews


24 Feb 2023, 14:41

An osteopath uses stretching and mobilising techniques and joint manipulation to treat back pain and other health problems.

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Job description

Osteopathy is a paramedical field which focuses on improving a patient’s mobility or functions of their internal systems by administering various massage, physical manipulation and stretching techniques. Osteopaths work in private practices or clinics, health centres, or on a self employed basis and provide holistic treatments to patients of all ages and conditions.

Work activities

  • Undertaking consultations with patients to understand patients’ histories fully and to determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
  • Examining patients by using palpitation to identify problems with muscles, ligaments and joints.
  • Studying the patient’s posture.
  • Keeping patient records and referring to these when monitoring progress.
  • Using specialised equipment such as X-rays.
  • Advising patients on other aspects of their lifestyle, for example diet.
  • Getting patients to perform movements to improve mobility and function of the body’s internal systems.

Work conditions

Travel: some osteopaths work from home, but travel is sometimes necessary if working at more than one clinic.

Working hours: longer hours and some evening and weekend work are common.

Location: in towns and cities.

Entry requirements

Practising osteopaths in Northern Ireland must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council , and have completed an accredited osteopathy course which takes up to five years (those already qualified as medical professionals can take an accelerated route). Institutions offering training are in England. The National Training Centre in Dublin provides training in osteopathic medicine. A degree is not compulsory in order to apply. Training lasts five years.

Further information

The Osteopathic Council of Ireland is the governing, regulating and representative body for Osteopathy in Ireland.

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