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Occupational therapy support worker OT assistant, OT technician, rehabilitation assistant, technical instructor

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Occupational therapy support workers work with occupational therapists to help sick, injured or old people to be as independent as possible.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,250 to £22,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but some employers may ask for:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • voluntary or paid work experience in a caring role with older people, children, or people with physical disabilities, mental health problems or learning difficulties
You may find it useful to have a qualification in health and social care, but this isn’t essential.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication and listening skills
  • confidence and enthusiasm, for times when work with clients doesn’t have a positive result
  • time management skills and the ability to help clients organise their time
  • practical skills in areas like cookery, woodwork or pottery
  • teamworking skills, and the ability to work alone
  • the ability to keep clear, accurate records

3. What you'll do

You’ll help clients with their rehabilitation by:

  • encouraging them to think positively and work towards agreed goals set by an occupational therapist
  • monitoring and recording progress
  • giving regular feedback to therapists

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • encouraging people with mental health issues to create a daily routine
  • assisting children with physical disabilities to enjoy play activities
  • helping people who’ve had a stroke or been in an accident to adjust to their disability
  • showing an older person how to use equipment to help them remain living independently.
  • checking that equipment is in good working order and keeping a record of items in stock

4. Salary

Starter: £15,250 to £19,000

Experienced: £19,250 to £22,500

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 37.5 hours a week. You could be based in a hospital, day centre, residential home, or a client’s own home.

A driving licence may be helpful if you’re working in the community.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a team leader and supervise other occupational therapy support workers.

You could also train as an assistant practitioner and study for a foundation degree. You could then go on to train as an occupational therapist.

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Last updated: 10 September 2018