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Osteopaths move, stretch and massage their clients' muscles and joints with the aim of improving their health and wellbeing.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

The GOsC has a list of approved courses. Courses are usually full-time and last 4 years. If you’re already medically qualified, for example as a doctor or physiotherapist, you may be able to take a shorter course.

You’ll also need liability insurance and an enhanced background check which your employer will arrange for you.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • coordination and practical skills
  • the ability to gain trust and reassure your clients
  • good problem solving skills
  • strong powers of observation

3. What you'll do

You’ll help your client develop muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves and joints that work well together. Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • asking clients about their health and medical history
  • examining their posture and gait, paying particular attention to their muscles, bones and joints
  • using X-rays and other methods to help with your diagnosis
  • planning a course of treatment 
  • using gentle, hands-on techniques like joint mobilisation and massage 
  • advising clients about diet and lifestyle
  • giving clients exercises to do at home

You’ll work with a variety of clients, including:

  • older people with arthritis
  • adults with lower back pain
  • people recovering from a sports injury
  • women going through posture changes caused by pregnancy

4. Salary

Starter: Variable

You’ll usually be self-employed and charge clients £35 to £50 per session. Sessions typically last around 30 minutes. Business costs, like rent and materials, would come out of these fees.

Your income will depend on the number of clients you have. 

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

If self-employed, your hours will depend on the number of clients you have. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to fit in with your clients’ needs.

You may work from your own home, from an alternative therapy clinic, sports clinic, health centre or hospital. You may also visit patients in their homes.

You’ll need a good level of physical fitness for this role.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could set up your your own osteopathy practice.

You could also take further training and move into an academic career teaching osteopathy students.

You could also move into osteopathic research.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018