How to become an Occupational Therapist

28 November 2022

Care home resident cooking with carer

If you’re interested in becoming an Occupational Therapist at Exemplar Health Care, it’s important to know the steps you need to take to ensure you’re ready and qualified for the role. Our guide explains everything. 

What is an Occupational Therapist?

An Occupational Therapist helps people to overcome the challenges they face carrying out day-to-day activities because of a disability, illness, trauma or long term condition. 

They look at difficult tasks from another angle, working out a way to make them achievable. 

Occupational Therapists can be involved in all aspects of daily life. That could mean making a cup of tea, cooking a meal, doing laundry or going shopping.

What do Occupational Therapists at Exemplar Health Care do?

At Exemplar Health Care, our care focuses on maximising independence and building everyday living skills. We empower people to live their best lives – and occupational therapy is a big part of this!

We support adults living with complex mental and physical health needs including people recovering from spinal injuries or brain injuries, people living with neuro-disabilities and dementia, and people who require respiratory care.

As an Occupational Therapist with us, you’ll provide specialist assessments, clinical diagnoses and interventions to help people overcome the challenges they face with completing everyday tasks or activities.

You’ll work with the wider Care Team and Clinical Team to create person-centred care plans, support people to achieve their goals and evaluate their outcomes.

You’ll be an active and valued member of the multidisciplinary team, and provide expert advice, guidance and knowledge within your field of expertise.

Read our Occupational Therapist job description

What qualifications do you need to become an Occupational Therapist? 

To become an Occupational Therapist, you must have a BSc or MSc in Occupational Therapy and be HCPC registered. 

Generally, the requirements to do a degree in occupational therapy differ depending on the university you want to attend. Most will ask for 5 GCSEs of A-C, including a science, and 2 or 3 A-levels.

There are other routes into occupational therapy including equivalent BTECs, NVQs or science-based access courses, so it’s best to check with the university before you apply. 

It’s good to have, but not essential, a background education in sciences, especially biology.

Funding for qualifications is available through student loans and also through apprenticeship programmes, if you’re eligible, to help towards your studies and ensure that you receive the best support towards your degree. 

What skills do you need to be an Occupational Therapist at Exemplar Health Care? 

First and foremost, our Occupational Therapists live and breathe our values of fun, integrity, responsive, success and teamwork.

Our first value is fun, and no matter what role you’re in, we expect you to make life fun for our service users and your colleagues. Check out our Facebook page for all of the fun activities that we get up to!

Read more about our values.

To be an Occupational Therapist, you should be well organised, able to work under your own initiative as well as part of a multi-disciplinary team, and be up-to-date with current evidence-based occupational therapy best practice.

Here’s some of the other knowledge and skills you need to be an Occupational Therapist.

  • A thorough understanding of occupational therapy best practice including specialist clinical assessment and reasoning skills.
  • An excellent range of occupational therapy interventions and treatments.
  • A good knowledge and experience of the assessment, admission and discharge process, including care planning.
  • A great team player and good role model, able to coach, motivate, teach and support your colleagues.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Good working IT knowledge and digital skills.

What are the day to day activities of an Occupational Therapist at Exemplar Health Care?

Working as an Occupational Therapist in social care is different to working as one in the NHS. 

As an Occupational Therapist at Exemplar Health Care, you’ll work closely with the wider care team and clinical team to create and implement person-centred care plans which include occupational therapy interventions.

No two days will be the same – our service users are individuals and they deserve to be treated as such.

However, as a general guide, your responsibilities may involve the following.

  • Working with service users, their loved ones and other professionals to develop and deliver person-centred care plans for occupational therapy interventions, focusing on self-care, leisure, independence and meaningful occupation.
  • Monitoring, evaluating and recording people’s progress, and updating and adapting their care plan as required.
  • Using equipment, such as appliances and aids, safely as part of therapy interventions, and ensuring that colleagues and families are adequately trained.
  • Working closely with professionals from a range of agencies including GP’s, Consultants, NHS colleagues, Primary Care Trusts (PCT) and social services, to ensure that service users’ ongoing care is timely and effective.

Who will I support at Exemplar Health Care?

Exemplar Health Care supports adults living with a range of complex and high acuity needs.

Our homes tend to specialise in supporting people with specific conditions and disabilities such as brain injuries, neuro-disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities. We also have several learning disability services.

Read about the specialisms of our care homes on our care home webpages.

As an Occupational Therapist with Exemplar Health Care, you’ll be empowered to really make a difference.

In this role, you’ll work with the same team and service users to ensure continuity of care.

Our homes are relatively small in size, which means that you’ll have sufficient time to make a real difference to the lives of those in your care.

What are the career development opportunities for Occupational Therapists?

As an Occupational Therapist at Exemplar Health Care, you’ll have the opportunity to progress and develop your career, if you wish. 

We offer a range of in-house and external training programmes, including: 

  • Mandatory and Statutory Training (MAST) to refresh your skills
  • specialist clinical skills development from our central Clinical Team 
  • in-house leadership and management development programmes
  • role specific diplomas, qualifications, coaching and training. 

As well as this, as an Occupational Therapist at Exemplar Health Care, you’ll have the opportunity to progress into such roles as Lead Therapist in our bigger homes or across a number of homes, managing a team of colleagues.

How can I apply for an Occupational Therapist job at Exemplar Health Care?

Visit our online job search to find an Occupational Therapist job at Exemplar Health Care.

We look forward to hearing from you.