Access to Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapists (OTs) work with people who have problems with their physical or mental health, or learning disabilities. Their aim is to maximise the service care users' quality of life at home and in the workplace. They assess needs, plan and carry out activities to help people cope with and overcome problems.
To become an Occupational Therapist you will need a BSc. (Hons) degree in Occupational Therapy (usually a 3-year course). You then need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
What are the university entry requirements for an occupational therapy degree?
To apply to universities for Occupational Therapy, you should have or be working towards achieving a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science or, alternatively, 3 A-Levels with at least one in a science area (Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Geography or Maths). Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they also publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website.
With the A Level route, you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs.
If you complete an Access to Occupational Therapy course, you are normally only required to have GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above. Access to HE Diplomas are normally aimed towards adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels. Access to HE can be studied from home via online learning or at a local college.
Most Occupational Therapy degree courses will give students over 1,000 hours of clinical experience. This enables graduates to confidently work with people in their care to analyse the environmental and physical factors at play and successfully devise appropriate interventions to help them.
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
Occupational Therapy can be one of the most rewarding areas of health care. The role is commonly thought of as mainly helping people overcome health problems to get them back to work, but it stretches much further than this. The ‘occupations’ part of the title doesn’t just relate to jobs, it encompasses everything people want or need to fulfil life roles and find meaning.
Occupational therapists have a wide range of practice and work with people of all ages. Often around 33% of an OTs caseload is children though occupational therapists work with people across the lifespan, from neonatal care to hospices. Some therapists provide early intervention therapy to children who have or are at risk of having developmental delays. Some work with the older care users to help them lead more independent and active lives.
What personal attributes are needed to become an OT?
- Good communication skills - Listening well to service care users and communicating clearly your action plan are key parts of the role.
- Flexibility – Each intervention will be different. Therapy needs to be tailored for each individual and carefully managed to assess if changes to the program need to be made.
- Compassion – OTs are usually drawn to this area by a desire to enrich the daily lives of others.
What are the pay and working conditions like?
- Salaries for occupational therapists working in the NHS start at Band 5 of the NHS Pay Scale (£22,128 to £28,746).
- Salaries for specialist occupational therapists range from £26,565 to £35,577 (Band 6) and advanced/highly specialist occupational therapists can earn £31,696 to £41,787 (Band 7).
- At consultant level, you can typically earn between £40,428 and £58,217 (Bands 8a and 8b).
- The Government has recently announced a 6.5% increase in salaries across health sector employees over the next 3 years.
Salaries in local government are at similar levels, although there can be variations depending on your skills and experience. The working week is generally 37.5 hours and some flexibility in terms of evenings and weekends may be needed.
In a nut-shell…
Occupational therapists’ goals are always functional and strive to enable people to live life to the fullest.
There are currently over 38,000 OTs employed in the UK, more than paramedics and Dietitians combined
OTs can help care service users with physical exercises to improve strength or dexterity, mental exercises to overcome difficulties with memory, or provide special programs to help overcome sensory or communication problems.
How is your degree funded?
Studying to become an Occupational Therapist allows you to you to apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available for example, through the university or your place of work.
If you would like to complete an online Access to Occupational Therapy course with Academy Online Learning to obtain the Level 3 Access Diploma in Health Science Professions for university entry, please choose your payment options below or contact us for more information by phone or email. Studying and achieving this qualification provides a flexible way to study as it is fully online and is recognised and accepted by UK universities.
What units will I study on the Online Access to Occupational Therapy Course?
This gives you an opportunity to shine when you are invited for an interview at the university. You will research the university and look at the syllabus and the combination of academic and practical experience and delivery. You will address your own transferable skills and put them to use when writing your UCAS application. You can produce a practice UCAS form prior to submitting your application to UCAS. All the research relating to this unit needs to be contained in a portfolio. You can take this with you to demonstrate that you have carried out detailed research of the course that you have applied for.
There are many diseases and consequently many causes of diseases. Identifying the prevalence of diseases comes with the notion of patterns in society where disease is prevalent. You will be looking at the nature of diseases and the changing patterns across society over time. By identifying diseases and causes, steps can be taken to reduce a disease. Public Health Agencies play a clear role in this; you will be given the opportunity to discover how effective these agencies are in promoting health.
There are many different methods involved in research and you will be introduced to some of these, for example; Correlations, Experiments, Observations, Case Studies Questionnaires and Surveys. You will be given the opportunity to develop your own piece of research in a standard report format.
This can be awarded against a level 3 essay. In essay preparation, you will be expected to research a topical area and present an argument, analysis or evaluation, demonstrating that you can use the evidence you have researched to present ideas and empirical evidence to support the claims that you are making.. The set of writing conventions relating to an essay can vary depending on the subject area. You will be asked to read the question carefully so that you know what the question is asking. In identifying the key words you will be able to see what the main idea is behind the title. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to select relevant material.
Psychology Units (Graded)
This involves the localisation and function of the brain. The different methods of investigating the brain are considered, whereby the strengths and weaknesses of those methods are addressed. You will be given the opportunity to look at the interaction between the brain and behaviour in an example of day to day living.
Health Units (Graded)
This unit relates to communication between health care professionals and clients. Here you will be able to explore the different ways of breaking down barriers of communication and how some barriers are more difficult than others to eradicate. You will develop an understanding of the importance of listening skills and how empathy is a focal point of the client /nurse relationship. There are many forms of communication used to convey confidential information. There is a focus here to show how any breaches of confidentiality can have serious consequences.
There are a range of physiological disorders identified here in this unit. You will be made aware of at least three different disorders in detail from the onset and the processes involved in the diagnosis of the disorder including the tests involved in identifying the disorder and remedies to address the disorder and the care strategies used to support the individual on recovery. The roles and responsibility of health care specialists is also important in the speed of recovery and palliative care.
Biology Units (Graded)
The main theme in this unit is to develop an understanding of the hormone system and the endocrine glands. You will be looking at the principles behind homeostasis and feedback mechanisms involved in as blood sugar control. You will also look at the actions of hormones and the understandings of molecular processes in steroid and peptide action. You will be illustrating and giving accounts of the endocrine system and identifying the specific organs associated with the system. There will be an opportunity to discuss the medical use of synthetic hormones such as HRT.
Here you will be given the opportunity to explore the components and function of a balanced diet. You will be directed towards looking at what happens when there are deficiencies of a particular nutrient and you will be given the opportunity to identify common forms of malnutrition. Whilst collecting your evidence you will be explore the Alimentary Canal, identifying and locating the structure and function of the Digestive System and the processes involved in the digestive process.
This addresses the understanding of genetic inheritance including simple Mendelian crosses where you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding with illustrations and give a robust account of autosomal dominant recessive patterns and co – dominance. You will need to be able to draw and interpret a Punnett square and calculate probabilities for a variety of monohybrid or dihybrid crosses and recognise inheritance patterns. There will be an opportunity to research and understand the chromosomal basis of sex determination and explain the intra species variations as a result of features such as the environment.
The skeletal system is the primary focus of attention in this unit where you will be given the opportunity to understand the function and structure of the skeletal system, the different joints and movement possibilities relating to joints. You will locate the regions of the spine and identify a number of bones in the human body. You will explore the muscle fibre action in detail and the mechanism involved in sliding filament theory.
This introduces the basic structure and function of the nervous system including the peripheral nervous system the autonomic nervous system and it’s subdivisions. You will also be given the opportunity expand upon your research and look at the nature of nerve impulses and the importance of action potential and the myelin sheath. You will also look at the principles of synaptic transmission, the direction of transmission and the effects of synaptic inhibition.
This looks into the organisation and structure of the body considering tissue types and DNA. You will study the various blood components, the roles and relate this to the circulatory system as a whole. You will cover the blood flow within them, the dynamics of the heart in relation to the needs of the body as well as the differences between plasma and tissue fluid.
This unit looks at homeostasis and the kidney as a homeostatic organ. You will be researching the kidney’s role in the balance of water, salt and pH and the effects of the environment on a cellular level. There will be an opportunity to give a detailed account of the kidney and illustrate its function in relation to the body. Kidney replacement is also a topical area. Malfunction diagnosis is a key consideration and point of investigation.