Occupational Therapy Support Worker

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

As an occupational therapy support worker, you could:

  • encourage clients with mental health issues to create a daily routine
  • assist children with physical disabilities to enjoy play activities
  • help clients who have had a stroke or been in an accident to adjust to their disability
  • show clients how to use equipment that helps them to live independently
  • check that equipment is in good working order and keep a record of items


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • customer service skills
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an Occupational Therapy Support Worker, you typically need specific subjects and may also require further education and training in healthcare or related fields. The specific subjects and qualifications needed can vary depending on the employer and the specific job requirements. Here are some common subjects and qualifications that can help you on the path to becoming an Occupational Therapy Support Worker:

  1. English Language and Mathematics: English Language and Mathematics are essential, as they provide foundational communication and numerical skills required for healthcare roles.
  2. Biology or Human Biology: biology or human biology is highly relevant, as it provides a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology, which is crucial in healthcare settings.
  3. Health and Social Care: Vocational qualifications in health and social care can be beneficial, as they introduce you to the principles of healthcare and social care services.
  4. Psychology: Some employers may prefer candidates with experience in psychology or an understanding of psychological principles, as this knowledge can be relevant to occupational therapy.
  5. Physical Education (PE): PE can be helpful, as it introduces you to the importance of physical activity and its role in rehabilitation and well-being.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly


You could do a college course to get into this job.  In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care
  • Diploma in Skills for Health and Social Care
  • Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care

Most health and social care courses include work placements so this could be a good way of getting experience.


You could do a Healthcare Support Worker Intermediate Apprenticeship or a Senior Healthcare Support Worker Advanced Apprenticeship.


You could start as a healthcare assistant and learn on the job. You could then do training to move into occupational therapy work.


You’ll find it useful to get some voluntary work experience in health or social care.

Direct Application

You can apply directly for occupational therapy support worker roles if you’ve got skills and experience from working in a care or healthcare role.

Employers might want you to have a qualification in a subject related to health, and experience of working with people.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 40-42 hours of work. You could be required to work between 8am and 6pm.

You could work in a public or private hospital or at a client’s home.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could:

  • become a team leader and supervise other occupational therapy support workers
  • learn on the job and gain further qualifications such as a foundation degree in health and social care
  • do a degree or degree apprenticeship to become an occupational therapist