Occupational therapy support worker

rehabilitation assistant assistant practitioner occupational therapy assistant
Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would support people to do day-to-day activities that may be difficult for them because of a disability.

You’d help people who have a disability due to physical or mental illness, an accident or ageing to manage their daily activities and live as independently as possible

First you would assess each person’s needs and find ways for them to adapt or improve their situation.

You’d then help the patients with their rehabilitation, encourage them to think positively and work towards agreed goals. You would work with individuals or groups in hospital and in their own homes.

For example, you could:

  • Help a patient get used to using a new prosthetic limb
  • Support someone with mental health issues to plan a daily routine and take part in outside activities
  • Assist children with physical disabilities to enjoy play activities
  • Help people who have had a stroke or been in an accident to adjust to their disability
  • Show an older person how to use equipment to help them with daily activities and remain living independently

The people you’d work with may become frustrated at their rate of progress so you’d need to encourage them and give them confidence that they can improve. You’d check and document people’s progress for regular feedback to the therapists.

You might also check equipment is in good working order and keep a record of items in stock.

If you have the skills, you might also do practical activities with people like cookery, woodwork or pottery.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Occupational therapy support worker page on the NHSScotland Careers website.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work around 37.5 hours a week. Part-time hours and job share opportunities are also often available.

Environment

You could be based in a hospital, day centre or residential home, or visit clients in their own home.

Travel

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

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Persuading people
  • Caring for people
  • Accuracy
  • Working with your hands
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

You would need

  • an HNC (SCQF Level 7)
  • or a relevant work-based qualification such as a Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (SCQF 6/7)

You can enter an Occupational Therapy Support Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7) with National 4/5 qualifications and two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at BBBC or above.

If you already have an honours degree (SCQF Level 10) in a relevant subject, such as health or social work, you can apply to a postgraduate course (SCQF Level 11) in occupational therapy. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Care
  • Childcare & development
  • Biology
  • Modern studies
  • Health & food technologies

You will also need

  • To register with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), for which a worker must hold, or agree to work towards, the appropriate qualifications for their job
  • To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland

Helpful to have

Relevant work experience or a work-based qualification such as the Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare.