How much do occupational therapists earn?

11 September 2022  •  Locum
How much do occupational therapists earn?

The number of occupational therapists in the United Kingdom has been growing in recent years. As of 2021, there are an estimated 47,000 occupational therapists practising in the country. This is a nearly 35% increase from the 33,800 therapists estimated in 2014. The demand for occupational therapy services is expected to grow in the coming years as the population ages, and more people seek help for chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis. But how much do occupational therapists earn? Read on to find out if the rise in numbers correlates to the available pay.

What is an occupational therapist?

Before we answer the question "How much do occupational therapists earn?" let's first learn what an occupational therapist is and what they do. An occupational therapist (OT) is a professional who helps people with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities improve their ability to perform everyday activities. Occupational therapists work with patients of all ages – from infants to the elderly.

Occupational therapists use various techniques to help their patients improve their ability to function in daily life. These techniques include exercises, education, and the use of adaptive equipment. Occupational therapy aims to help patients live as independently as possible.

Occupational therapists work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and private practices. They often work with other health care professionals, such as physical therapists, speech therapists, and physicians.

How much do occupational therapists earn?

According to recent data, the average salary for occupational therapists in the United Kingdom is around £38,700 per year. However, salaries can range depending on experience, skills, employer, and location. For example, those working in London and the South East earn more than those in other parts of the country.

Occupational therapists typically start at band 5 on the NHS salary scale, ranging from £25,650 to £31,500 per year. From there, they can progress to band 6 (£32,300 to £39,030 per year), band 7 (£40,060 to £45,840 per year), and finally band 8b, which has a salary range of £54,764 to £63,865 per year.

However, private practitioners earn more than their counterparts in other settings. This is likely due to the greater autonomy and flexibility private practitioners enjoy – and the ability to set their rates.

Working across the NHS and private practices, you also have locum workers. Read on below to find out how much Locum occupational therapists can make.

Working hours

Those working in NHS as occupational therapists typically work between 30 and 40 hours weekly. This can vary depending on the specific needs of the patients they are working with. Some occupational therapists may work additional hours to ensure their patients receive the necessary care.

In contrast, some occupational therapists in private practice may need to work outside business hours to accommodate their clients' schedules. This may include working evenings or weekends.


To work as an occupational therapist in the United Kingdom, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC sets standards for occupational therapists, which include maintaining a high level of professional competence and conducting oneself in a way that upholds the public's trust in the profession.

To register, you must have a degree in occupational therapy that the HCPC recognises. You must also complete a supervised practice period and pass the HCPC registration examination. This will ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide high-quality care to your patients.

Although an Occupational Therapist (OT) degree is the standard entry requirement to start practising, it is possible to join the profession without one. There are several ways to do this, including working as an OT support worker or rehabilitation assistant.

Locum occupational therapists

Locum occupational therapists are therapists who work in the short term, filling in for other therapists who are on leave or otherwise unavailable. They may work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

As a locum occupational therapist, you must:

  • Quickly adapt to new environments and work well under pressure
  • Maintain a high level of patient care despite the chaotic nature of the work
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to build rapport with patients and their families

Benefits of being a locum occupational therapist

More flexible schedules

Working as a locum occupational therapist can be a great way to enjoy flexibility in your career. You can choose when and where you work and tailor your work schedule to suit your lifestyle. This can be a great way to achieve a work-life balance.

Higher pay

Locum therapists often have the opportunity to work at higher-paying facilities and negotiate their rates. This can lead to a significant increase in earnings compared to working as a staff therapist at a lower-paying facility.

As a locum OT, you can expect to be paid £25-40 per hour, depending on your skills knowledge, and experience, as well as the location and shift days/times

Build up your CV and experience level

Locum work can provide an excellent opportunity to learn new skills, work with different teams and expand your knowledge base. In addition, locum work can also help you to build your confidence and learn to work independently. All these skills and experiences will benefit you when looking for a permanent job.

How to find locum therapy jobs

There are a few different ways that one can go about finding locum occupational therapy jobs.

Carry out some research

There are a few different ways that you can go about this. First, you can look online for job postings. Several websites list locum occupational therapy jobs and other types of temporary healthcare positions. You can also check with staffing agencies that specialise in placing healthcare professionals in temporary positions.

Network with other professionals in the field

This can be done by attending professional conferences and meetings or joining professional organisations. You can also reach out to colleagues who may know of any openings in their organisations or in other organisations.

Apply for the job

Once you have done some research and networking, the next step is to apply for the positions you are interested in. When applying for locum occupational therapy jobs, it's important to have a strong CV and cover letter. You should highlight your skills and experience in your CV and explain why you would be a good fit for the position in your cover letter.

Looking for a new healthcare job? With a simple search on our website, you can browse hundreds of available positions and find the perfect fit for your skills and experience. So why wait? Start your job search today with Globe.

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