Occupational therapy - anyone done this as a second career?

(14 Posts)
ToffeeWhirl Tue 20-Aug-13 18:42:10

I have been out of the workplace for years. My DS1 has SNs and this meant I had to take an extended break from full-time work, although I did manage some part time and freelance work. However, I have had to home educate him and help him overcome his various issues, so f-t work has been out of the question recently.

However, there is now a possibility that DS1 is going to go back to school <excited> and I will have the opportunity to work again. I am seriously considering occupational therapy as a career and have been in contact with a local university about a course. I will probably have to do a prep course to get back into academic learning again, however. And I'm worried that, coming from a humanties' background will hinder me. I don't have GCSE Maths and I didn't get a Science A level.

Has anyone else done OT, either as a first or second career? Any advice would be so welcome. Thank you.

ToffeeWhirl Tue 20-Aug-13 21:58:37

hopeful bump

varicoseveined Wed 21-Aug-13 16:59:59

Hi ToffeeWhirl!

I'm aiming to change career to being an OT as well. I am in a similar position to you, GCSE maths grade D and no science A Levels, been an SAHM for about 18 months. I've just enrolled onto an access course in Science, though I understand any related course such as Health and Social Care would be good. Check with the universities closest to you for their entry requirements.

I'm also finding that work experience/shadowing is important too, so seek this as well. If you're on Facebook, there are OT student groups and the people are all v friendly and helpful and ready to give out advice.

For access courses, check out www.accesstohe.ac.uk/Pages/Default.aspx

Also www.cot.co.uk/become-ot - lots of useful into here
Good luck!

ToffeeWhirl Wed 21-Aug-13 18:01:54

Hi, varicose! I was beginning to think I was the only one thinking of this career.

I have looked into an Access course, but am hoping I won't need to do one because it'll take so long (and I'm getting on in years blush). The university nearest me that covers OT also does a 'professional development' course for those who have been out of the education system for a while, so I could do this. Am still waiting to hear from the tutor whether my lack of GCSE Maths and Science A level will be a problem, though.

Thank you so much for those links. I will check them out.

A neighbour and friend is currently training to be an OT and she absolutely loves it. She has been very encouraging to me. However, she is a former nurse, so I do worry that she has all the abilities and skills that I don't. Am encouraged, though, to find that the university wants to attract people from all sorts of backgrounds.

Best of luck with your Access course!

I am an OT - lots of changes happening in the field - especially in social Services- which are killing my passion for it. However, lots of places OTs can use there skills are being developed so although you might not end up in an OT JOB as such it's a great course for supporting people to fulfil their potential.
I'm recently back to being an OT after a stint in management and can feel my passion returning the more visits I do!

Meglet Wed 21-Aug-13 18:19:59

My sister did. She was a regular office bod for years, then bailed out of a high pressure role and went back to uni in her mid 20's to train to be an OT.

After qualifying she worked in a drug / alcohol rehab unit for a couple of years then transferred to a mental health unit. She was there for 4yrs and has just left as it was becoming too pressured with all the cuts. AFAIK she is going to have some time out and return to OT-ing, possibly geriatric (sp?). She enjoys it actually, I've quite enjoyed hearing how it works and how they support people to live independently. But it was gruelling in the mental health unit for her. Very underated job IMO.

ToffeeWhirl Wed 21-Aug-13 18:20:45

What changes, ipod? And why wouldn't I end up in an OT job? confused

Good to hear your passion is returning, though. There must be something good in it.

ToffeeWhirl Wed 21-Aug-13 18:22:58

Thanks, Meglet. I can imagine the mental-health unit was very tough and I'm not at all sure I'd be up to that. But there is a lot of variety in the job, from what I can see.

Thatsnotmychicken Wed 21-Aug-13 18:32:18

Hi, I'm an OT, I work in healthcare, I love my job and career. I trained 15 years ago however when there were more jobs than graduates and all the trusts were competing for you to go work for them.
It's completely different now. There have been a lot changes as have been mentioned above. healthcare cuts have affected whats seen as less essential which includes OT a lot i think. Also a lot of roles merged or became generic posts (which could be done by nurses or OTs etc) and I think this can be quite a different type of job. Having said that I think there are more opportunities in private and voluntary sectors. But again they are not necessarily specific OT roles.
I have to say in the current healthcare climate I would probably choose to train as a physio or nurse instead. Not because I think they are better jobs or careers but I think there are more opportunities for a actual jobs.
Let me know if you want to know any more.

EverybodyLovesWine Wed 21-Aug-13 21:10:10

I am an OT and qualified in March so studying is very recent! I came from a professional managerial background and had a humanities degree and no science at all (unless GCSE combined science counts!). I was accepted on to an MSc course and they did not ask about sciences etc. Have you asked the uni about it?

I am working in a community mental health team on a bank contract at the moment but due to start a two year role in social services (ipod...tell me more..). There are certainly fewer jobs around than their used to be but jobs do still exist. Have a look on NHS jobs to see what is being advertised at the moment. For example since I graduated both of the big hospitals near me have advertised more than once. All of my cohort of 19 have OT jobs now but I think you do have to be flexible and consider temporary work/areas that aren't your first preference and maybe OT assistant roles. I really wanted to work in the community so didn't apply for hospital roles but was prepared to if I didn't get a job.

I loved the course and love the job and so glad I made the move. It is really rewarding. I don't think I would have retrained as a physio or a nurse. As an aside I had heard the job market for physios is even worse!

EverybodyLovesWine Wed 21-Aug-13 21:12:16

Also, make sure you talk to the uni about placements etc. They will be full time and you will need to make sure you have your childcare sorted. It's not easy at times to fit everything in so being prepared and organised helps! Good luck and PM if you want to talk in more detail

ToffeeWhirl Fri 23-Aug-13 09:29:31

Thanks everyone for your messages. I have looked up NHS jobs in OT and, to be honest, it made me feel a bit out of my depth, but I am going to attend an Open Day about OT at the local university and take it from there.

EverybodyLovesWine Fri 23-Aug-13 17:41:54

Don't let the job adverts scare you. It won't make much sense to you until you start studying.

See what the uni have to say and take it from there. I found the tutors really supportive. They want you to pass.

Can you contact some local trusts/social services to see if you can visit or shadow? It will help you get more info and will be of use for your uni application. Where do you live?

(Ps I noticed an errant their rather than there on my first post and it has been irritating me!)

ToffeeWhirl Sat 24-Aug-13 14:51:28

That's reassuring to hear, Everybody. I felt very inadequate when I read the job adverts. It almost scared me right off, to be honest. It was partly to do with not believing I could do the jobs mentioned and partly to do with the possible difficulty in getting local jobs. However, I will put that feeling to one side and talk with my OT friend when she comes back from holiday, as well as attending the Open Day at the local uni.

Also, it's an excellent idea for me to shadow someone. My OT friend may be able to help me with arranging that.

What made you (and other posters) decide to retrain as OTs?

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