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Want to retrain as an occupational therapist (in Scotland)- any advice regarding applications and studying with a young family

(24 Posts)
Whitetara Sun 07-Jun-09 23:35:45


I'm currently pregnant, due in September, and have an 18 month old daughter. I'd really like to retrain as an OT after having had a lifetime of dead end jobs. I've got a psychology degree so it would be a post grad course I'd be interested in doing. I'm thinking of applying to a university in Scotland (where I live) to begin training in September next year when dd2 is one year old.

Could anyone share their experience of studying with two small children and/or any tips on applying for such a course. I got a 2.2 in psychology in 1995, have done lots of volunteer work with vulnerable groups albeit 10 years ago and am in the process of setting up some hospital visits to OT departments during the summer in order to get a better picture of the work, and to have something concrete for my personal statement. Is this enough?? TIA

FairLadyRantALot Tue 16-Jun-09 23:35:58

Hmm...I don't think many Uni's offer it as a post grad option to students who don't have the BSc Degree in Occuptational Therapy...but there are some, and it differes from Uni to Uni.

However, on the course I am on, I am a first year student (well nearly finised my first year ) there is a fair few people that have psychology degrees and it's not a bad foundation is in nursing , but because I have not been registred as a nurse for a few years I would not have been able to even do the short cut route (i.e. doing 2 years instead of 3)....

Anyway, my advice is to visit the Unis you consider and see what they say

I have certainly NOT regretted this step one bit....when I did my nursing I was a pretty average rating student...and so far I have had all A's and B's in my work...(may long it continue, lol)...(well, had one C in a formative Essay....but that didn't count anyway, lol)

It is a really fabulous course, enjoyable and engaging....and after my first placement knew for certain that there is NO WAY that I will ever return to nursing

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 16-Jun-09 23:46:00

It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things in terms of your application.

Getting some work experience is essential and your qualifications should be enough to get on a post-grad OT course.

Have you looked at the university of cumbria? i think they might do something similar.

I don't know much about studying as a parent to that extent. There is a student parents topic here i think.

I suspect you will need lots of support available to allow you to commit fully to the course and placements.

Good luck.

FairLadyRantALot Wed 17-Jun-09 06:58:52

dragon, I know that the University of Northamton does not accept non-registred ot's on their masters programme...
I think norfolf/norwich uni does accept other graduates...

oh...never said about parent and being a Kids are almost 5, 6 1/2 and 13 is tough, but worth it...

FairLadyRantALot Wed 17-Jun-09 07:02:01

I just thought I check it quickly and definitely only undergraduate Ot's...\link{ here}

FairLadyRantALot Wed 17-Jun-09 07:02:41

look here

bigbellylady Wed 17-Jun-09 07:02:53

hi, I trained as an OT with small children (well dd was born half way through the course).

It is really hard work and I ended up doing essays etc until the early hours as had no other time. I found the placements hardest but if you get placements near to home it is easier.

I have been qualified 2 years now and work in the community for local authority and absolutly love it and geteting paid well so it was all worthwhile !

bigbellylady Wed 17-Jun-09 07:05:22

fairlady - the MSc is a different thing completley.

You can train to qualify as an OT as a postgrad (shorter course) so any degree OK.

bigbellylady Wed 17-Jun-09 07:08:11

I would also advise to get some work experience in a couple of different areas eg mental health, physical disability, elderly rehab etc.

We always happy to take people for few days observation so ring round local OT depts. and ask.

nevergoogledragonbutter Wed 17-Jun-09 11:35:56

here is the cumbria course
it's an accelerated 2yr full time MSc course.

there is some information about the type of experience/undergrad you should have.

FairLadyRantALot Wed 17-Jun-09 16:34:48

hm it states on there:
"Normally BA/BSc (Hons) degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject. If you have an unrelated first degree, but also experience in occupational therapy, your application will be considered. Applicants unable to meet the formal academic entry requirements but who hold another relevant professional qualification such as a diploma in physiotherapy, nursing, chiropody or podiatry are welcome to apply. Candidates will need to show post-qualification academic performance, a range of continuing professional development (CPD), and relevant professional experience. We look for a clear understanding of the work of an occupational therapist, so it is useful if you have undertaken some work experience or shadowing. The programme is intensive and you need to be a committed, independent learner."

so...unless OP has worked in a health field or as OT Technical Instructor....I think that psychology may still not count though...although, I find it confusing it all works...

Nappyzoneisabeetrootrunner Wed 24-Jun-09 19:07:43

all this undgraduate post grad stuff confuses me - i have wanted to be an OT for a while now and have coincidently looked into this today as a step fwd out of my dull job which i took while kids young. They are still young but less demanding im hoping by time i study. Nothing i have already counts towards anything so i was told today to do an access course for 1 yr with a view to enrolling on OT course degree thingy sept 2010 which is also when lo will start school. Anyone done it via an access course route?

FairLadyRantALot Mon 13-Jul-09 23:17:44

bt late...the thread fell of my radar, so to say, lol
we have a few people doing first access courses and now they do their OT BSc.
I was lucky, because even though my nursing qualification (as lapsed registration), didn't count as per se....but they accepted it as a good basis, aswell as having life experience, so, only wanted me to do a proof of study, and ask me to do a study skills course...which was simple enough, and only a one evening a week for 10 week course...

gosh, I can not believe that I have finished my first year now, and am a step closer to my goal

FairLadyRantALot Mon 13-Jul-09 23:18:26

lso, Nappy., might be worth pposting your question on teh student parent board....

Notalone Mon 13-Jul-09 23:39:55


I don't know much about the entrance requirements but I am also an OT mature student who will be going into my second year in October.
When I applied I had always worked in offices so spent lots of time observing OT's in different areas which I then mentioned on my UCAS form as it reinforced the fact that this was the right career choice for me. The course is definitely not easy and you need to ensure you can complete full time placements too. At my uni you need to complete 7 weeks in your first year, 10 in the second year and 12 in the 3rd year. These placements can be anywhere within an approx 50 mile radius though they do take into account those with children. This course attracts a large percentage of mature students with children and you can access plenty of help. You also get a bursary to help with the financial costs.

I love my degree and am 110% happy I chose to do this. Its amazing. Good luck!

Notalone Mon 13-Jul-09 23:42:18

PS - lots of those on my course came via the access course route so if your qualifications are not enough for your chosen uni then this could be an option for you. Which uni are you looking at?

FairLadyRantALot Tue 14-Jul-09 10:04:24

Notalone, get your butt back onto the first year is it going, have you got all your grades through yet?
We have so far 3 out of 4 back, still waiting for Occupational Beings being marked
Done rather well, 2 A's and 1 B so far...can't believe it myself, lol....I mean, I used to toally suck at school, and my nursing I passed wiht all C's....

ooops, sorry for boasting highjack!

Clwc Wed 15-Jul-09 00:12:48

I have a 2:ii in Business Studies from 2001. To get on to the degree course, I needed to have evidence of recent academic study, so was advised to complete either a Psychology or Biology GCSE. Today, I enquired by e-mail about the 2yr accelerated PgDip course. I imagine the qualification level will have to be stepped up to an AS/A2/A-Level. I'll let you know what the Uni says.

The good thing is that OT seems to be a good choice. OTs are in short supply at the moment.

Oh, you will also need to have experience of OT work in a hospital, mental health, and community setting (according to the Uni I'll be going to).

Notalone Wed 15-Jul-09 19:23:58

blush - I know Fairlady. I will shock you one day soon I promise! I now have all my results back. My last two essays (Severe and Enduring Mental Health and Occupational Environment and the Community ) I managed to get 2:1 and a first - I was over the moon! My uni is really hot on being "critical" to get the good grades and I started doing better when I realised that being critical just means providing a balanced argument. Phew!

And well done you - 2 A's and a B is fantastic. I bet you were so so pleased (and rightly so!). When is your next placement?

FairLadyRantALot Wed 15-Jul-09 20:50:19

Our next Placement is in October up till nearly Christmas. Am so looking forward to it,it will be a mental health Placement, working with the elderly with functional and organic mental health problems....I will have 2 Educators this time, as one is less experienced and I will be her first student, which is why I am working on 2 wards....
I can't wait
Your Essays sound so different from ours...our last Essay for Understanding Occupational Beings was based on an Interview with an Elderly person, and than we had to look at their different Occupational Areas and than take 2 and look at how they affect on eachother, was really interesting, and is part of some bigger research , which is kinda exciting
Did you have a Human Health/Anatomy/Physiology exam?
We also had a peermarked group work, where we had to work in pairs leading a group of peers, me and my friend did a group on making Sensory Pouches, which could be used within the OT workplace.
We also had to do a case study presentation (using the OT process as a framework) about a patient at our last Placement. Totally nervewrecking to present it, lol...

When is your next Placement? And how did the first one go? You still enjoying it lots?

Clwc Fri 17-Jul-09 20:38:06

OP, I found out that, to do the PgDip OT course, I just need to have a 2nd class degree and a bit of experience. The degree doesn't even have to have been from the last 5 years. As it happens, the course is full for the Jan 2010 intake, so I'll have to fill my time until Jan 2011 anyway.

What have you found out?

gomez Fri 17-Jul-09 20:57:04

At least 2 Unis in Scotland offer PG courses for holders of non-OT degree (Glasgow Cali and Queen Margaret) - the a PgDip takes 2 years and is suffficent for registration with appropriate professional body. They are self-funded courses I believe. MSc. would take longer and require a dissertation. I think a nominally relevant degree may be required and an upper second preferred but mature students can often bring other skills to the table which can mitigate.

Generally vocational courses like this have high contact and workload requirements. This can be hard with very young children.

Good luck!

gomez Fri 17-Jul-09 21:00:20

Sorry should have said advice from friend who happens to be drinking wine with me and is a Careers Adviser at a Uni in Scotland.

was showing her the clothes dumped on doorstep thread....

FairLadyRantALot Fri 17-Jul-09 21:37:06

that is interesting....shows just how different it all is...not surprising than it's so confusing!
It will also be worth finding out how valued an ot with one of those pgdips are...because it's apparently quite difficult as it is to start of as a band 5, that might be of importance, because you will have to start at band 5....or so we were told, even if we would do our masters straightaway, after having done the masters you still tart at band 5....
and if money is a prob, you may well be better off doing the BSc in ot and have it NHS funded and getting a meanstested would only be an extra year..

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