How to become an occupational therapy technical instructor: Amy's story

Meet Amy, who works alongside occupational therapists to help ill, injured or elderly people to be as independent as possible. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

About three years ago, I became unwell myself with my mental health and I had a lot of input from an occupational therapy team... I thought, it's been a huge positive impact on my own recovery, I'm going to have a look into everything they do.

  • Amy works for the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust in an occupational therapy (OT) team. OTs work with patients for many different reasons, such as helping them adapt after major surgery or helping patients with mental health difficulties or learning disabilities with everyday activities like work or volunteering
  • Amy's department assess patients' functioning, such as fine motor skills (anything you do with your fingers or hands) and gross motor skills (like climbing the stairs or keeping your balance). They try to find solutions to help patients who are having difficulties live as independently as possible
  • Amy started volunteering in an OT team after occupational therapy helped her recovery when she was struggling with her mental health. From her volunteering experience, she was able to apply for the OT technical instructor role when the vacancy opened
  • Having worked across occupational therapy and nursing roles for the past two years and loved both, she recently secured a position in a new role called an apprentice nursing associate, which bridges the gap between registered nurses and nursing assistants
  • She recommends volunteering as a great way to get a sense of exactly where your passion lies and which role could suit you best.

Occupational therapy technical instructors (aka occupational therapy support workers) assist occupational therapists. They will usually start on band 3 of the NHS pay scale. If they choose to, they could go on to pursue an Occupational Therapy degree or degree apprenticeship to become an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists usually start on band 5 of the pay scale. For more information on the two different roles, check out:

Occupational therapy (OT) technical instructor roles are sometimes referred to by different titles, including OT support worker, OT assistant, OT technician or rehabilitation assistant.

What to expect if you want to be an occupational therapy technical instructor

  • OT technical instructor average salary: From £20,329 to £24,881 (Band 2-Band 4)
  • OT technical instructor typical working hours: On average 40-42 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be an occupational therapy technical instructor?

You could get into this role via a college course (such as a Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma, or a T-level - England-only), an apprenticeship, or applying directly if you have relevant experience.

Sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service, NHS Health Careers, GOV.UK.

This information is a guide and is constantly changing. Please check the National Careers Service website for the latest information and all the qualifications needed and the GOV.UK website for more on T-levels.

Sarah: occupational therapy assistant
Becky: prosthetist
Job inspiration: Roles in healthcare