Overview of the role

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages and can look at all aspects of daily life in your home, school or workplace.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

Occupational therapists work across a range of settings, including health, social care, education and other private and voluntary sector organisations. They work with individuals of all ages, including those with physical and mental health conditions, injuries, learning disabilities and palliative care needs, as well as those who are displaced or marginalised from their communities. Occupational therapists also work with families, carers, employers and organisations that support the individual.

An occupational therapist’s primary goal is to enable individuals to participate in occupations in a meaningful way. In a therapeutic context, the term ‘occupation’ refers to everyday activities that people want, need, or are expected to carry out. Using a holistic person-centred approach, informed by evidence-based practice, occupational therapists support service users to carry out everyday occupations, such as dressing, eating, catching the bus to work, or other activities that are important to them.

Occupational therapists work as autonomous, accountable practitioners, individually or within a team. Through assessment, intervention, critical reflection and applying analytical skills, they reach collaborative solutions to service users’ needs.  Occupational therapists are responsible for reflecting on the effectiveness of their actions and ensuring their knowledge and skills are current, with the aim of continually improving the service they provide.  They demonstrate leadership and management qualities, and are required, within the professional and regulatory standards, to contribute to the development of the profession by supporting student therapists and supervising those in other roles.

Typical job titles include:

Occupational therapist

Entry requirements

Typically 3 A levels or equivalent access qualifications

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Practise safely and effectively within the scope of practice and within the legal and ethical boundaries of the profession.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12

B3 B4

Duty 2 Look after own health and wellbeing, seeking appropriate support where necessary.

K10 K11

S13 S14 S16

Duty 3 Practise as an autonomous professional, exercising professional judgement.


S15 S17 S18 S19 S20 S21


Duty 4 Practise in a non-discriminatory and inclusive manner recognising the impact of culture, equality and diversity.

K13 K14 K15 K16

S22 S23 S24 S25

B1 B2

Duty 5 Communicate effectively, maintaining confidentiality and records appropriately.

K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23 K24

S26 S27 S28 S29 S30 S31 S32 S33 S34 S35 S36

B1 B2

Duty 6 Work appropriately with others.

K25 K26 K27 K28 K29 K30 K31 K32 K33 K34

S37 S38 S39 S40 S41 S42 S43 S44 S45 S46 S47

B1 B2 B4

Duty 7 Reflect on, review and assure the quality of own practice.

K35 K36 K37

S48 S49 S50 S51 S52 S53 S54


Duty 8 Draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice and apply the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to the profession.

K38 K39 K40 K41 K42 K43 K44 K45 K46 K47 K48 K49 K50 K51 K52 K53 K54

S55 S56 S57 S58 S59 S60 S61 S62 S63 S64 S65 S66 S67 S68 S69 S70 S71 S72 S73 S74 S75 S76

B1 B3

Duty 9 Establish and maintain a safe practice environment.

K55 K56 K57

S77 S78 S79 S80 S81


Duty 10 Promote public health and prevent ill health.

K58 K59

S82 S83




K1: The importance of continuing professional development throughout own career. Back to Duty

K2: The importance of safeguarding, signs of abuse and relevant safeguarding processes. Back to Duty

K3: What is required of them by the Health and Care Professions Council, including but not limited to the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics. Back to Duty

K4: That relationships with service users, carers and others should be based on mutual respect and trust. Back to Duty

K5: The importance of valid consent. Back to Duty

K6: The importance of capacity in the context of delivering care and treatment. Back to Duty

K7: The scope of a professional duty of care. Back to Duty

K8: Legislation, policies and guidance relevant to own profession and scope of practice. Back to Duty

K9: The effect of legislation on the delivery of care. Back to Duty

K10: The importance of own mental and physical health and wellbeing strategies in maintaining fitness to practise. Back to Duty

K11: How to take appropriate action if own health may affect own ability to practise safely and effectively, including seeking help and support when necessary.. Back to Duty

K12: The need for active participation in training, supervision and mentoring in supporting high standards of practice, and personal and professional conduct, and the importance of demonstrating this in practice. Back to Duty

K13: Equality legislation and how to apply it to own practice. Back to Duty

K14: The duty to make reasonable adjustments in practice. Back to Duty

K15: The characteristics and consequences of barriers to inclusion, including for socially isolated groups. Back to Duty

K16: That regard to equality, diversity and inclusion needs to be embedded in the application of all HCPC standards and across all areas of practice. Back to Duty

K17: When disclosure of confidential information may be required. Back to Duty

K18: The principles of information and data governance and the safe and effective use of health, social care and other relevant information. Back to Duty

K19: The need to ensure confidentiality is maintained in all situations in which service users rely on additional communication support, such as interpreters or translators. Back to Duty

K20: The concepts of confidentiality and informed consent extend to all mediums, including illustrative clinical records such as photography, video and audio recordings and digital platforms. Back to Duty

K21: The characteristics and consequences of verbal and non-verbal communication and recognise how these can be affected by difference of any kind including, but not limited to, protected characteristics, intersectional experiences and cultural differences. Back to Duty

K22: The need to support the communication needs of service users and carers, such as through the use of an appropriate interpreter. Back to Duty

K23: The need to provide service users or people acting on own behalf with the information necessary in accessible formats to enable them to make informed decisions. Back to Duty

K24: The values, beliefs, culture, behaviours and interests of service users and carers, through interview and personal discussion. Back to Duty

K25: The principles and practices of other health and care professionals and systems and how they interact with own profession. Back to Duty

K26: The need to build and sustain professional relationships as both an autonomous practitioner and collaboratively as a member of a team. Back to Duty

K27: The qualities, behaviours and benefits of leadership. Back to Duty

K28: That leadership is a skill all professionals can demonstrate. Back to Duty

K29: The need to engage service users and carers in planning and evaluating diagnostics, and therapeutic interventions to meet own needs and goals. Back to Duty

K30: The need to work with those who provide services in and across different sectors, in order to best meet service user’s needs. Back to Duty

K31: The need to adopt an approach which centres on the service user and establish appropriate professional relationships in order to motivate and involve the service user in meaningful occupation. Back to Duty

K32: The value of enabling and empowering service users, with the aim of enhancing their access to all services and opportunities available to them. Back to Duty

K33: Group dynamics and roles. Back to Duty

K34: The need to capitalise, where appropriate, on the dynamics within groups and communities in order to harness the motivation and active involvement of participants. Back to Duty

K35: The value of reflective practice and the need to record the outcome of such reflection to support continuous improvement. Back to Duty

K36: The value of multi-disciplinary reviews, case conferences and other methods of review. Back to Duty

K37: The value of gathering and using data for quality assurance and improvement programmes. Back to Duty

K38: The structure and function of the human body, together with knowledge of physical and mental health, disease, disorder and dysfunction relevant to their profession. Back to Duty

K39: The role(s) of other professions in health and social care and how they may relate to the role of occupational therapist. Back to Duty

K40: The structure and function of health and social care systems and services in the UK. Back to Duty

K41: The occupational nature of human beings and how they function in everyday activities such as self-care, productivity and leisure and their changing needs during the lifecycle. Back to Duty

K42: The inter-relationship between the person, their environment and their chosen occupation, barriers and enablers in this system and how to change each component as part of rehabilitation. Back to Duty

K43: The effect of occupational alienation, dysfunction deprivation and injustice, and the importance of restoring and facilitating opportunities to achieve occupational wellness. Back to Duty

K44: Activity and occupation and their relation to and effect on, health, wellbeing and function as part of occupational formulation, diagnosis and therapeutic use of occupation. Back to Duty

K45: The theoretical basis of, and the variety of approaches to, assessment, planning, intervention and evaluation that focus on occupational outcomes. Back to Duty

K46: The need to identify and assess diverse occupational, physical, psychological, cognitive, cultural and environmental needs and problems of service users and carers. Back to Duty

K47: The use of the current philosophical models for occupational therapy that focuses on service users and holistic person-centred care, and a person’s ability to participate in occupations, taking into account physical, biological, psychological and social factors and the environmental context. Back to Duty

K48: The concept of teaching and learning including teaching self-management strategies to service users and carers. Back to Duty

K49: A range of research methodologies relevant to own role. Back to Duty

K50: The value of research to the critical evaluation of practice. Back to Duty

K51: The need to consider the assessment of the health, social care, employment and learning needs of service users including the need for risk assessment and positive risk taking. Back to Duty

K52: The need to agree the goals and priorities of intervention in relation to occupational needs in partnership with service users, basing such decisions on assessment results. Back to Duty

K53: The scientific theories, concepts, principles and professional frameworks underpinning occupational therapy practice. Back to Duty

K54: The need to meet the emotional, social, psychological, cognitive and physical health-based occupational needs of service users across a range of practice areas and how this can vary across a range of practice areas. Back to Duty

K55: The need to maintain the safety of themselves and others, including service users, carers and colleagues. Back to Duty

K56: Relevant health and safety legislation and local operational procedures and policies. Back to Duty

K57: Appropriate moving and handling techniques. Back to Duty

K58: The role of the profession in health promotion, health education and preventing ill health. Back to Duty

K59: How social, economic and environmental factors, wider determinants of health, can influence a person’s health and well-being. Back to Duty


S1: Identify the limits of own practice and when to seek advice or refer to another professional or service. Back to Duty

S2: Recognise the need to manage own workload and resources safely and effectively, including managing the emotional burden that comes with working in a pressured environment. Back to Duty

S3: Keep own skills and knowledge up to date. Back to Duty

S4: Maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct. Back to Duty

S5: Engage in safeguarding processes where necessary. Back to Duty

S6: Promote and protect the service user’s interests at all times. Back to Duty

S7: Respect and uphold the rights, dignity, values, and autonomy of service users, including own role in the assessment, diagnostic, treatment and/or therapeutic process. Back to Duty

S8: Maintain high standards of care in all circumstances. Back to Duty

S9: Exercise a duty of care. Back to Duty

S10: Obtain valid consent, which is voluntary and informed, has due regard to capacity, is proportionate to the circumstances and is appropriately documented. Back to Duty

S11: Apply legislation, policies and guidance relevant to own profession and scope of practice. Back to Duty

S12: Recognise the power imbalance which comes with being a health care professional, and ensure it is not abused for personal gain. Back to Duty

S13: Identify own anxiety and stress and recognise the potential impact on own practice. Back to Duty

S14: Develop and adopt clear strategies for physical and mental self-care and self-awareness, to maintain a high standard of professional effectiveness and a safe working environment. Back to Duty

S15: Recognise that they are personally responsible for, and must be able to, justify their decisions and actions. Back to Duty

S16: Use own skills, knowledge and experience, and the information available, to make informed decisions and / or take action where necessary. Back to Duty

S17: Make reasoned decisions to initiate, continue, modify or cease treatment or the use of techniques or procedures, and record the decisions and reasoning appropriately. Back to Duty

S18: Make and receive appropriate referrals, where necessary. Back to Duty

S19: Exercise personal initiative. Back to Duty

S20: Demonstrate a logical and systematic approach to problem solving. Back to Duty

S21: Use research, reasoning and problem solving skills when determining appropriate actions. Back to Duty

S22: Respond appropriately to the needs of all different groups and individuals in practice, recognising this can be affected by difference of any kind including, but not limited to, protected characteristics, intersectional experiences and cultural differences. Back to Duty

S23: Recognise the potential impact of own values, beliefs and personal biases, which may be unconscious, on practice and take personal action to ensure all service users and carers are treated appropriately with respect and dignity. Back to Duty

S24: Make and support reasonable adjustments in owns and others’ practice. Back to Duty

S25: Actively challenge barriers to inclusion, supporting the implementation of change wherever possible. Back to Duty

S26: Adhere to the professional duty of confidentiality. Back to Duty

S27: Respond in a timely manner to situations where it is necessary to share information to safeguard service users, carers and/or the wider public and recognise situations where it is necessary to share information to safeguard service users, carers and/or the wider public. Back to Duty

S28: Use effective and appropriate verbal and non-verbal skills to communicate with service users, carers, colleagues and others. Back to Duty

S29: Communicate in English to the required standard for the profession. Back to Duty

S30: Work with service users and/or own carers to facilitate the service user’s preferred role in decision-making, and provide service users and carers with the information they may need where appropriate. Back to Duty

S31: Modify own means of communication to address the individual communication needs and preferences of service users and carers, and remove any barriers to communication where possible. Back to Duty

S32: Use information, communication and digital technologies appropriate to own practice. Back to Duty

S33: Actively listen to a service user’s occupational narrative and analyse the content in order to plan for the future. Back to Duty

S34: Keep full, clear and accurate records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines. Back to Duty

S35: Manage records and all other information in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines. Back to Duty

S36: Use digital record keeping tools, where required. Back to Duty

S37: Work in partnership with service users, carers, colleagues and others. Back to Duty

S38: Contribute effectively to work undertaken as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Back to Duty

S39: Identify anxiety and stress in service users, carers and colleagues, adapting own practice and providing support where appropriate. Back to Duty

S40: Identify own leadership qualities, behaviours and approaches, taking into account the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion. Back to Duty

S41: Demonstrate leadership behaviours appropriate to own practice. Back to Duty

S42: Act as a role model for others. Back to Duty

S43: Promote and engage in the learning of others. Back to Duty

S44: Ensure intervention reviews are informed by changes in service user’s circumstances. Back to Duty

S45: Recognise the involvement of public, private and voluntary sector providers in the delivery of health, care and other services which affect occupational performance. Back to Duty

S46: Facilitate group work in order to maximise support, learning and change within groups and communities. Back to Duty

S47: Work in appropriate partnership with service users in order to evaluate the effectiveness of occupational therapy intervention. Back to Duty

S48: Recognise and evaluate the potential of occupational therapy in new and emerging areas of practice. Back to Duty

S49: Engage in evidence-based practice. Back to Duty

S50: Gather and use feedback and information, including qualitative and quantitative data, to evaluate the responses of service users to own care. Back to Duty

S51: Monitor and systematically evaluate the quality of practice, and maintain an effective quality management and quality assurance process working towards continual improvement. Back to Duty

S52: Participate in quality management, including quality control, quality assurance, clinical governance and the use of appropriate outcome measures. Back to Duty

S53: Evaluate care plans or intervention plans using recognised and appropriate outcome measures, in conjunction with the service user where possible, and revise the plans as necessary. Back to Duty

S54: Demonstrate awareness of the principles and applications of scientific enquiry, including the evaluation of treatment efficacy and the research process. Back to Duty

S55: Apply the theoretical concepts underpinning occupational therapy, including concepts of:- anatomy- physiology- pathology- human development- ergonomics- biomechanics- psychology- sociology- occupational science. Back to Duty

S56: Apply the theoretical concepts underpinning occupational therapy to inform the understanding of physical, emotional and mental health. Back to Duty

S57: Analyse activity and occupation and their relation to and effect on, health, wellbeing and function as part of occupational formulation, diagnosis and therapeutic use of occupation. Back to Duty

S58: Demonstrate awareness of physical, attitudinal, social, economic, educational, environmental and work-related policies and services and their effect on people within a diverse society. Back to Duty

S59: Recognise the value of the diversity and complexity of human behaviour through the exploration of different physical, psychological, cognitive, environmental, social, emotional and spiritual perspectives. Back to Duty

S60: Demonstrate awareness of the origins and development of occupational therapy, including the evolution of the profession towards the current emphasis on autonomy and empowerment of individuals, groups and communities. Back to Duty

S61: Support others with the facilitation of teaching and learning including teaching self-management strategies to service users and carers. Back to Duty

S62: Change own practice as needed to take account of new developments, technologies and changing contexts. Back to Duty

S63: Gather appropriate information. Back to Duty

S64: Analyse and critically evaluate the information collected. Back to Duty

S65: Select and use appropriate assessment techniques and equipment. Back to Duty

S66: Undertake and record a thorough, sensitive, and detailed assessment. Back to Duty

S67: Undertake or arrange investigations as appropriate. Back to Duty

S68: Conduct appropriate assessment or monitoring procedures, treatment, therapy or other actions safely and effectively. Back to Duty

S69: Critically evaluate research and other evidence to inform own practice. Back to Duty

S70: Engage service users in research as appropriate. Back to Duty

S71: Select and use relevant standardised and non-standardised assessment techniques and observation to gather information about the service user’s functional and occupational abilities, occupational performance and participation, taking account of the cultural and environmental context. Back to Duty

S72: Formulate specific and appropriate care or case management plans including the setting of timescales. Back to Duty

S73: Select as appropriate, the specific occupations and activities for use as therapeutic media, taking into account the particular needs of service users. Back to Duty

S74: Use the scientific theories, concepts, principles and professional frameworks underpinning occupational therapy practice. Back to Duty

S75: Demonstrate awareness of the broad range of occupations and activities that can be used in intervention and how these should reflect the individual’s occupational needs and preferences. Back to Duty

S76: Select or develop therapeutic media and environments, and adapt these as appropriate to meet service user’s needs, build on their abilities and enhance their occupational performance and participation. Back to Duty

S77: Demonstrate awareness of relevant health and safety legislation and comply with all local operational procedures and policies. Back to Duty

S78: Work safely, including being able to select appropriate hazard control and risk management, reduction or elimination techniques in a safe manner and in accordance with health and safety legislation. Back to Duty

S79: Select appropriate personal protective equipment and use it correctly. Back to Duty

S80: Establish safe environments for practice, which appropriately manages risk. Back to Duty

S81: Apply appropriate moving and handling techniques. Back to Duty

S82: Empower and enable individuals, including service users and colleagues, to play a part in managing own health. Back to Duty

S83: Engage in occupational health, including being aware of immunisation requirements. Back to Duty


B1: Use a personalised approach to care enabling the people you work with to bring about change in order to achieve their chosen occupational goals. Back to Duty

B2: Enable occupational justice and be an agent for change through actively anti-discriminatory practice with a diverse range of individuals, groups, and communities. Back to Duty

B3: Practice improving the economic, social and environmental sustainability of health and care services recognising the interdependence and ensuring belonging for the people we work with. Back to Duty

B4: Be professionally curious and evidence-informed to enable lifelong professional and personal development, including exhibiting leadership behaviours. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Other mandatory qualifications

BSc (Hons) degree in Occupational Therapy or Level 7 qualification approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) where the apprentice already holds a Level 6 degree

Level: 6 (integrated degree)

Additional details

Regulated standard

This is a regulated occupation.

Regulator body:

Health and Care Professions Council

Training Provider must be approved by regulator body

EPAO must be approved by regulator body

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 6
Degree: integrated degree
Reference: ST0517
Version: 1.2
Date updated: 01/09/2023
Approved for delivery: 7 December 2018
Route: Health and science
Typical duration to gateway: 48 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £24000
Regulated standard:
This is a regulated occupation
Regulator body:Health and Care Professions Council
Training Provider must be approved by regulator body
EPAO must be approved by regulator body
LARS Code: 391
EQA Provider: Office for Students

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Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: Barts Health NHS Trust, Canterbury Christ Church University, Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, Lincolnshire County Council, NRS Healthcare, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust, Skills for Health, Solent NHS Trust, University of Brighton, University of Coventry Hospitals NHS Trust, University of Huddersfield, University of Northampton, UWE

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.2 Standard, end-point assessment plan and funding band revised but funding remained the same. 01/09/2023 Not set Not set
1.1 Funding band revised but remains £24000. End-point assessment plan revised. 10/11/2021 31/08/2023 Not set
1.0 Retired 07/12/2018 09/11/2021 Not set

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