Osteopath

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Osteopaths move, stretch and massage their clients’ muscles and joints with the aim of improving their health and wellbeing.

Salary Range: Variable

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You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • professional development training
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To work as an osteopath, you need to complete a degree or postgraduate master’s degree approved by the General Osteopathic Council.

Courses are usually full time for 4 years, although there may be options for part-time study over 5 years.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including a science, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

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Volunteering and experience

You’ll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience with an osteopath before you apply for a course.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

Other routes

If you’re already medically qualified, for example as a doctor or nurse, you may be able to take a shortened postgraduate training programme.

More information

Registration

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an osteopath from the General Osteopathic Council and Health Careers.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • analytical thinking skills
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

Before you can register with the General Osteopathic Council you will need to provide both health and character references.

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Day-to-day tasks

You’ll help your client develop muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves and joints that work well together. Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • asking clients about their health and medical history
  • examining their posture and gait, paying particular attention to their muscles, bones and joints
  • using X-rays and other methods to help with your diagnosis
  • planning a course of treatment 
  • using gentle, hands-on techniques like joint mobilisation and massage 
  • advising clients about diet and lifestyle
  • giving clients exercises to do at home

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in a therapy clinic, at a client’s home or from home.

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With experience you could set up your your own osteopathy practice.

You could also take further training and move into an academic career teaching osteopathy students. You could also move into osteopathic research.