Osteopaths move, stretch and massage their clients’ muscles and joints with the aim of improving their health and wellbeing.
Salary Range: Variable
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- professional development training
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.
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
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
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.
If you’re already medically qualified, for example as a doctor or nurse, you may be able to take a shortened postgraduate training programme.
- you must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council to work as an osteopath
Skills and knowledge
- 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:
- have insurance
- pass enhanced background checks
Before you can register with the General Osteopathic Council you will need to provide both health and character references.
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
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in a therapy clinic, at a client’s home or from home.
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.