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How to Become an Osteopath

If you enjoy working with a diverse range of people, interested in health and wellbeing, and want a rewarding, fulfilling career, working as an osteopath could be the ideal career for you. Osteopathy is a career with an average salary of £45,000, with 11% of osteopaths earning in excess of £100,000. Osteopathy involves helping patients of all ages and backgrounds, from older patients and children to pregnant women and athletes. Osteopaths are an Allied Health Profession, recognised by the NHS as being key to transforming people’s health, care, and wellbeing. Training to be an osteopath is just the start of a hugely rewarding journey.

If becoming an osteopath is something you’re considering, whether you’re at the start of your higher education journey or you want to retrain later in life, here’s how to qualify for this enjoyable career.

How to Become and Osteopath

There are several ways to qualify depending on your situation. If you are doing your A levels then you can apply for a 4 year full time Masters course (MOst). There are other options for people who already have a relevant degree and want to retrain. If you want a career in Osteopathy then studying with BCOM is the perfect place to start your journey.

Once qualified you must register with the General Osteopathic Council or GOsC in order to be able to practice in the UK. It is actually a criminal offense for anyone to claim or imply they are an osteopath unless they are registered.

What Do Osteopaths Do?

Osteopaths are qualified health care professionals who assess, diagnose and treat health issues. They conduct full medical case histories and use clinical examinations to make diagnoses. They assess the patient’s overall health to identify the root cause of the issue and agree individual management plans that may include manual therapy (hands -on treatment) exercise, health and lifestyle advice. Osteopaths can use a variety of hands-on treatment methods to reduce pain and improve mobility. These may include soft tissue massage to relax tense muscles, mobilisation of joints, and manipulation to improve mobility in restricted areas of the body, such as the spine.

Osteopathy is about treating the whole person and not just the site of the pain. Practitioners see a wide range of people, from sports people to expectant mothers, children, keeping older people active and mobile, and those overcoming injury. With further training osteopaths can treat animals as well as people

Osteopaths work with and refer to other healthcare professionals – GPs, consultants, physiotherapists, midwives and others. Once qualified and working, you will build great professional networks and lifelong colleagues. You can work independently by setting up your own private osteopathy practice, or as a member of therapy clinic or within the NHS.

The profession is regulated by the General Osteopathic Council, and osteopaths continue their professional development throughout their career.

What Qualities Do I Need to Become an Osteopath?

Osteopath students

The key qualities and traits that are needed to work as an osteopath include:

  • Interest in people and how the body works
  • Ability to work by yourself and be independent
  • Ability to work with others
  • A scientific enquiring mind
  • Curiosity and creativity
  • Maturity
  • Independence and individuality
  • Integrity and ability to take responsibility

To be eligible to study for a MOst qualification at BCOM, you will need 112 UCAS points, which may include BTEC courses, Higher National Diplomas, Science foundation courses in science or health, Baccalaureates, or Scottish Highers, in addition to biology.

Mature students with previous degrees (2:1 or above) or other educational pathways will be considered on an individual basis depending on previous qualifications.

International students who possess A level equivalent qualifications are eligible to apply. Where necessary the applicant must possess a ‘Use of English Qualification’ at an IELTS level >6.5 or equivalent.

What will you learn at BCOM?

When you study a Masters in Osteopathy here at BCOM you will learn about:

  • Anatomy, physiology, health, and disease
  • Clinical and diagnostic skills
  • Psychology and human behaviour
  • Concepts and philosophy of osteopathy
  • Research skills and evidence informed practice

You will spend over 1000 hours in the teaching clinic, seeing and treating patients as part of your degree. You will have skilled, hands-on, and practical expertise so that you are fully trained to work as soon as you graduate.

Changing Careers to Become an Osteopath

If you want to retrain from another career to become an osteopath, it can be beneficial to get some paid or voluntary experience with a qualified person or in a clinic before you apply for your course. This will enable you to gain the skills and qualities needed to be successful in your training. Applicants with a 2:1 or above in another discipline will be considered on an individual basis depending on their experience and skill set.

Practising as an Osteopath

BCOM’s Masters in Osteopathy will require you to undertake over 1,000 hours of supervised clinical training, in addition to subject training in physiology, pathology, biomechanics, pharmacology and anatomy. After you’ve completed your Masters and registered with the GOsC, you’ll be fully qualified and able to practice.

Career Timeline towards becoming an Osteopath

School
Pre-college, speak with your tutor to create an academic plan. The following are intended to provide a guide to offer levels to study osteopathy at BCOM:

GCSE
5 x GCSEs including a minimum grade C in English, Maths and Science or a minimum Grade 4 (standard pass) in these subjects as well as:

GCE A-Levels
Grades BBC from 3 x A-levels to include 2 science subjects (we accept Biology, Physical Education, Psychology, Sport Science as sciences). General Studies is not accepted.

or

BTEC
Grades: DDM – Must be Health, Science or Sports related and include relevant science modules.

or

Scottish Highers
112 UCAS points overall to include 2 science subjects grades BB at Higher Level.

or

Welsh Baccalaureate
112 UCAS points overall to include 2 A-levels grades BB in science subjects (as above).

or

International Baccalaureate

Acceptable with a minimum overall score of 32 points to include 5 points in 2 science subjects.

Students who lack recent or relevant science subject knowledge may be asked to undertake an additional online course as a condition of entry.

This is a good time to develop your time management and study skills to prepare you for the future. Consider speaking to a local osteopathic practice to see if you can shadow an osteopath.

University

After graduating from your Masters in Osteopathy degree, a four-year degree, you will be able to practise as an osteopath after registering with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).

The first two years of the degree will be pre-clinical study to provide a foundational knowledge of anatomy, medical diagnosis and physiology. The remainder of the course take a practical, problem-based approach, using clinical studies and examples. At BCOM you will have 1,000 hours of clinical training.

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