Osteopaths work on improving the overall health of patients, in particular focusing on the musculoskeletal systems and strengthening the spine, joints and muscles. It’s a career that is very rewarding and fulfilling, but what does this career route offer in terms of financial rewards?
The average base salary in the UK for Osteopaths is just under £43,420 per year, according to the Institute of Osteopathy 2021 census. The salary can vary depending on the location you’re working in, the work environment and your level of experience and education. Since many Osteopaths are self-employed, this can also impact the income you could receive, as your hourly rate and the number of patients you attract, coupled with the cost of running your own business, will impact your overall salary.
A newly qualified Osteopath can earn an average salary of between £20,000 and £25,000 a year. As they gain more experience, this salary will rise. An Osteopath with between one to four years of experience can expect to earn an average of £37,500, which is inclusive of tips, bonuses, and overtime. Most NHS salaries for Osteopaths range between £30,000 and £45,839, depending on the pay band of the specific role, but an NHS osteopath could increase their earning potential by working in the private sector outside of their typical working hours.
An Osteopath with 10-20 years of experience tends to earn an average of £43,420 a year. 11% of osteopaths earning in excess of £100,000 (based on the Institute of Osteopathy census). There are opportunities to build on your qualifications and specialise which can help in terms of earning potential, as with any career. In addition to the training, you need to undertake each year to maintain your accreditation, you can also undertake training in other areas to enhance your career trajectory and build a more specialist role. For example, you might specialise in paediatrics, sports injuries or a similar field to tailor the services you provide.
Many Osteopaths work for themselves by setting up their own practice. Osteopaths typically charge between £45 and £120 for a 45-minute session. However, these figures are dependent on a range of factors, as discussed above. For example, an Osteopath in London is likely to be able to charge a higher hourly rate.
Once you’ve gained your qualification to work as an Osteopath, you’ll be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and you’ll need to renew your accreditation throughout your career. To remain a qualified Osteopath, you’ll need to complete at least 30 hours of relevant training every year as part of your CPD programme.
A significant percentage of Osteopaths work on a self-employed basis, so if this is something you’re interested in doing for yourself, it’s a case of proactively seeking clients rather than looking for paid opportunities. The Institute of Osteopathy provides guidance on working for yourself as an Osteopath, from tax and marketing to finding clients.
If you want to work in a fixed role, the NHS employs specialist Osteopaths in a variety of settings, from GP surgeries and hospitals to community health clubs. The NHS Jobs website is the best resource for finding vacancies and current opportunities. There are also openings to be found in the private sector, such as medical facilities in sports clubs and gyms, or working for major companies who offer in-house medical care.
In the UK there are over 5,000 practising Osteopaths with a fairly even distribution of men and women working in the profession. Essentially, osteopathy is a profession dedicated to helping people live more active comfortable lives. You’ll meet patients who will be struggling physically and experiencing the impact this is having. Your role, as an Osteopath, will be to restore proper function and guide them through recovery. Osteopaths work directly with patients to help them in healing, manage long-term conditions and improve their quality of life. For many, this makes osteopathy a highly gratifying career.
However, a career in allied health, compared with other medical fields, can also offer flexibility and a positive work-life balance. Osteopaths will usually work standard working hours. Those who become self-employed Osteopaths may work evenings and weekends if they choose and operate their clinic in working hours suited to their lifestyle. This can make it an appealing career path for those who are seeking work-life balance.
In addition to the financial benefits of a career in Osteopathy, you’ll also find that this is a very emotionally rewarding career. If you enjoy working with people, are interested in the human body and health, and your like using your initiative when working, a career as an Osteopath could be a fulfilling job for you.