Being an Osteopath
Osteopaths are registered healthcare professionals who detect, treat and prevent a range of health issues. Most often associated with treating musculo-skeletal problems such as back pain, neck pain and sports related injuries, osteopaths can help a much broader range of conditions, including certain types of headache, the inability to relax, circulatory and digestion problems and the symptoms of arthritis. Osteopathy is a whole body approach to healthcare; an osteopath assesses each patient as a unique individual and will consider their symptoms, medical history, level of stress, diet, work environment and lifestyle to help identify the root cause of the problem, rather than focussing on the site of pain.
Osteopathic treatment combines an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, health and disease with a range of hands-on practical techniques, tailored to the needs of each patient, to improve joint mobility, relieve muscle tension and enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues. An osteopath may also offer advice on diet, exercise and lifestyle. Ultimately, the aim is to improve the patient’s overall health and wellbeing.
Why choose to become an osteopath?
Being a healthcare professional can be immensely fulfilling but it can be difficult to decide which career path is right for you. If you enjoy working with a diverse range of people, have a keen interest in health and wellbeing and want a rewarding and flexible career that makes a difference to people’s lives, osteopathy could be the ideal choice.
- Osteopaths spend time with each patient, so they can really understand them and their perspective; their health, concerns, beliefs and expectation of treatment.
- Osteopaths are recognised musculoskeletal specialists, trained to use their knowledge of the human body, diagnostic tools and hands-on techniques to assess and improve their patient’s health, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery; osteopaths are also trained to identify conditions
- Osteopathy cannot treat and know when to refer their patient to another healthcare professional / for further tests
- With highly developed communication skills, osteopaths work with their patients to devise individualised management plans
- Osteopaths help a diverse patient population, making practice life more varied and fulfilling – no two days, or patients, are the same
- Osteopaths work alongside health professionals such as doctors, nurses and midwives, podiatrists and complementary healthcare practitioners, to create a complete treatment and recovery plan for their patient
- Osteopaths can earn from £45 - £180 per hour and 11% of osteopaths earn in excess of £100,000 (based on results from 2021 Institute of Osteopathy census)
- Newly qualified osteopaths are able to apply for band 5 and 6 jobs in the NHS which have a starting salary starting at £28k and pay up to £43k per year
In the UK, ‘Osteopath’ is a legally protected title; all those using the title osteopath must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), having successfully completed a ‘recognised’ course. Osteopaths are also recognised by NHS England as one of the 14 Allied Health Professionals (AHPs).
A flexible career choice
Osteopaths have the flexibility to choose where and when they practice.
- As an osteopath, you can work independently as part of a small team or for the NHS in a multi-disciplinary setting
- Newly qualified osteopaths may prefer to join an established practice, employed as an associate
- Some osteopaths choose to develop their own practice, employing associates and other healthcare practitioners
- Osteopathy can be a good choice for those who want to balance their career with family life
- A growing number of osteopaths choose to work within the NHS, either on a contractual or employed basis. Osteopaths are considered an important part of the NHS workforce and this is highlighted in this Health Education England document here.
- Many osteopaths enjoy the variety of general practice, treating patients at every stage of life, from newborns to the elderly and everyone in between
- Some osteopaths choose to specialise in areas such as sport, women’s health, maternity and paediatric care, with others combining human and animal practice
- There are opportunities to work in research, education and to enter associated health careers
- The outstanding reputation of UK-trained osteopaths means there are opportunities to work across the world
To find out more about Osteopathy and studying with us, contact our Admissions team here.