If you’re curious about people, interested in people and would like to help them with their health and wellbeing, then becoming an osteopath may be a great career choice. With good fitness, great communication skills and some business savvy, you could make a success out of helping a huge range of people from babies to sportspeople to the elderly.
In May 2018 there were 5241 qualified osteopaths in the UK, all registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
The title of an osteopath is protected by law in the UK and it is a criminal offence to call yourself an osteopath if you are not registered with the GOsC.
To qualify as an osteopath you have to take an osteopathy degree, either a B.Sc. or at master’s level. A full-time course usually takes four years and if part-time, five. Academic training includes detailed knowledge of many areas including anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, pathology, pharmacology and nutrition. Practical work consists of a minimum of 1000 hours of clinical training in the treatment of patients.
An accelerated course can be offered to people who already have a recognised medical qualification such as a doctor or physiotherapist.
Good qualifications in health or science subjects are usually required to get into a course, with some institutions providing bridging courses to help those who do not qualify initially.
There are nine recognised training providers in the UK:
- British College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lief House, Finchley Road, London NW3 5HR
- The College of Osteopaths, 13 Furzehill Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 2DG and North Staffordshire Medical Institute, Hartshill Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 7NY
- The European College of Osteopathy, Boxley House, The Street, Boxley, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3DZ
- The London College of Osteopathic Medicine, 8-10 Boston Place, London NW1 6QH
- The London School of Osteopathy, The Grange, Grange Road, London SE1 3BE
- Marjon University, Derriford Road. Plymouth PL6 8BH
- ICOM at Nescot College, Reigate Road, Epsom, Surrey KT17 3DS
- Swansea University, The College, Bay Campus, Fabian Way, Crymlyn Burrows, Swansea SA1 8EN
- The University College of Osteopathy, 275 Borough High Street, London SE1 1JE
Disclosure and Barring Service
As with physiotherapists and medical staff, osteopaths can work with vulnerable adults and children. This means they must have an enhanced DBS check provided by the relevant government agency.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
All osteopaths must have professional indemnity insurance to cover any potential claims that a patient has been harmed in the course of treatment. This is typically taken out at a level of £5 million.
Costs of Osteopathy Training
Costs vary with different providers but are likely to be £9,250 per year at least, and around £12,000 for foreign students. This does not include the costs of living. Various grants and loans are available to eligible applicants.