Working in alternative and complementary therapies with A levels (or similar)

You could work as a therapist in a spa, offering treatments like aromatherapy, reflexology or shiatsu. Or you could be an occupational therapy assistant, working in a clinic or hospital. 

The patients or clients could be of any age or you could work with one particular group of people.

Example jobs

Spa therapist
Advising clients, delivering treatments, providing good customer service.

Shiatsu therapist
Applying finger pressure to parts of the body, promoting clients’ health and well-being.

Aromatherapist
Using massage with essential oils to reduce stress and promote health and healing.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Working in a private spa room with a quiet relaxing atmosphere (although the spa itself may be busy).
  • Work in hospitals or clinics may be very busy.
  • You will wear a protective uniform.

Qualifications needed

Qualifications vary from therapy to therapy. Usually, you will need a Level 3 qualification in your particular therapy or therapies. It is not compulsory to be registered with a professional body, but it is recommended to ensure standards of practice and care. There are no set qualifications required for physiotherapy assistants, although GCSEs may be needed to allow you to do further training.

Career path

In a spa, you could become a senior therapist or you could train in further therapies. You may be able to progress to management positions. Occupational therapy assistants can become assistant practitioners and go on to train as physiotherapists or occupational therapists. You may have the opportunity to become self-employed or set up your own business.

Useful links

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Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council