The College of Occupational Therapists (COT)

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The British Association of Occupational Therapists is the professional body for occupational therapists and represents occupational therapists, support workers and students from across the United Kingdom.  Occupational therapists work in the NHS, Local Authority social care services, housing, schools, prisons, voluntary and independent sectors, occupational health and vocational and employment rehabilitation services.

The philosophy of occupational therapy is founded on the concept that occupation is essential to human existence and good health and wellbeing.  Occupation includes all the things that people do or participate in.  For example: working, caring for themselves and others, learning, and leisure activities.  Being deprived of, or, having limited access to occupation can affect physical and psychological health.

Occupational therapists provide a critical role in helping people of all ages to overcome the effects of disability caused by mental and/or physical ill health, ageing or accident so that they can carry out everyday tasks or occupations.

Occupational Therapists working in Occupational Health

Occupational Therapists (OTs) are dual trained, in both mental and physical health and are therefore, well placed to provide holistic services that are bio-psychosocial in nature.  Occupational therapists assess work capability in terms of the physical, cognitive, perceptual and mental functioning of the individual and match findings to the job demands in order to identify abilities and deficits and provide interventions to facilitate maintenance at, and return to work or alternative work options.

COT Specialist Section Work

This is the specialist section for occupational therapists interested in, or working in vocational rehabilitation, occupational health and other work related services.  Membership of this specialist section provides the opportunity for networking, sharing skills, expertise and knowledge.

The COT Specialist Section Work aims to:

  • promote and raise awareness of the value of occupational therapy within all vocational and occupational health services
  • promote best practice and guidance to ensure that evidenced based practice is used by occupational therapists to assist people to remain in or return to work
  • facilitate study days and learning events
The COT Specialist Section Work includes BAOT members from both private and statutory sectors and encompasses practitioners from mental health, learning disability and physical settings. For further information on how to become a member and the benefits please see:

Toolkits - Information available

Membership criteria

Occupational therapists who are eligible for registration with the Health Care Professions Council can become members, and occupational therapy support workers / assistants and healthcare workers are also eligible to join as associates.  Other membership categories are available and further information can be found on our website.

Conferences and study days

An annual peer-reviewed conference is held by the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) and the COT Specialist Section for Work and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) also hold an annual conference and study day events.

Quality Standards and Regulation

COT expects its members to comply with the COT Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and the COT Professional Standards for Occupational Therapy Practice.

Occupational therapists are regulated by the Health Professions Council, and will need to meet their requirements in order to practice in the UK.

Promotion of research and service evaluation

COT expects all its members to be aware of relevant research in their field and to apply this to their practice to benefit service users.  The use of standardised outcome measures to provide data that will support research, service evaluation and audit is encourage.

Promoting research awareness

The COT supports members in undertaking research through research networks, close workings with universities, publications, bursaries and grants and supporting conferences.

Published evidence-based material

The COT supports high quality research through peer review and assessment of contributions to the scientific journal.

Contact the COT

For more information please email Julia Skelton: or visit our website.

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