A Career in Osteopathy

Osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners, which means that they deal with patients who can refer themselves rather than coming via a doctor, and in consequence an osteopath must have differential diagnostic skills of a high order. They primarily work on the musculoskeletal system but can also work on the viscera (the contents of the abdomen) and the cranio-sacral mechanism, which involves palpation of the cerebrospinal fluid channels. Osteopaths look at the body as a whole.

Most Osteopaths are self-employed and it is possible for newly qualified, registered practitioners to set up their own practice upon graduation. However, most choose to start working in an established practice with other osteopaths or other qualified complementary therapists.  Many osteopaths choose to work in general practice, where they will see a variety of patients ranging from newborns to the elderly.  Sports injury clinics are a common attraction to those with active backgrounds or experience in the field of sport, whilst mother and baby clinics are popular with those who love working with children.  Animal osteopathy is an increasingly popular option for those looking to widen their field of practice – you can find more information about the ESO’s animal courses here.

At the time of writing, there are in the region of 5,000 qualified osteopaths registered with the General Osteopathic Council. Since it became the first complementary therapy to gain statutory recognition, the demand for, and popularity of treatment has been steadily increasing. Today osteopaths carry out around 7 million treatments in the UK alone, increasingly within the NHS.

Most osteopaths working in private practice, either on their own or with other healthcare professionals. Earnings will vary, depending on how many patients one sees, and how and where one works. On average, osteopaths charge between £25 and £50 per treatment.

Graduates of the School are enabled immediately following graduation to register with the General Osteopathic Council and enter into full-time osteopathic practice.

Practising Outside of the UK

Many ESO graduates choose to set up practice overseas. We recommend that those planning to practise outside the UK investigate the legal position in their chosen destination country before embarking on a course of study; the Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE) website provides guidance on the regulations within Europe.

Where could your career take you?

Osteopathy is a flexible profession and people choose it for a variety of reasons; some specialise in areas such as animal or sports osteopathy while others are looking for a rewarding healthcare career that allows them flexibility in their working life.  Members of our alumni have kindly shared their experiences with us and explained why osteopathy was the right choice for them – to read more simply click on an image.


Peter Horobin specialises in sports osteopathy, working with various teams and at a range of tournaments. He now holds an MSc in Sports Medicine from UCL

Eleanor Andrews combines human and animal osteopathy in her practice. She helped develop the ESO animal courses and lectures in the UK and overseas

After a career in the British Army, Paul Sell decided to retrain as an osteopath. He now lives in New Zealand where he has his own practice, employing three associates

Katie Johnston balances her passion for osteopathic practice with her interest in pain research. She recently completed an internship with Queens Medical Centre

Pierre Meslet practiced in Singapore before setting up his business in London. He was a member of the London Olympic and World Para-Athletic medical teams

Alana Wood travelled from Canada to the UK to study at the ESO.  Since graduating in 2016, Alana has specialised in paediatric osteopathy at her practice in Belgium