Specialist Sections

Share information, network and promote good practice

Specialist Sections are branches of the College of Occupational Therapists that provide professional direction and leadership for occupational therapists working in specialist areas of practice.

Specialist Sections are branches of the College of Occupational Therapists that provide professional direction and leadership for occupational therapists working in specialist areas of practice. They share information, network and promote good practice.

Which Specialist Section to choose?

Generic Specialist Section Leaflet

Take a look these leaflets to see which Specialist Section to Join:

 Specialist Section Children, Young People & Families leaflet   Specialst Section HIV, Oncology and Palliative Care leaflet   Specialist Section Housing leaflet 2014   Specialist Section Independent Practice leaflet 2014 
 Specialist Section MentalHealth leaflet 2014   Specialist Section Neurological Practice leaflet   Specialist Section Older People leaflet   Specialist Section People with Learning Disabilities leaflet 2014 
 Specialist Section Rheumatology leaflet 2014   SpecialistSection Trauma & Orthopaedic leaflet 2014   Specialist Section Work leaflet 2014

Aims of the Specialist Sections

  • Raise awareness and promote the development of knowledge and skills
  • Promote and enable Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
  • Promote research and support the use of evidence to inform practice
  • Disseminate information and provide communication networks
  • Support members new to the practice area
  • Function as a resource to provide expertise at national and local levels
  • Act as advisors and influencers for and on behalf of the profession and the College
  • Promote membership


Why join a Specialist Section?

  • Gain access to a UK-wide network of occupational therapists working in your specialist area and opportunities to meet like-minded people
  • Obtain expert professional knowledge and resources to support you in practice
  • Receive up-to-date news via newsletters, bulletins, social media, website and journals
  • Attend conferences, learning events and study days for professional development
  • Obtain reduced Specialist Section membership rates for learning events
  • Access grants for research, professional development and events
  • Get information and advice from free publications dedicated to your area of practice, including briefings, evidence-based guidelines, advice, best practice information, research
  • Participate in the Specialist Sections Clinical Forums, which are dedicated, speciality sub-groups providing support, networking, clinical leadership and lobbying
  • Get involved with policy, practice, strategy, briefings, develop practice guidelines and leadership skills 

Members can find out more about the benefits of joining a Specialist Section by reading: 
pdf imageCOT Briefing 72: Information for Specialist Sections, along with the
pdf imageSpecialist Sections Annual Report 2012-2013.

Who can join a Specialist Section?

All British Association of Occupational Therapists/College of Occupational Therapists (BAOT/COT) members can be members of the Specialist Sections.

Do I have to be a member of BAOT/COT to be a member of a Specialist Section?

Yes, from 2008 and in agreement with all the Specialist Sections, you have to be a BAOT/COT member in order to gain the benefits of the Specialist Section activities.

Can a student join a Specialist Section?

Yes and we would like to encourage more students to join. There are reduced rates for student members.

How much does it cost?

There is an annual fee to join a Specialist Section, but they do vary by Specialist Section. You can claim tax relief on 75% of your BAOT and Specialist Sections’ fees if you are a UK tax payer. Some cost as little as £3 a month.

Can I belong to more than one Specialist Section?

Yes, you can belong to as many Specialist Sections as you want.

How do I join?

You need to visit the respective, individual Specialist Sections web page you wish to join and then complete a membership form for that Specialist Section. There are a couple of Specialist Sections that you are able to join online.


How does COT support the Specialist Sections?

The College of Occupational Therapists aims to ensure that all members who are involved in the Specialist Section activities have the support they need to make these branches work and function effectively. The College meets twice a year with all the Specialist Sections to support and facilitate communication, debate, influence, development of policy and information exchange between COT and the Specialist Sections.
We have a number of resources to support the running of the Specialist Sections and these can be found on the Committee Resources pages.

Are there criteria for setting up a Specialist Section?

Yes, there is set criteria for developing a Specialist Section. If you belong to a network, group or forum that may have been established and running for several years, you can contact the Specialist Section Manager to consider what options may be available to develop the group. There may be a number of options available to the group, one of which may be to become a sub-group of a Specialist Section.
The criteria can be found in: pdf imageCOT Briefing 72: Information for Specialist Sections.

Get involved: Join a Specialist Section to support your CPD


For more information please contact:
Louise Cusack
Specialist Sections Manager
The College of Occupational Therapists
106-114 Borough High Street
Tel: 020 7450 2336
E: louise.cusack@cot.co.uk


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