How to Become a Paediatric Occupational Therapist (Steps, FAQs)

Paediatric occupational therapy is one of the most fulfilling jobs in the healthcare industry.

Paediatric occupational therapists assist children and teenagers to improve their motor skills which are valuable for living a fruitful life.

Learning the steps required to become a paediatric occupational therapist in this article and what this profession is all about can assist you in deciding if pursuing this career is worth it.

Besides that, this post will also discuss essential pieces of information regarding this profession.

Who is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist?

A paediatric occupational therapist is a professional that assists kids and teenagers in developing and upgrading their motor skills that are necessary for daily living.

They teach children and teens how to get hold of stuff with their hands, brush their teeth, sit, walk and perform several other routine actions.

These professionals also manage kids and teens that sustain injuries which affect their mobility and other health conditions. Paediatric occupational therapy is a satisfying career.

Is Paediatric Occupational Therapist a Good Career?

Yes, it is. Pediatric occupational therapy can be a fulfilling career choice if you are passionate about working with children and helping them develop essential skills.

This profession involves aiding children in overcoming physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges, contributing to their growth and independence.

It offers diverse work settings such as hospitals, schools, and rehabilitation centres, providing a dynamic work environment.

However, working with children facing various difficulties can be emotionally demanding.

What are the Responsibilities of a Paediatric Occupational Therapist?

Paediatric occupational therapists perform the following responsibilities:

  • Assess patient’s medical records to determine possible solutions to their medical challenges.
  • Establish a recovery plan for patients according to their medical conditions.
  • Provide parents with a list of patients’ actions at home to boost their mobility.
  • Motivate patients whenever they come for examination and commend them for their efforts to grow their confidence.
  • Visit the patients at home when necessary to provide supplementary assistance to boost their ability to work independently.
  • Recommends rehabilitation homes as well as experienced medical experts that specialize in areas of services that patients need.
  • Record patients’ progress and determine the course of action to speed up recovery.
  • Make changes to rehabilitation plans according to the patient’s response to treatment.

What is the Average Salary of a Paediatric Occupational Therapist?

The average annual salary of a paediatric occupational therapist in the United States is approximately $83,000.

However, the salaries of paediatric occupational therapists differ according to experience, place of work, special skills and education.

What is the Job Outlook for Paediatric Occupational Therapists?

Based on the Bureau of Labour Statistics, there will be a 16% rise in the number of jobs available to paediatric occupational therapists between 2019 and 2029.

This rate is far higher than most professions in the healthcare industry.

Steps for Becoming a Paediatric Occupational Therapist

You can become a paediatric occupational therapist by following the steps below:

1. Obtain an undergraduate degree:

To become a paediatric occupational therapist, you must first obtain an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college.

It takes at least four years to complete a bachelor’s degree program in the United States.

It would be best to have an undergraduate degree which is even needed to obtain a master’s in occupational therapy, the minimum requirement for top jobs in this industry.

Some ideal undergraduate degree options for aspiring paediatric occupational therapists include; biology, kinesiology and exercise physiology and pre-occupational therapy.

2. Finish an internship:

During or at the end of your bachelor’s degree program, search for internship opportunities that will allow you to work alongside occupational therapist experts or any other relevant professional.

Internships are perfect opportunities to gain valuable field experience that will enable you to secure an entry-level job in the paediatric occupational therapist industry.

3. Obtain a master’s degree:

Once you obtain an undergraduate degree, proceed and enrol in a master’s degree program for occupational therapy.

Throughout the program, take classes in areas associated with human sciences, patient management and occupational therapy services.

Suppose you have any area of research concerning paediatric occupational therapy that you would love to invest in. In that case, a master’s degree program is an excellent opportunity to engage in it.

4. Earn a doctorate:

You don’t need a doctorate to work as an occupational therapist.

However, earning a doctorate will boost your knowledge, qualify you for managerial or academic positions and enhance your salary potential.

5. Take the NBCOT examination:

Immediately after completing a master’s or doctorate program, you must sit and pass the professional exam for occupational therapists to work as a paediatric occupational therapist.

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) offers this exam.

6. Obtain state licensure:

It would be best if you got a state license to work as an occupational therapist in your state.

Go through the official website of the Health department in your state to find out the steps you can take to achieve this.

7. Gain entry-level paediatric occupational therapist experience:

Gaining entry-level paediatric occupational therapist work experience at the beginning of your career is promising. You can achieve this by working at a paediatric health facility.

Doing this will increase your chance of landing a highly-rated job in the field. Also, it will serve as a stepping stone for your professional advancement.

8. Get a paediatric occupational therapy certification:

Getting a paediatric occupational therapy certification will increase your knowledge of this profession and speak well for you professionally.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) offers board certification for paediatric occupational therapists.

Essential Skills for Paediatric Occupational Therapists

1. Empathy:

Paediatric occupational therapists benefit from displaying empathy towards their patients and their families.

This quality enhances the meaningfulness of care provided and drives their professional dedication.

2. Positive Outlook:

An optimistic approach is crucial for paediatric occupational therapists to motivate their patients, encouraging them to attain new milestones in their health and overall well-being.

3. Time Management:

Effective time management is indispensable as paediatric occupational therapists handle multiple patients daily and may need to travel for appointments.

This skill ensures punctuality and makes each patient feel valued.

4. Creativity:

Creativity proves advantageous for paediatric occupational therapists due to each patient’s individualized situations and rehabilitation requirements.

This skill enables therapists to devise innovative activities or exercises to enhance patient progress.

5. Interpersonal Communication:

Daily interactions with children, adolescents, parents, and fellow medical professionals underline the importance of interpersonal communication skills.

These skills enable therapists to adapt their communication style based on the recipient.

6. Patience:

Patience equips paediatric occupational therapists to offer steady support when patients face challenges in grasping new motor skills or understanding exercises.

7. Lifelong Learning Commitment:

Paediatric occupational therapists committed to continuous learning possess advanced degrees or a self-driven pursuit of knowledge.

This dedication empowers them to deepen their understanding of occupational therapy, novel therapeutic approaches, and health conditions affecting mobility and cognitive function.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on How to Become a Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Who are the highest-earning occupational therapists?

Home healthcare occupational therapists make more money than any other occupational therapist worldwide. It is understood that the average income of a home healthcare occupational therapist is around $100,000 per year.

What are the ages of people that paediatric occupational therapists manage?

Paediatric occupational therapists work with children between the ages of 0 and 21.

Are paediatric occupational therapists physical therapists?

No, paediatric occupational therapists are not physical therapists. While Physical therapists specialize in assisting patients in moving their bodies, paediatric occupational therapists assist patients in engaging in regular daily activities.

Do paediatric occupational therapists wear scrubs?

Yes, just like most professionals in the healthcare industry, paediatric occupational therapists also wear scrubs.


A career as a paediatric occupational therapist promises to be profoundly fulfilling within the healthcare industry.

These professionals play a vital role in aiding children and adolescents to enhance their motor skills, facilitating meaningful lives.

By assisting in daily activities, managing injuries, and addressing health conditions, paediatric occupational therapists contribute to both physical and emotional well-being.

The career’s worth is evident in its diverse work environments, ranging from hospitals to schools and rehabilitation centres.

While emotionally demanding due to children’s challenges, the rewards of witnessing progress and growth are substantial. With a projected job growth of 16%, this profession offers stability.

Becoming a paediatric occupational therapist involves dedicated education, field experience, certification, and essential skills like empathy, creativity, and effective communication.

This career is not just worthwhile but is highly rewarding.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Abasiofon Fidelis
Abasiofon Fidelis

Abasiofon Fidelis is a professional writer who loves to write about college life and college applications. He has been writing articles for over 3 years. He is the Content Manager at School and Travel.

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