Pediatric Occupational Therapy Assistant: Job Outlook, Degree & Certification

Research what it takes to become a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. Learn about education and certification requirements, job duties, wages and job outlook related to this career in healthcare. Schools offering Occupational Therapy Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

A pediatric occupational therapy assistant works alongside an occupational therapist who will typically be Board Certified in Pediatrics (BCP). They carry out personalized treatment plans for children who have physical or cognitive challenges by helping them learn, play and socialize. The following table offers more details.

Degree Required Associate's degree
Licensure and Certification License required in most states; certification recommended
Key skills Compassion, interpersonal skills, physical strength
Job Growth (2016-2026) 29% (all occupational therapy assistants)*
Median Salary (2017) $59,310 (all occupational therapy assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Pediatric Occupational Therapy Assistants do?

Pediatric occupational therapy assistants often work in homes or in the classroom with children who have physical or cognitive developmental disabilities or who have had an injury. They help them to be as independent as possible by guiding them in exercises and encouraging them to complete everyday tasks and activities. Assistants follow through on the treatment set out in a plan written by the occupational therapist and also track progress and discuss the patients' responses to the plan with the therapist.

What Should I Study?

An associate's degree from an accredited program is required to become an occupational therapy assistant. These are typically two years long and include work experience in order for students to gain practical experience. In high school, classes such as biology and health education should be taken as preparation.

What Licenses or Certifications Do I Need?

Most states require you to have a license to practice as an occupational therapy assistant. In order to get a license you need to complete an associate's degree that includes fieldwork and pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam. Some states may also have additional requirements.

In order to be a certified occupational therapy assistant, you must have passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam. In order to maintain this certification, you will need to take continuing education classes. The American Occupational Therapy Association also offers additional certificates for those who have specialized knowledge or skills.

What is the Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides information on occupational therapy assistants, but not specifically for those specializing in pediatrics. The job outlook for these assistants is a growth of 29% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average compared to all other occupations.

How Much Might I Earn?

The median annual wage for occupational therapy assistants in general was $59,310 in May 2017. Those working in educational services earned a median of $48,880 that same year. Employment is commonly full-time, and some may work on weekends and during evening hours.

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