Pediatric Occupational Therapy Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

A pediatric occupational therapy program teaches students how to help children recover from injuries so that they may perform daily, routine tasks. Prospective students interested in the field of pediatric occupational therapy must hold a master's degree or higher. Both master's and doctoral degree programs require that students complete a clinical component.

How to Choose a Pediatric Occupational Therapy School or College

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the minimum educational requirement for becoming an occupational therapist is a master's degree. Prospective students who wish to enter into the field of pediatric occupational therapy have two degree options, a master's degree or a doctoral degree. A master's degree program in occupational therapy can be completed in two years and requires students to gain fieldwork experience. In contrast, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program is typically only open to students with an undergraduate or master's degree in occupational therapy. Like a master's degree program, fieldwork experience is required to meet the requirements of the degree.

Some of the core pediatric occupational therapy courses that are offered in both a master's and a doctoral degree program include functional movement, neuroanatomy, introduction to the occupational therapy process, assistive technology and client factors and occupational performance. Some master's degree programs may include an optional thesis that requires students to conduct research and prepare a scholarly journal article.

Prospective occupational therapists may want to consider the following when choosing a program:

  • Prospective students should ensure that their program of choice is properly accredited, as only graduates of an accredited pediatric occupational therapy degree program can complete the licensure process.
  • Licensure is required before a graduate can begin work as a pediatric occupational therapist, while certification for pediatric occupational therapists is optional.
  • Pediatric occupational therapy schools that offer students a wide variety of fieldwork opportunities are better equipped to graduate expert practitioners.
  • Some programs include internships with local health care providers to augment the fieldwork component.

Top 10 Occupational Therapy Schools

College/UniversityInstitution Type
University of Southern California4-year, Private
Boston University (Sargent)4-year, Private
Washington University in St. Louis4-year, Private
University of Illinois - Chicago4-year, Public
University of Kansas Medical Center4-year, Public
Colorado State University4-year, Public
Thomas Jefferson University4-year, Private
Tufts University - Boston School of Occupational Therapy4-year, Private
University of Pittsburgh4-year, Public
New York University4-year, Private

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