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What is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist?

How would you like a job where you get to play all day- while at the same time help children with disabilities or kids recovering from injury or illness?

Meet Marci Jacobs. She’s a pediatric occupational therapist with University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio. Her job is basically to help kids do the things they need to do to function in life.  Her patients can be premature babies, children with disabilities, like autism or kids recovering from an injury or illness.  She helps them master skills like learning how to play, eat or get dressed.  They may work on building strength, perception skills or fine motor skills… sometimes all at the same time!

Working with children, Marci’s job is to “hide the activities in fun” as she describes it.  She wants the kids to feel like they are playing, while they are working on developing skills.

If you’re interested in a career as a pediatric occupational therapist, Marci says there is a lot of science involved.  You need to understand anatomy, how the body works and moves, and physiology.  She also says it’s very important that you have fun.  You’re going to be crawling around on the floor a lot, getting dirty and messy!

It used to be you just needed a bachelor’s degree to become an occupational therapist.  Now you need at least a master’s degree.  And Marci suspects soon, you’ll even need a doctorate’s degree to practice.

You can learn more about an occupational therapist here: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm

SALARY

According to Glassdoor.com, a pediatric occupational therapist makes an average of $77,000 a year.

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