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A Pediatric Perspective

Tuesday Tidbit - OT once again makes US News & World Report best careers in 2009

Published March 2, 2010 9:42 PM by Wendy Hof

Once again Occupational Therapy has made the top career list for 2009.  Yay us!!!   There is even mention of how Occupational Therapists are now being used as consultants for building developers.  We've come a long way baby!!

The article reports that the majority of OT's work in hospitals and home health care companies and that only 30% of OT's work with the pediatric population (schools, Birth-to-three, pediatric hospitals.)  I, for one, am glad to be in the minority specialty group. :)    I know that the pay may be more in the skilled nursing facilities and hospitals but I truly enjoying working with the younger kiddos and would not trade it for anything. 

After hearing it's still a popular career choice I was curious to see if there was an upward trend in students applying to work in the OT field.  I was curious to see if the fact that one needs a Masters degree instead of a Bachelors degree was causing students to think twice about enrolling.  I know that the number of COTA programs has declined in recent years.  After a google search I found that several colleges had blurbs on declined enrollment in their OT programs and several COTA programs have been dropped altogether but I was unable to find an substantial data on if there is an overall decline and if so, what the % is.  I know I have heard talk that the cost to get a Masters in todays market with the economy the way it is has made numerous students rethink what their career choices.  It's a shame really because there is a demand out there for OT's and COTA's.  Just look in the back of any Advance magazine or on the Advance Web Site and you will see numerous job postings throughout the states.  These postings are in pediatric and adult populations.

US News & World Report also offers a list of OT schools and their rankings for those who might be interested or know someone who is interested in furthering their career in the OT field.

I am sure that with all the job cut backs and the economy the way it is there is a decline in some areas which might make it more difficult for the OT practitioner who is settled with a family to find another position if they are looking or have been laid off.  If you are a new graduate who is open to traveling there appears to be plenty of job openings in New York, and California (to name just two states I remember seeing quite a few postings for).  I also saw a few postings for Hawaii (oh, if I was only younger or my family and I weren't so attached to being close to our extended family)...

Of course I tend to keep my eyes out for the pediatric jobs so this may be different for the jobs available in the adult population.  It is also important to remember that each state has different regulations for where COTA's may work.  Some states allow COTA's to work in birth-to-three and home health care, while other states do not.  Either way, though, regardless of which population you work in - it's great news to see that we are once again a "best career"!

What has your experience been lately?  Do you find that the job market for your area of OT is slowing down or are there still plenty of opportunities for you?  Are you hearing or reading that enrollment in OT and COTA programs is declining?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and share your experiences.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope to see you back here again.



Jeanne,  Do you hire COTA and PTA or only PT's and OT's?  Just curious.  In CT COTA's are allowed to work in Birth-to-three but in MA they are not.  I was one of the first COTA's to be hired for the company I work for because OT's are hard to come by here too.  Have you always found it difficult to find qualified therapists or has it been just recently?  I know many OT's and PT's here are opting to go into SNF and hospitals instead of pediatrics because the pay is better.  Good luck with fullfilling your open positions. ~Wendy~

Wendy Hof, Pediatric - COTA, birth-to-three March 23, 2010 8:59 PM
Northeastern CT

We have plenty of peds opportunities for both OT and PT and can't seem to find staff to fill the positions!  

Jeanne Ireland, peds - OTR/L, Pnysical Therapy works March 23, 2010 5:15 PM
suffolk VA

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