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How would I go about becoming a pediatric occupational therapist?

I am going into my senior year of high school and have recently discovered my passion in the field of pediatric occupational therapy. I am fully aware that I must attend graduate school and obtain at least a master's degree to be licensed in the United States. I have been looking into combined bachelor's and master's programs where I can get both my undergraduate and first level graduate studies done in five years. In my perspective, this type of OT program will be the most beneficial and efficient way for me to prepare for the exam and eventually become licensed. Unfortunately, not many universities or colleges offer a combined BS/MS program for OT or an OT program in general. I worked hard throughout high school in order to maintain a weighted 4.35 GPA. My goal was to attend a top university, but in order to do so, I am risking a critical advancement in my studies. Should I attend a top school and solely get a bachelor's degree (and additionally a master's degree in a separate program) or attend a lower ranking school that offers a 5-year OT program?
#occupational-therapy #occupational-health #whichpath #college #college-major #university

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Corinne’s Answer

Hi there, well done so far with your grades and knowing what you want to do.

Some of the 5 year programs are excellent, Dusquense in Pittsburg for one.

Typically OT;s do the undergrad, and then masters route.

In the end , no one really asks where you went to school, but rather, judge your level of go to a creditied school, try one in top 30 or so , if possible. If not go where you get best aid , or proximity etc. Masters same thing each school has a different focus , and I am not clear on all the details.
For peds OT it takes working in the area, taking extra courses after graduation . Experience is what takes you to becoming that OT. Look at AOTA that have a peds certificiate after graduation, where you need to take a certain amount of continuing education etc to add that credential to your name.

It is an awesome field, meaningful work.....good luck......well worth the work!