Sunday, November 22, 2009

To OT or Not to OT...That is the question

Hello, Teaming Bloggers!

First - great blog, and wonderful idea.

Second - I am not a Pediatric OT - but I am considering the field and trying to get some information about it. I'm 38, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I've spent my life working as a theater and circus arts performer and educator. In the last year I've been preparing to return to school to get a Master's in Psychology... but lately two students of mine are making me wonder if I should be going into Pediatric OT instead.

I've been teaching kids circus for years, and currently have two ASD circus-arts students ("Billy" is 10 years old with very-high-functioning Asperger's, and "Jon" is 8.5 years old with severe non-verbal Autism). I have so loved working with these boys, and their families and therapists have been so impressed by the increases in balance and coordination skills they've achieved in their lessons with me -- I am starting to think that perhaps this is a path I should be looking at.

I've been looking online at information about the job market in this field, but it's so much more useful to actually hear from people who are doing it. My questions are: What is the job market like in my area? What sort of salary, hours and benefits can I reasonably expect? How long does certification take? One reason (though not the only reason) I am looking to "expand" my career is that I want to have greater financial stability... it is looking to me like the path to this is both quicker and more open (in terms of jobs) for an OT than for a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist (the licensure I would be pursuing after getting a Master's in Psychology).

I know it is not your responsibility to provide career counseling to perfect strangers! I'm just looking for a place to start getting information. If any of you have two cents to offer about your experience in this field, or websites, programs or books I should consider, I'd be very very grateful.

Incidentally - While I might be open to moving to either the Portland Oregon or Los Angeles areas, I'd like to stay on the West Coast for my schooling and work - and, I am open to working with all kinds of children, with all kinds of challenges (ie, hospital jobs are also interesting to me) - ASD just seems to be my starting place. :)

THANK YOU for your help, and thank you also for your inspiring work and commitment to such an important field.


Laura Ricci