Welcome to Pediatric OT!
I’m so glad you’re here! If you’re new, welcome! This post is extra-meaningful to me as I am finishing my OTD this month (originally posted in 2019). As a fellow new graduate, I am filled with excitement for wonderful things to come.
Graduation from college is an incredible milestone! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bottle the excitement and enthusiasm we feel at that time? OR if you’re beginning your first fieldwork experience, this is for you!
Some therapists obtain work before graduation but many wait. I’m often asked for advice from new graduates, and I’d love to share some of my favorite tips with you.
1) Write down your goals and don’t forget to DREAM BIG! I encourage you to brainstorm all of the possibilities and then circle which goals to tackle first. I dreamed of beginning my own practice right after graduation. Thus, all of my future career moves were driven by my goal. Take courses relating to your career goals and read as much as you can. Ask questions and follow others with similar goals and dreams.
2) Join your local, state, and national OT organizations. It may seem expensive now but the rewards will be great. Often, organizations grant members unique access to research and other documents. It’s also critical to know your state laws — this is especially true if you are an OT who will eventually be providing supervision for an OTA.
The American Occupational Therapy Association offers invaluable information for clinicians of all experience levels. Here
is their resource page.
3) Create business cards and keep them current. Vistaprint is my favorite website on which to create marketing materials. It’s never too soon to market yourself. Adding a cute logo or colorful extra touch may make the difference in catching someone’s eye!
NEVER plan another OT session again. Over 2500 pages of pre-planned activities are grouped into weekly themes. Gross motor, fine motor, sensory, VP, visual-motor, and cognitive are all included in the download.
4) Networking is one of the most critical activities a new therapist can engage in. Since the OT community is close-knit, knowing who runs local meetings, support groups, and local clinics can benefit you greatly. Don’t forget to keep in touch with your school professors and clinical instructors. I ended up seeking a job five years later from a former clinical supervisor! Be sure to maintain a positive and professional attitude as you enter meetings and group events. I encourage you to think of it as though you’re always in an interview for a new job! You never know when or where a therapist is seeking a new hire!
Mentoring is another wonderful way to network and gain helpful insight from someone with experience in the field. I mentor many new pediatric OTs and the relationship benefits both parties. Oftentimes, new graduates have new and fresh treatment ideas or have completed great research on new topics.
We would love to meet you in our 5/5 star Pediatric OT Primer course. It’s AOTA approved for 6 hours of professional development! We offer all courses on-demand so you take them when YOU want!
Assessment, evidence-based strategies, development, reflexes, movement, motor, behavior, and sensory are all covered plus get tons of resources to use throughout your career.
5) Create a stellar resume! Remember to include your volunteer and unique skills. Oftentimes, employers prefer to hire therapists with neat and creative skill sets vs. those with only high GPAs. Being a juggler, for instance, says a great deal about your coordination and ability to entertain your pediatric clients!
6) Sign up for magazines and marketing materials from different equipment suppliers. I’m always surprised at the discounts available for exceptional products! Thumbing through catalogs is not only fun but sparks creativity!
7) Of course, you’ll want to have a great OT library! Start with our award-winning books as they’re great for parents, therapists, teachers, etc. Including information on SPD, fine & gross motor, school, dyslexia, ADHD, behavior, transition, ADLs, and so much more! Each diagnosis/issue is explained thoroughly and is followed by resources and thousands of activities you can do to remediate and help children who need extra help.
There are many super books written by OTs! Follow my blog for more FREE information about blogs, books, and resources.
8) Use your resources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Some helpful OT groups for pediatrics on Facebook and the web:
9) Obtain malpractice insurance. Many employers cover the general liability of equipment and/or staff but I always recommend purchasing your coverage. Pricing is dependent on full or part-time employment and experience. You worked HARD for your education, licensure, and certification, so protect it.
**I receive no compensation from either insurance company.