As special education programs grow and evolve, school-based occupational, physical and speech-language therapists are in growing demand – and the rewards and benefits are numerous. Are you considering this career path? As plans get under way for the 2014 school year, it’s a great time to turn your thoughts into action.
The Role of a School-Based Therapist
As a school-based therapist, you collaborate with teachers, nurses, psychologists and parents to provide children from preschool through high school with the optimal educational experience. Using your specialty skills, you play a key role in ensuring that students can fully participate in life activities both inside and outside the classroom. Removing barriers to success and enabling children to move forward and enjoy satisfying lives … for motivated, enthusiastic, compassionate therapists, it’s a road worth traveling!
A Wide Variety of Opportunities
Unlocking students’ potential and contributing to their personal and academic growth can be a rewarding lifelong career. You develop strong relationships not only with students and families, but also with myriad professionals who can help further advance your career goals.
- There are diverse choices. You can practice in an urban, rural or suburban district and provide services to students with a variety of disorders. You utilize one-on-one or small group sessions or you may work right in the classroom. Services may be provided directly or indirectly to students, families and/or school staff.
- Career development is ongoing. You continuously advance your professional knowledge, learn about school-related topics and have opportunities to share your expertise with others. School-based therapy can be an excellent springboard to developing specialization, advancing into administrative work or participating in research.
- You bolster your creativity. As you create unique programs to meet student needs, you develop new approaches, techniques and materials. In addition, you work with new and innovative models and initiatives.
A High-Demand Career Option
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts steady job growth in school-based therapy in the coming years. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), passed in 1975 and improved to expand student therapy availability in 2004, has been one impetus for this progress. In 2001, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act, another legislative plus for students and school staff.
- Enjoy a family-friendly work schedule. Your basic workday aligns with school schedules, but opportunities are ample if you want to pick up extra hours via after-school or summer programs.
- Depending on the job, additional perks are offered. These may include signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement, loan forgiveness or relocation costs.
To learn more about pursuing a career as a school-based therapist, read our related posts or contact the team at Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services today.