How Do I Become a Developmental Therapist?

Jennifer Leigh

There are three major steps needed to become a developmental therapist: attend post-secondary education, apply for licensure, and look for jobs in the field. Jobs are available in schools, private clinics, and government organizations; it is also possible to become a developmental therapist by working privately at your own office or clinic. Specific requirements vary depending on where you live, but generally, at least a bachelor's degree and some type of licensure is necessary to work in the field. Since developmental therapy covers many different areas of human development, specific training should be done depending on your area of interest.

Aspiring developmental therapists must have at least a bachelor's degree.
Aspiring developmental therapists must have at least a bachelor's degree.

Developmental therapists work in the areas of cognitive, emotional, and physical therapy to help children and adults, so the training and education differs depending on the field you are interested in. It is generally necessary to receive at least an undergraduate degree in the subject matter before you will be competitive to be hired for a position. For example, to become a developmental therapist who works with children who have aural problems, you need to obtain a bachelor's degree in this specific field. There are similar undergraduate training programs for vision, physical disabilities, and speech.

A higher-level education, such as a master's or doctoral degree, will provide you with more opportunities in the field. Some countries require a master's degree to be licensed in certain areas of developmental therapy, while others do not. Check with your local government's professional licensure regulating body to find out the requirements and to determine whether a master's or doctoral degree is the right path for you to become a developmental therapist. In many cases, it will be easier to find a job and move to a supervisory position if you have these additional educational qualifications. Other opportunities, such as teaching, are easier to find if you have a higher education.

The next step to become a developmental therapist is to gain experience in the field so that you can find a job. Many college programs offer or require hours spent doing the job before it is possible to graduate from a program. Take advantage of these types of opportunities so that you can make connections and add more training qualifications to your resume. Jobs can be found in clinics, schools, through government organizations, and in hospitals. Apply to jobs by polishing your resume and cover letter, dressing professionally for the interview, and identifying your strengths and qualifications while talking to the person doing the hiring.

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