Become a Developmental Therapist

Become a Developmental Therapist

Given the complex nature of child development and the variety of factors that impact developmental differences and the child/caregiver relationship, we at the IDTA encourage all seeking to become Developmental Therapists and all existing Developmental Therapists to seek the highest level of education possible in efforts to achieve excellence and further mastery of this field. We encourage Developmental Therapists to be well versed and leaders in the field of child development. Upon completion of an educational program the Developmental Therapist should be able to design learning environments and activities that promote the child's acquisition of skills in a variety of developmental areas, and be able to provide information and support related to enhancing the skill development of a child that enables the child to attain maximum functional levels of development.

How to Become a DT Podcast by Provider Connections


Educational Requirements for a Developmental Therapist
Currently in the state of Illinois in order to hold a credential in Developmental Therapy a Developmental Therapist must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in the areas of Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Special Education, Special Education: Deaf/Hard of Hearing or Blind/Partially Sighted, Child Development/Family Studies, Early Intervention or Elementary Education. For more detailed information on the educational requirements of the developmental therapist please refer to the Understanding the Education of the Developmental Therapist section of our website.

If you currently possess the minimal requirements to become a developmental therapist and would like to enroll to provide services as a Developmental Therapist in the state of Illinois Early Intervention Program you can apply for a credential and enroll as a provider by visiting Provider Connections and clicking on the credentialing tab and then clicking on New Applicants. On the New Applicants page you will find the application along with further video podcasts that will walk you through the application and submission process.


Educational Programs for Becoming a Developmental Therapist  

There are a variety of programs that can provide the education necessary for someone looking for a career in Developmental Therapy. The following is a list of some of the Graduate Programs in Illinois that can provide those seeking a career in this filed the education they seek.


Elmhurst College

Elmhurst College offers a Masters (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Special Education.This program’s design is centered around three core principles:

1. Quality learning occurs best within the context of caring relationships.
2. Self-reflection and self-knowledge are important professional competencies needed to successfully work with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities and Program Overview their families.
3. Forming collaborative partnerships with families is central to working with young children with special needs. 

 The philosophy of family-centered care is at the heart of this graduate program. Because young children with special needs (like all children) develop within families, understanding and supporting their families is as important as understanding and supporting the children themselves. The program has several unique features that grow directly out of this program philosophy. For more detailed information relating to this program visit their website at for more information read the related document

Erikson Institute
Erikson Institute offers master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs as well as a doctoral program in conjunction with Loyola University Chicago, all focused exclusively on early childhood development.
All of Erikson’s programs feature:
- A holistic, multidisciplinary approach that covers all dimensions of child development from birth through age eight, within the context of family, culture, and community;
- a relationship-based approach to working with children and families;
- a focus on self-reflection to build your practical skills and professional self-awareness;

For more detailed information relating to this program visit their website at