How to Become A Physical Therapist

Physical therapists (PTs) provide diagnoses and treatments for physical health issues that limit patients’ ability to perform daily physical activities. As rehabilitation specialists, PTs work to bring their patients back to their maximum function using a variety of therapy techniques, including exercise, stretching, joint mobilization, electrotherapy, heat and ice packs, and ultrasound.

Knowing how to become a physical therapist requires education and licenses that differ based on states’ laws. Generally, those wishing to practice as a PT must complete an accredited physical therapy educational program as well as pass a national certification exam. 

Because physical therapy is a constantly-evolving field, it can provide rewarding and fascinating career choices. PTs must think and work dynamically in order to provide patients with appropriate clinical applications, with some playing leadership roles in identifying and implementing treatment options to meet patients’ various needs. This can require working cooperatively with many other health care providers such as physicians, nurses, and physical therapy assistants and aides. Patients can vary in age from newborns to the elderly and can enter physiotherapy for a number of reasons, which means that physical therapists must be able to adapt to each patients’ specific symptoms and needs.

 

Steps to becoming a physical therapist

If you want to become a physical therapist, you will need to spend many years of education and training in areas such kinesiology, biology, anatomy, and physical fitness. Following are the major steps to become a physical therapist.

1. Complete a bachelor’s degree in a health related field. You will need to complete courses in physics, chemistry, biology, anatomy, and physiology.
 
2. Complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an accredited institute. The program normally lasts for three years.
 
3. After earning a DPT degree, you can enroll in a clinical residency program to get more training and experience. Clinical residency is optional and takes one year to complete.
 
4. Then you will need to meet the licensing requirements of your state. Although, the state requirements vary, you will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which is supervised by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). 
 
5. Once you have acquired a license, you can also obtain a board certification, which is optional. With this certification, you will become a board-certified specialist in one of the eight specialty areas under the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.
 

There are also a number of medical areas in which physical therapists can choose to specialize. Specialty fields include geriatrics, neurology, orthopedics, women’s health, clinical electrophysiology and pediatrics. Some PTs may choose to become certified as such, but this is not required in order to practice in these areas.

PTs can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physical rehabilitation clinics, extended care facilities, nursing homes, schools, fitness and wellness centers, home care and research centers. Alternatively, many physical therapists choose to go into private practice, either on their own or as a joint effort with other PTs.

Those who are looking to enter a profession that is intellectually stimulating, personally rewarding and has high projected growth potential may want to consider becoming a physical therapist.

 

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Q:What will the job duties be like after becoming a physical therapist?

A:Physical therapists help people who suffer from physical disability caused by accidents or diseases. The job revolves around rehabilitation and improving movement. A physical therapist performs a number of tasks such as implementing treatment plans, diagnosing dysfunctional movements, applying different physical therapy exercises, and recording progress of a patient. (Source: O*Net Online)

Q:How to become a physical therapist assistant?

A:You must at least an associate degree in physical therapy for a career as a physical therapist assistant. This is an undergraduate program that usually takes 2 years to complete. The program will cover important topics through classroom learning and will provide students with hands-on experience through clinical training. The curriculum may vary from school to school. Once the program is complete, you must pass the licensure examination n your state. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:If i want to become a physical therapist, what important subjects should I study?

A:You can enroll in a masters or doctoral degree in physical therapy to prepare for this career. The coursework will vary from institute to institute. Typically, important subjects such as the following are covered in a physical therapy degree program: biomechanics, neuroscience, pharmacology, and anatomy. You can also choose to specialize in a certain field of physical therapy. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How do i become a physical therapist after completing a DPT?

A:All states require physical therapists to be licensed before they can start practice. The licensing requirements may vary from state to state. After completing a DPT, you must then complete a 1 year clinical residency program for training. You can then take the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy to acquire a professional license. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics) .

Q:What are the requirements to become a physical therapist?

A:If you plan to become a physical therapist, you will have to complete a doctoral in physical therapy degree from an accredited institution. The program can be pursued after your bachelor-level education is complete. A DPT will provide you with in-depth knowledge of physical therapy practices and skills. The next step is to gain work experience by complete a 1 year clinical residency program. The last requirement is earning a license for practice by passing the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:Do the steps to becoming a physical therapist include licensing? How do I get a license?

A:To practice as a physical therapist, you will need a professional license. You can get a license by passing the National Physical Therapy Examination in your state. This is a computer-administered exam that has five sections. The exam will evaluate your skill set and knowledge about physical therapy. You must pass a minimum number of questions to successfully qualify for a license. (Source: American Physical Therapy Association APTA)

Q:How long does it take to become a physical therapist?

A:After getting your high school diploma, it can take you 7 to 10 to become a physical therapist. You will have to complete a 4 year bachelor degree and then enroll in a doctor of physical therapy degree (DPT) which can take 3-4 years to complete. After completing your education, you must complete a residency clinical program of at least 1 year and apply for a license. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How to become a physical therapist aide?

A:In order to become a physical therapist aide, you need to complete a high school diploma and an assistant degree in physical therapy. You can gain clinical experience through on-the-job training. Apart from this, you must also have a license. The requirements for licensing will depend upon the state you live in. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What to major in to become a physical therapist?

A:At undergraduate level, it is recommended that you choose majors relevant to physical therapy education. Many students opt for majors in biology, anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and even mathematics. When applying for admission in a DPT program, you will have to complete the prerequisite courses. These may vary from school to school. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How much is a physical therapist salary?

A:According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary of physical therapists was $79,860 in 2012. The labor bureau also estimated that the number of people working as physical therapists would grow by 36 percent from 2012 to 2022. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:Can you tell me about the schooling to become a physical therapist?

A:To practice as a physical therapist, you will need a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (DPT) which usually takes 3 years to complete. This is a post graduate degree that aims at equipping students with knowledge and skills about the field. Important topics such as musculo-skeletal anatomy, therapeutic exercises, and biomechanics are covered in the degree program. It is important to remember that the coursework may vary from school to school. You must have at least a bachelor degree to qualify for admission in a DPT program. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What are the minimum physical therapist education requirements?

A:According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapist must have a doctor of physical therapy degree. This is an advanced degree that equips students with skills and theoretical knowledge. The program can be completed in 3-4 years and can only be pursued after completion of a bachelor or masters degree. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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