How to become a physical therapist

  • To become a physical therapist (shortly known as a PT) one should complete an entry level education (high school diploma or general equivalency diploma or GED degree), followed by undergraduate degree, before enrolling in an accredited master’s degree in physical therapy. One should select a physical therapy program based on the state’s licensing department. In general, physical therapy programs are offered at universities, vocational schools, post-secondary colleges, medical schools, including community colleges. Some candidates usually earn doctor’s degrees to promote their careers as advanced physical therapists. Alternately, one can improve employment opportunities by pursuing master’s degrees as well. In fact, to become a Certified or Registered physical Therapist, one should ensure that the graduation program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical therapy Education (CAPTE). Keep reading for more information about how to become a physical therapist.

  • It has been reported by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that the graduates of associate’s degree in physical therapy program should complete a clinical practicum, or internship. Moreover, the candidates pursuing a physical therapy degree program take courses in various health fields such as microbiology, anatomy, mathematics, pharmacology, and physiology. In addition, the graduates of physical therapy programs should be well trained to evaluate the patient condition and to reinforce physical activities. They should guide the patients about physical health and chronic disease prevention.

    Moreover, one should complete a specific coursework in physical therapy program by learning various types of subjects in order to gain work experience in a clinical setting. Various schools offer different physical therapy courses; while some offer diploma programs that include only general physical therapy. One should study basic subjects like microbiology, human anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. The coursework also includes general health care topics such as medical record keeping and reimbursement. One can prefer taking up courses in a specific field of physical therapy, such as physiotherapy, kinesiology, physical rehabilitation, patient assessment, therapeutic procedures, and health promotion.

    One should obtain a license on passing an examination officially conducted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Sometimes, one may require a test with national recognition like National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for licensure. One should complete an exam conducted by a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), which is a main accreditation body of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

    Why to become physical therapist ?

    There has been a sudden hike in demand for the physical therapists as the number of people with chronic disorders has currently increased and thousands of therapists are employed immediately on completion of their accredited physical therapy programs. This is also due to increasing number of physical therapy clinics that offer affordable physical therapy services to large number of patients. Moreover, one can have a lucrative and respected career by treating various chronic conditions and by improving an overall state of wellness in patients. In addition, one can start earning soon after completing just 2 years of hands on physical therapy training program.

    Currently, the physical therapists are at a higher demand than before and according to the BLS, the employment for them is more likely to increase by up to 22 percent by the year 2010 to 2020. Physical therapists tend to get new job openings due faster than the average growth of physical therapy services in future. Apart from receiving competitive salary, one can gain more salary benefits by becoming a certified physical therapist.

    Moreover, the middle-aged and elderly population in future is more prone to develop serious chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, osteoarthritis, and various other physically debilitating conditions that can restrict partial or full body movement. The high incidence factor of chronic musculoskeletal conditions has currently led to an increased demand for physical therapy services and treatments thus, increasing the job opportunities at mostly hospitals and nursing homes. In addition, the demand for physical therapists is currently increasing due to the advances in diagnosing and preventing disease, invention of effective medications, and by the reinforcement of sophisticated treatments. Moreover, various other factors of the general population, such as insufficient nutrient intake, chronic joint and bone conditions, and conditions associated with bone fractures will require a continuous demand for physical therapists.

    Physical therapist requirements

    Aspiring physical therapists should first complete an entry level education (school or GED equivalent degree) before enrolling in an undergraduate physical therapy program. One should at least complete an associate’s degree in physical therapy offered at an accredited university, college, medical schools and vocational schools for physical therapists. Those aspiring to advance their careers as professional physical therapists can pursue bachelor’s degrees. One can also pursue master’s degrees as well if planning to improve job opportunity.

    In general, one should select a physical therapy program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in order to become a Certified or Registered physical therapist following graduation. The candidate then becomes eligible to take the National physical therapy examination (NPTE) for physical therapists on successful completion of 2 year physical therapy program. Several certifications in physical therapy have been offered by the FSBPT.

    A physical therapist should possess a minimum entry-level credential of either an associate’s degree or 2 years of hands-on physical care training experience and pass a certification exam to become a certified physical therapist. Moreover, one can become a Certified Physical Therapist (CPT) by the completion of a Master’s degree program in physical therapy from an accredited school and by passing the NPTE exam. In fact, the FSBPT is in-charge of awarding various advanced level credentials on successful completion of advanced education, exams and training experience.

    One should understand that every state requirement for becoming a certified physical therapist varies. The number of hours of physical therapy training varies for different states. Many schools offer physical therapy programs that usually last for 2 years, while others may offer physical therapy courses that may require more than 2 years of physical therapy education and training.

    Physical therapist education and degree

    To become a physical therapist, one should complete an entry-level education (high school diploma or GED equivalent) before enrolling in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. One should graduate either from a four-year bachelor’s degree or a two-year associate’s degree. The candidate should then mandatorily complete a postgraduate or master’s program in physical therapy that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), which is a main accreditation body of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The program curriculum can include both theory classes and clinical procedures. The state certification can be obtained by passing the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), officially conducted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

    Read more about physical therapist education and degree.

    Physical therapist training

    The training program for a physical therapist includes the following course subjects: one should complete a typical educational coursework that includes medical subjects like human anatomy and physiology. Moreover, one should learn the subjects like pathophysiology, physics, microbiology, chemistry, pharmacology, and mathematics. One requires an in depth knowledge of various chronic musculoskeletal conditions. For this reason, one should learn various anatomy and physiological mechanism of the various systems of the body. The education and training for a certified physical therapist initially focuses on exercise science, sports physiology, life science, kinesiology, patient care, physical rehabilitation, and applying clinical practice through hands on experience. In fact, one should complete a physical therapy program from a school or university accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Read more about physical therapist training.

    Physical therapist certification

    On completion of a four-year bachelor’s degree or a two-year associate’s degree program, one should mandatorily complete a postgraduate or master’s program in physical therapy that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), which is a main accreditation body of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The candidate should then apply to the exam, the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to become a certified physical therapist after obtaining a license to practice. To become a certified physical therapist, one should obtain license to practice. According to the BLS, one should fulfill the standard requirement for licensure as set by the NPTE. Practice license can be obtained through the CPT credential after graduating from an accredited entry-level or advanced program in physical therapy, followed by the successful completion of NPTE examination, officially conducted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

    Physical therapist Licensure Examination

    All graduates of physical therapy training programs should apply to gain the eligibility for licensure. On approval, the candidate will be eligible to take a national licensing examination, the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE) that is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSTPT). The NPTE exam consists of 225 questions based on the practice of physical therapy, as well as mastery in fields such as pathology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology that should be finished within 5 hours.

    Physical therapist Licensure

    Physical therapists require license to practice in their respective state of licensure. One should apply for a physical therapy license to their state licensing board on completion of the program. It is mandatory that all physical therapists should take and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) officially conducted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy before receiving the license from their state board.

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