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How to Become a Physical Therapist

Physical Therapist

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Often referred to as  “PT’s,” physical therapists are essential members of the health care field.

They are responsible for diagnosing and treating patients who suffer from illnesses or injuries that prevent them from functioning correctly in their daily lives.

If you are considering becoming a physical therapist, continue reading for information on what is required for this type of work and the types of benefits you can expect.

Physical Therapist Job Description

A physical therapist works with many different age groups, from newborns to the elderly. They can work in hospitals, orthopedic centers, or rehabilitation clinics, where they assist patients who have been physically affect by certain illnesses or have been injured.

Their responsibility is to examine the patient and devise a physical therapy plan that will:

  • Improve range of motion
  • Increase flexibility
  • Enhance strength
  • Reduce pain and discomfort
  • Reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Improve balance and coordination

Each treatment plan a physical therapist devises for a patient will include a specific treatment strategy, information on the purpose of the strategy, and the expected outcome of physical therapy.

Educational Requirements for Physical Therapists

Most physical therapists are required to hold a graduate degree in physical therapy. Interested student must, of course, first earn their bachelor degree in physical therapy at an accredited institution before they can move on to obtain their master’s or doctoral degree.

Coursework is a blend of classroom studies and clinical rotations. A Doctor of Physical Therapy program will teach students how to diagnose and treat patients through coursework encompassing exercise, procedures, therapeutic applications, and anatomy.

During a student’s clinical clerkship, the student will be placed in a healthcare facility to work under the supervision of a licenses PT.

After obtaining your education as a PT, you will be required by most states to take the National Physical Therapy Examination. Once you have received a passing score on this exam, you will receive your license to practice in your current state.

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Does this career sound like the one you have been dreaming of? If so, we have outline a few steps you should take to help you start your new life in this rewarding area of the health care field.

  1. Apply – The first step to earning your physical therapy degree is applying to an accredited college with a physical therapy program. Do your research and find the best college for you, and don’t forget to apply to several different ones.
  2. Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree – Every physical therapist must begin his or her education by earning a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. Study hard!
  3. Earn Your Graduate Degree – While a doctorate in physical therapy may be easier to obtain, there are some colleges that provide a master’s degree in physical therapy.
  4. Pass Your State Test – After earning your degree, take the National Physical Therapy Examination to obtain your license. Keep in mind, though, certain states will require additional testing before you can become licensed as a professional PT.
  5. Continue Your Education – Specializing in a certain branch, such as neurology or cardio, through continued education will allow you to earn more and help you make a name for yourself in the healthcare field. Take every opportunity you can to learn more.

Becoming a physical therapist is a fulfilling and rewarding career. If you are interested in becoming a member of the health care field, this might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Salary and Benefits  for Physical Therapists

Salary.com states that the average annual salary for a physical therapist about $74,895. This number increases and decreases, however, depending on education and experience.

According to the site, the lowest 10 percent receive an average salary of $64,115, while the highest 10 percent receive a salary of $85,459 a year.

Besides a fantastic salary, this rewarding career also offers many benefits, like:

  • Social Security
  • Disability
  • Pension
  • Health Care
  • 401k or 403B
  • Paid Time Off
  • Health Insurance