How to Become a Physical Therapist

Physical therapists or physiotherapists are medical professionals who help patients with immobilities which might be caused due to any injury, surgery or illness. Physical therapy is one of the most successful medical professions of this era as it doesn’t only improve the quality of life for patients but also the therapist gets a really good pay for his work. An average pay for a therapist is around $76,000 per year in the US. It is one of the 30 most fastest growing professions in the United States as it’s demand has increased by 39% from 2010 to 2020. If you are willing to be a part of this rewarding career, you just need to follow some unique and simple steps that are mentioned below:

Obtain Licensure -

  • Obtain Licensure: Before jumping into any profession one should know about the major and minor details of his chosen career. You have to make sure that you are accepting every single detail and you have all the things which are required to be a physical therapist. Your mind and body must be prepared to perform the following tasks. You have to listen to your patient as well as observe him to localize his dysfunctional movements. Use exercises, hands-on therapy and stretches to ease the pain of your patient and to improve mobility. You need to modify your treatment plans after evaluating the progress of the patient. Support your patients emotionally as you are their therapist and you are working on their recovery, so they must be supported mentally, physically and emotionally by their therapist.

Get Four Year Bachelor’s Degree -

  • Get Four Year Bachelor’s Degree: Get admission in a university for a four year program of physical therapy. You don’t need to have a post graduate degree necessarily to be into this profession. The common subjects of undergraduate programs of physical therapy include biology, exercise science and psychology. There are certain programs that allow students to enter directly into physical therapy just after graduating from high school, you can opt for them as well. If you want to work with a physical therapist as an assistant, you can take an associates degree in this profession. 

Post-Graduate Professional Degree -

  • Post-Graduate Professional Degree: There are some post-graduate physical therapy programs that offer the degree of Doctor Of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Master Of Physical Therapy (MTP). Doctoral program lasts for about 3-4 years whereas the master’s program duration is about 2-3 years. Students opting for post-graduate degrees in physical therapy need to study human anatomy, neuroscience and biomechanics. A student has to complete his clinical rotations during his chosen program, as clinical rotations are extremely important for students to gain experience of working in their desired field. Entrance tests for such medical professions could be competitive, so you must work really hard to be selected in your desired program. Before selecting the right PT program for you, compare them on the basis of their licensure passing rate, speciality areas and financial aid packages.

Obtain A License -

  • Obtain A License: Different states have different licensing requirements but most of them require the candidates to pass their National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). So you have to check the requirements according to your state for obtaining your physical therapy licenses.

Succeeding In Your Career -

  • Succeeding In Your Career: To become successful in any medical profession one must apply for the residency program after graduation. For becoming a successful physical therapist the candidate has to apply for residency to gain more experience in his particular area of interest. This will provide you more advancement in your field as well as improves your job prospects. A person could apply for a clinical fellowship which will allow him to further educate himself in a particular specialized field. In this way you will gain an opportunity to work with your mentor and get a chance to work with enough patients which will build up your skills in your desired field.

Be A Physical Therapist -

  • Be A Physical Therapist: Like other medical professions, there are a variety of jobs available for physical therapists in hospitals, clinics, outpatient facilities, fitness centers and home services. You have to check the listing of available jobs in your area. Select the job that meets your requirements. Send them your cover letter, resume or whatever information required for your potential employer requests. If you are selected there as an employee, it would be a great opportunity for your career as you would get a good pay with a lot of experience under the supervision of senior professionals.

Get A Board Certification In Clinical Speciality -

  • Get A Certification In Clinical Speciality: After gaining your experience in a particular field you can get your board certification in a clinical speciality. This will help in making you a more desirable candidate for your particular chosen job as a physical therapist. You can get more than one certificate as there is no such limitation of choosing any one. Although physical therapists don’t require any board certification in clinics, it will improve your skills and education regarding the medical fields. Here are some common physical therapy certifications in which you can apply for your certificates i.e Cardiovascular and pulmonary therapy, Pediatrics, Neurology, Sports, Orthopedics, Geriatrics, Women’s health, Clinical electrophysiology.

Qualities Of Being A Good Physical Therapist -

  • Qualities Of Being A Good Physical Therapist: Being a good therapist is not a difficult task but it requires a lot of compassion. A therapist should be friendly and compassionate enough with strong communication skills to deal with all kinds of patients. Many of your patients have been witnessing poor mental and physical health due to their injuries so they would require a lot of your empathy and emotional support during their healing process. A therapist must be patient enough to deal with such injuries that require a good long time for healing.

Have Dexterity -

  • Have Dexterity: A physical therapist must have strong manual dexterity. As most of his work will be performed by his hands. He should have strong arms to apply pressure on patients’ limbs or to lift them up with his hands. For this purpose a physical therapist must practice some physical exercises and should perform other activities for improving his manual dexterity like writing and using a stress ball for maintaining strength of hand muscles. 

Have Strong People Skills -

  • Have Strong People Skills: A physical therapist must be “a people person”. He doesn’t only require good communication skills and empathy towards his patients but he must be comfortable and confident enough to deal with patients’ queries and help them to deal with all their mental and physical traumas in the most appropriate manner.

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