How To Become A Physical Therapist

How to Become a Physical Therapist in the U.S.

Are you wondering how to become a physical therapist or PT for short? This may be the initial step to a very rewarding career, which has a great job outlook and room for growth. Physical therapist jobs include career options ranging from private to self- employment. Here is everything that you’d need to know how to become a physical therapist.

Do you consider yourself a person who would like to help those who are stricken with a disease or a disability? If so, you’ll be able to work in the realm of a physical therapist. Here are some quick tips and basic things you’ll need to know if you want to learn how to become a physical therapist. Also, if you’d want to cure mental struggle along with physical, you can also try becoming a psychiatrist in the US. Both fields carry equal value and status. Continue reading for a physical therapist for now. 

What is Physical Therapy?

A physical therapist is a person who administers physical therapy to those who need it and to those who want it. In standard terms, Physical Therapy is a kind of rehabilitation therapy for people who suffered injuries due to accidents or immobility. They also cure people who suffer from musculoskeletal problems. Only a tiny percentage of individuals have the right knowledge of what physical therapy is. While some people haven’t even heard the term “Physical Therapy.”

So, before getting any further with how to become a physical therapist, lets’s first know what it stands for. Physical therapy engages the method of maneuvering different body parts to minimize pain, improve movement and function, and improve the body’s strength, which will help people live a quality life. Physical therapy also helps those who want to prevent injuries from happening due to carrying heavyweight objects or the sudden movement of a body part, or those who want to stay physically fit.

Who is a Physical Therapist?

A physical therapist (PT) is a highly qualified and trained professional who is licensed to practice physical therapy, helping those individuals keep their goals of a healthy and fit life. This is why many people who are aware of physical therapists consider them to be physicians because they cure people of their illnesses and injuries and help those from future injuries.

What are the Duties of a Physical Therapist?

A physical therapist will do a complete examination of the muscular, skeletal, neurological, pulmonary, cardiovascular, and lymphatic in your body. Regardless if you have an injury or an illness or not, they still examine you as per the need. Once they complete the examination process, they will sit down with you and chalk out a plan that will help you live longer and healthier.

A physical therapist also educates you on the most critical aspects of your health so that you mainly focus on those areas which will show results of good health and physically active. Furthermore, this saves you a lot of your time because the areas that you are supposed to focus on are the key areas which will overall help the whole body. Sometimes we do exercises on areas that don’t need attention. For example, you have a neck problem or want to increase your neck strength; what will you do? You will work out the full upper body just because you want to focus on your neck; chances are you might gain some strength on your neck, but you might injure another part of your body.

That is why a physical therapist instead will help by giving you a program that will focus mainly on increasing your neck strength rather than wasting time on other parts and injuring it further. Another example would be, if you have arthritis, a physical therapist will develop a plan to treat the area where arthritis has struck.

The most important aspect of a physical therapist’s therapy is to help you have control over your body without the need of drugs or medicines. Therefore, physical therapy is not just about rehabilitation but is much more than that. It will give you overall good health and a long healthy life.

Responsibilities and Duties Of the PT

A licensed physical therapist is a health-care expert who assists people with injuries. The main disorders are to be able to prevent physical problems or restore the patient’s life. Several of PT’s key duties are:

– Helping restore a patient’s function

– Evaluating a competent program for patients and recording their progress

– Stopping someone from permanent disability

– Reducing pain and discomfort after injuries or illness

– Getting together with patients’ families to educate them about their treatment

– Supplying heat, ultrasound, and massages to be able to increase circulation

– Supplying intervention programs

– Educating patients as well as their families about self-care methods

Educational Qualifications to Become a PT

The level of degree and schooling needed on how to become a physical therapist varies based on job goals. If you want to become a physical therapy assistant, get an Associate’s degree program done. This is a great way to start your career in as little as two years. 

But, if you want to become a PT or physical therapist, then you would need to go on to graduate school. You will need a master’s degree from a certified program along with a local state license, etc.

Many schools offer a doctorate of physical rehabilitation (DPT), made mandatory by many. The doctorate program is three years of graduate school in comparison with 2 yrs for masters. Once you have your license, you need to take part in ongoing education courses to help keep it. If you think education is too much, consider becoming a physical therapist assistant. Most students choose to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy. This is a golden avenue as it opens various other job options.

The field of physical rehabilitation is competitive, so one must score a GPA higher than the passing score. The training during these degree programs includes main science subjects. One must do an internship, get excellent grades, and polish social abilities. The aspirants have to cope with patients under stress, besides standing the interviews.

It’s also wise to decide in early stages that help you gain abilities for a reason in that area. The main ones include neurology, pediatric medicine, or sports medicine, etc.

Mandatory Licensure to Be a Physical Therapist

Upon graduation, you will have to pass the required licensure exam, then seek work. Every state includes certification needed for physical therapists. Also, all states must PT’s and PTA’s to pass through a national and condition licensure exam. The state offers a computer-based exam by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). TheNational Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) tests and rated through the FSBPT. The score post then travels to your state’s licensing authority.

For more info on how to become a physical therapist in Us, you can consult an employer as a working PT or PTA in your area. Most of these men and women would be happy to talk to you about the profession and steer you in the right direction. Who knows, you may be working alongside them in the future.

Main Physical Therapist Degrees

The degree required to become a good physical therapist depends on career goals. Several technical school programs have close-ties with the physical therapy courses. These are special courses that will prepare you for technical jobs. Still, if we need to become a good physical therapy assistant, one must have a bachelor’s degree.

Most of us choose to complete a master’s degree course in physical therapy. Coursework included in this physical therapy program includes physics, chemistry, biology, etc.

What is the Approach of a Physical Therapist 

Physical therapy is a competitive field, so it is wise to do hard work rather than passing the time. It is a better idea to finish an internship course to get good grades and to polish interpersonal skills. Thus, we will be able to deal with the patients who are under stress and can excel during our job interviews. We must decide on what area we need to specialize, to gain knowledge, skills, and to practice it.

Areas like neurology, sports, or pediatrics or medical may have certification and degree requirements. So, an aspirant can also look for guide on how to become a pharmacist. The responsibilities and duties of a physical therapist include educating patients. The skills include self-care, providing intervention programs, relieving pain after illness, etc.

What is the Annual Salary of a Physical Therapist?

Upon graduation, one has to clear the mandatory licensure examination. The annual salary for physical therapists w in the United States is $71,181. The standard salary for a physical therapist is approximately between $65,000- $77,000. The therapist’s job will be on high demand until individuals suffer debilitating conditions. Thus, there will be a high need for physical therapy assistants or technicians.

We need to continue our education to continue development in the medical industry. Being a good physical therapist will continue to grow over decades. To get more info on how to become a physical therapist, communicate with higher officials.

Some Physical Therapy Exercises One Must Follow

Physical therapy exercises are often used to increase mobility, restore body, or limb. They may also help save a body part from deteriorating by strengthening and toning the part back. You can use these exercises as well to become fit or as a guide for a further exercise regimen to take.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises involve body parts like the upper and lower limbs, torse. These areas are much prone to muscle strain and deterioration if not maintained or cared for. Injuries and illnesses can make vulnerable areas lose muscle tone and deteriorate them.

Strengthening exercises are exercises made to bring back the strength after an injury. There is the equipment used to bring body strength like weights, slides, and platforms.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises work to tone muscle groups and to strengthen these areas as well. Physical therapists often use stretching exercises to help bring back the tone and the form of muscles used in ambulation. This involves a series of ropes, slides, and mats to help a patient in doing stretching exercises.

Post Operative and Post Injury Exercises

There are also physical therapy exercises involved in the rehabilitation of patients who have had surgery and injury. These exercises involve bringing back the tone and strength of the muscle groups involved. Early ambulation is always the best technique in physical therapy and all patients who have had surgery, injury, etc.

Many techniques, as well as physical therapy exercises, are crucial for the help of a patient recuperating from surgery or illness. Application of hot or cold therapy, the use of TENS, or laser treatments is also used to ease pain and enhance a patient’s functioning.

Rehabilitation Exercises

Many physical therapy exercises are useful in the treatment of rehabilitation. These exercises focus on a particular injured part and must be under the supervision of a physical therapist only. An example of this is a hamstring stretching exercise designed to bring back the strength of a pulled or injured hamstring. This physical therapy exercise includes stretching the injured part and relieving pain.

Performing physical therapy exercises must need adequate training, especially when the rehabilitation of an injured body part is at stake. For if you would like to perform any of these exercises as a recovery regimen from surgery or injury, contact a licensed physical therapist.  Only with adequate skills and knowledge can these exercises be effective in bringing back the function and range of the movement.

The Complete Physical Therapist Training

Physical therapists or PTs are a part of the medical team, and they must seek physical therapist training before employment. They work hand in hand with doctors, surgeons, and medical experts in the rehabilitation of a patient. A physical therapist’s job is to help a person who is suffering from an illness or sickness to improve his condition and increase his mobility.

What is Physical Therapist Training?

Anyone who would like to pursue a career as a physical therapist must undergo professional training. This is a 4 to 5 baccalaureate degree prog from an accredited medical institution or physical therapy program.

In the US, the American Physical Therapy Association has a body for physical therapy training called the Commission on Accreditation of Physical therapy Education. This accrediting body regulates all entry-level programs and helps develop the PT program as well. This is the main need for all aspiring physical therapists to undergo this training course and to pass a national state examination.

What Do You Learn in Physical Therapist Training?

There is a lot in store for a physical therapy student in physical therapist training. The entire program starts with the basic PT education, which consists of an introduction to human anatomy. In the program, the special emphasis lies on the bones, muscles, and the nervous system. It is also essential to study the relationship of these systems to the various organs of the body. Also, one needs knowledge of the physiologic conditions that affect a person’s range of motion. Along with learning the basics, there are also medical subjects that a PT must pass. The main subjects of expertise include biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, neurosciences, and psychology.

Towards the end of the physical therapist training course, students find the clinical setting. Students get patients with specific physical conditions that need a physical therapist’s diagnosis. As a student interacts with patients, their technical and patient interaction skills enhance. Treatment of the many types of disabilities that need a physical therapist’s help is also learned and mastered at this level.

What Happens After Physical Therapist Training?

After passing physical therapist training, you will receive your diploma for the course. But, you need to pass a state board examination for Physical Therapists to practice your profession. This licensure exam is different from state to state, and the requirements may differ as well.

After passing the state licensure exam, you can apply to different medical institutions. You can also apply for jobs since there is a high demand for physical therapists and other medical professionals abroad.

Do I Need to Undergo Further Training After Physical Therapy Training?

Some states need physical therapists to continue education as a part of maintaining their licenses. It is best to check this out through your local regulating board to be aware of the requirements needed. They also provide great information on the best physical therapist training program.

Physical Therapist Job Description

You must know what are physical therapist job descriptions if you would like to succeed in this rewarding profession. As a physical therapist, you will be working side by side with the members of the medical team. Their major learning involves the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses with early rehabilitation. You will be working with patients and patient’s families, and these are some of the many physical therapist job descriptions.

A physical therapist may be a part of different industries. He may work in a hospital setting, in a workplace, in an office, in a specialty clinic, in a nursing home, in a gym or fitness center. These are the basis of the many physical therapist job descriptions.

In the Hospital

This is the ideal job for a physical therapist. A PT is there to support a patient in recovering from an injury, an illness, a congenital disease, and many other physiologic conditions. In a hospital setting, a physical therapist works in the rehabilitation department.

Specialty clinic or fitness center

A specialty clinic is often a small treatment facility with complete rehabilitation for the recovery. The job role in this setting is like a hospital setting, but there may be no other member of the medical team to help the patient out.

Fitness centers and gyms are also places where PTs work. The job description in these places often deals with supervising fitness programs for gym patrons.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes house geriatric patients that may need physical therapy treatment. This job role involves screening for the patient’s mobility problems and the treatment of these illnesses as well. Geriatric patients often have a limited range of motion that may limit their activities as well; they can also get help in limited movement. The treatments carried out are about fitness and strength training exercises.

Physical Therapist Job at Home

Some physiologic conditions may need to treat patients even after their discharge from the hospital. The job role in this setting often involves daily visits that include fitness sessions and training exercises. Postoperative patients have training in managing postoperative pain and encouraging early mobility. Physical therapists may also go with home-based clients to specialty clinics and hospital visits.

Who is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work under the guidance of Physical Therapists (PTs). Physical Therapist Assistants and Physical Therapists work together in clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes. These professionals are part of the healthcare industry that includes physicians, occupational therapists, nurses, etc.

How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant

Roles and Duties

Physical therapist assistants work with all age groups. They help older adults who can’t walk, help a disabled child, work with patients who have either lost a leg or an arm. Also, work with patients with arthritis and paralytic problems. PTAs work with many types of equipment and procedures to help patients move around or to exercise.

They give patients massages on the affected area, perform specific exercises on patients and use ultrasound to generate heat in the affected area, apply a cold pack, give paraffin baths and administer electric stimulation to the affected area.

IIn addition to that, the Physical therapist assistants also educate patients on how to use braces, wheelchairs, and artificial limbs. Also, they teach them how to clean these tools after a long period of usage. Sometimes PTA’s get equipment and patients ready for a physical therapy session with a physical therapist himself.

Educational Qualifications

To become a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), you will need to be a high school diploma holder with science and math as your core subjects. Then, get an Associate of Science degree in Physical therapy after that, which takes two years to complete. As a result, you have to take the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Examination) exam to get a license to practice as a PTA.

Average Annual Salary

A physical therapist assistant earns a starting salary of $35,123 avg per year and can go up to $53,510 per year, after a few years of experience. These figures can differ based on location, experience, and place of work.

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