When a person has suffered an injury that results in them not being able to move about as much as they used to before without much pain, who do you think they call? They call a physical therapist of course. That’s hardly surprising since these medical professionals are the people who can help people with such issues get their mobility back and ease the pain that they’re suffering from.
Because people tend to suffer from accidents and the like, injuries to the body are going up. As a result, more and more physical therapists are in demand. This has created a market for these types of practitioners that more and more people are going into this field than ever before.
If you are really interested in joining the field and becoming a physical therapist then the first thing you may want to do is visit the American Physical Therapy Association website. This organization is the one that oversees physical therapists and is the place to find information as to what is required in order to become one.
Basically, there are three things you need to do in order to become a physical therapist – get an undergraduate degree, get a masters or doctors degree and then pass a licensing exam. Do all these and you may very well be on your way to becoming a therapist.
The undergraduate degree is required before you are accepted to the graduate program. Any 4 year major is accepted although it is advisable to get one that is a Bachelors of Science degree. That’s because when you get up to the graduate level they do require pre-requisites such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics and psychology.
Once you get to the graduate level you have two paths to choose from (at least for the moment). One is to get a Master’s of Physical Therapy and the other is to get a Doctor of Physical Therapy. The master’s degree is the minimum requirement in order to take the licensing exam. That said, the American Physical Therapy Association is pushing for the doctoral program as the only graduate degree requirement in the near future so do keep that in mind.
Once you have graduated your next step is to study for and then take the National Physical Therapy Examination or NPTE. Most states require you to pass this exam. Other states may even require you to take their own state licensing exam on top of this one so depending on where you want to practice you may want to check out the licensing requirement.
In order to enhance your record as a potential physical therapists you may want to take in as much volunteer work and further training in your chosen field. It also helps if you have a high grade point average and pass the licensing exam convincingly. There’s a reason for this; since physical therapy is a tough and competitive field if two people are vying for the same position the one with the better scores will more likely be chosen.
Deborah Koval has undergone all that.