Physical Therapists are health workers who assist patients with illnesses and other injuries to help rehabilitate them back. They help improve their movement and manage their activities. Mostly the demand of physical therapy treatments comes from the aging baby boomers and those patients with chronic conditions. Because of this, there is seen to be an increase of demand for this profession in the next 10 years. Like any other medical profession, there is a list of requirements one must complete in order to become a physical therapist or PT.
As a rule, those who intend to become a PT need to have a doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. This is required by all states to have a license to practice. Initially, Physical therapists must carry a bachelor’s degree consisting of other pre-requisites like anatomy, biology, physiology, and chemistry, before being admitted a postgraduate professional degree.
Most university programs in Physical Therapy normally award degree in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), which consistently last for 3 years. A few other schools award a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) requiring 2 to 3 years of study.
Courses such as biomechanics, neuroscience, and pharmacology are among the courses included in Physical Therapy programs offered in schools. Another requirement needed by PT students is clinical rotations, which provide them with supervised work experience and proper training in acute and orthopedic care.
After graduation, Physical Therapists may apply for complete residency programs in hospitals and facilities. This allows new doors to open for additional experience and advanced training in other areas of care. Residency programs could last from a minimum of 9 months to 3 years of specialty training.
License to practice is required by all states. Although each state may have different requirements, all include passing a state-administered exam. One of such exams is the National Physical Therapy Examination. Continuing education is also mandated by certain states for physical therapists in order to keep their license. Then Physical Therapists may also proceed to specialize in clinical areas like Cardiovascular and pulmonary to help individuals with cardiopulmonary disorders and those patients who have gone through cardiovascular or pulmonary surgery, Clinical electrophysiology, which goes around electrotherapy or physical agents. They can also specialize in Pediatrics, Geriatric, Orthopedic, Neurological, Integumentary, which is treatment of skin conditions and related organs and even Sports physical therapy for athletic injury management. To do so, they need to pass exams to be board certified in the clinical specialty of their choice.