One of the specializations in the field of physical therapy is working with the musculoskeletal system. This type of therapy is called orthopedic physical therapy and is handled by a professional orthopedic physical therapist. The orthopedic physical therapist examines and treats the patients when they suffer from ligament, bones, nerves, tendons and muscle problems. They can prescribe medication as well as use medical techniques to relieve pain and treat the problem.
If you are thinking of becoming a physical therapist that specializes in orthopedic physical therapy, here are the steps you should follow:
- Get Your Bachelor’s Degree- The first step is to complete a bachelor’s degree. You can major in biology, anatomy and physics. A bachelor’s degree is required for you to be able to apply for a master’s degree program. During your undergraduate study, you can use your free time to do volunteer work in rehabilitation centers, clinics and hospitals. Aside from the required internship hours, doing volunteer work will help you experience what it is to be an orthopedic physical therapist.
- Get Your Master’s Degree-The minimum required education to become an orthopedic physical therapist is a master’s degree. This is where you will truly learn about physical therapy. Coursework will include cellular histology, pharmacology, radiology, neuroscience, anatomy, behavioral science and many more. There will be a combination of classroom work, laboratory work and clinical work.
- Get A Doctorate Degree- Many orthopedic physical therapists choose to pursue a doctorate degree to broaden their knowledge and skills. With an extra level of education in orthopedic physical therapy, the physical therapists undergo more training.
- Get A State License- After getting your degrees, it is time to earn your state license. All orthopedic physical therapists are required to get a license before practicing. They will take the National Physical Therapy Examination. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy issues the license. The requirement to take this exam is the completion of an accredited orthopedic physical therapy program. Continuing education is required to retain the license.
- Get A Professional Specialist Certification- Orthopedic physical therapists can get their professional specialist certification with the American Physical Therapy Association. This certification is a formal recognition that the orthopedic physical therapist is well trained and is a professional. Requirements needed are a state license and completion of 2,000 hours of orthopedic physical therapy work.
Getting an orthopedic physical therapy degree can be done online if you prefer. The average annual wage of an orthopedic physical therapist is $89,000. Compensation ranges from $35,000 to $10,000. Most of the jobs are full-time.