Physical therapy is very important in sports. It helps the athletes maintain their fitness level as well as help in the prevention of injuries. If you are someone who wants to work with sports athletes directly, you can specialize in sports physical therapy.
In an athlete’s life, their bodies are their main investments. Their bodies should be completely healthy and fit. When an injury occurs, an athlete’s training is delayed to give way for rehabilitation. No athlete wishes to be injured. So, how can you become a sports physical therapist?
- The first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can major in health science, pre-physical therapy, biology or athletic training. Through your undergraduate study, you will need to take courses on biology, physiology chemistry and physics. Your bachelor’s degree program should prepare you for a graduate degree program in sports physical therapy. There are accelerated degree programs as well as combination degree programs.
- After earning your bachelor’s degree, you should gain some work experience. You can do some volunteer work for a sports team. It will be a requirement for applying in a master’s degree program. Spend time in different work settings so you can gain experience. You can work in nursing homes, clinics and hospitals. During this time, you may also want to enter a sports therapy clinic.
- The next step is to earn your graduate degree, which can be a master’s degree and a doctorate degree. Look for a school that offers a sports physical therapy residency because you will need this when getting a certification. Study in a school accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association.
- The last step is to get your state license. You can only become a fully pledged sports physical therapist once you get your license. All you need is a degree from an accredited sports physical therapy degree program and a passing score on the National Physical Therapy examination. Moreover, continuing education is required to retain your license.
When you become a licensed sports physical therapist, you can work with athletes and sports teams. The average salary of a sports physical therapist is around $74,000 but this can still increase due to the location of job, employer and work experience. Entry-level sports therapist jobs have a starting salary of $51,900. Those with years of experience can earn up to $82,700. Sports physical therapists that work for major sporting team in the NBA or NFL can earn six-figure salaries. In addition, there will be a 27% employment growth for sports physical therapists due to the growth of the sports industry where high profile and expensive athletes should always be in pristine condition.