Sports therapists are licensed professionals who are trained to treat injuries in athletes suffering from muscular conditions affecting mobility, the back, posture, and the like. Athletes who have these injuries receive treatment from sports physical therapists in order for them to gain back their normal physical condition and their ability to perform to the fullest. It is also the job of these therapists to give advice and training programs to athletes that focus on injury prevention. If you want to take up a future career as a sports physical therapist, there are certain requirements needed to be fulfilled.
As sports physical therapy is a specialized branch of physical therapy, there is a need to have further education than a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. After the bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, the interested student should also obtain a master’s degree. Intensive training should also be undergone to be prepared for the job as a sports physical therapy. After the education and training is completed, a state licensure exam should be passed to legally work in this position.
To be able to prepare in this endeavor, you can start as early as the high school to volunteer for athletic trainers to be exposed and get experience. Being knowledgeable in the physical sciences such as chemistry, biology, mathematics and the social sciences will help in becoming a sports physical therapist. Aside from these, you can also get familiar with the different sports that need these kinds of services to determine which sports you would want to focus in the future.
Sports physical therapists work in different environments from private to government schools to sports team. Hospitals and rehabilitation centers also have their own sports physical therapists to cater to the different needs of patients that come and go in these medical institutions. Some sports physical therapists that have become experienced in this field go to private practice to focus on one sport that they like to look into and get to know more.
There is no doubt that this specialty of physical therapy is in great demand these days because also of the growing popularity of sports. If you are planning to become a sports therapist, you will need a degree in sports therapy rehabilitation, which is a science based curriculum. This course may need around two years to complete, which is only to become a therapeutic assistant. And to earn a doctorate degree, the training would last at least six years. Here are the things you need to do to become a sports physical therapist.
1. Choose a specific area of expertise. There are various specialty areas for sports therapy. This would include sports massage, training techniques, exercise science, sports psychology as well as kinesiology. Each of these fields has its own prerequisites so you may as well learn more about them before you choose a specific one.
2. Obtain an undergraduate degree. As you can imagine, treating medical problems would require a person to have at least a college degree. Those who want to be a physical therapist would need to get an undergraduate degree in courses such as physics, chemistry, biology or even exercise physiology. In general, the undergraduate programs in sports magazine are provided in conjunction with a kinesiology program or exercise program.
3. Earn an advanced degree in physical therapy. You can find a list of schools in every state offered by the American Physical Therapy Association. These are the schools which offer doctorate degrees in physical therapy. These programs are essential and helpful as they will allow you to treat patients as well as do some clinical work with the assistance of professional therapists.
4. Get accreditation. There are several accrediting organizations that certify professional physical therapies in particular specialty areas that have achieved outstanding amount of work experience and training. Some of the most prominent accrediting organizations for sports therapy are the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine, and also the National Athletic Trainers Association. To be a member, you would need to pass the requirements individually set by these organizations.
Much like any other fields of health care medicine, to become a sports therapist would require you to earn some specific certifications as well as work experience. What you need to keep in mind is that the quality of the PT school you choose will play a major role in your chances of landing the job that you want. With that said, you need to look for the institution that is accredited by a reputable organization, and also one that will give you the training and exposure necessary to be a good sports therapist.
It is essential to note that in order to become a sports physical therapist, you must have good physical condition, have good interpersonal skills and have the patience to deal with various physical conditions that a patient may have. Therefore, if you are into sports and love to care for the athletes in your community then you can be a sports physical therapist. This is one career that you may find satisfying and be of service to others.