Everything You Need To Become A Physical Therapist
Are you thinking about what career path you should take? Do you want to change careers? You should become a physical therapist.
This is a rewarding career. You can treat patients who suffer from pain due to injury or illness.
You’ll have a job if you decide to pursue this career. Employment in this field should grow 21% from now to 2030. There are so many reasons to become a physical therapist.
Want to learn how to become a physical therapist? Read on to learn everything you must do to become one.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
The first step is to get the right type of education. It can be a long journey, but if you know what education to get, you can keep yourself on track.
It starts with a bachelor’s degree. You should know that there isn’t a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. There’s no such thing.
Most physical therapists start with a bachelor’s degree in a field related to health science. Some might have a degree in other areas, but it’s best to seek one in this area.
Some universities offer a pre-physical therapy program or track. Students who follow such a path will take courses that serve as prerequisites. Physical therapy doctoral programs look for students who have taken specific courses.
You’ll need to take certain courses. These include biology, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry.
There are courses in other disciplines that you should also take. Consider taking courses in the behavioral sciences like psychology. You should also consider taking an ethics and communication course.
It’s a good idea to research the classes you need for a doctoral degree program. This way you know what classes to take.
Complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree
After earning a bachelor’s degree, you must turn your attention to the doctoral degree. You must then focus on earning a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.
You’ll need to enroll in an accredited DPT program. A degree in this program usually takes three years to complete.
This program has two parts. Students first take didactic courses. Then, students will focus on clinical education.
The didactic courses include classes in anatomy and medical imaging. You can also expect to take courses in therapeutic modalities and rehabilitation.
Clinical education focuses on applying knowledge in the field. You’ll engage in practical and professional activities.
Your program will assign a clinical instructor to supervise you. You must touch bases with your clinical instructor as you complete your rotations.
Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination
After earning a DPT degree, it’s time to sit for the national exam. You’ll have to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
You must focus on meeting eligibility criteria to sit for it. You want to be sure that you have everything in order before you apply for the NPTE. The exam is only offered four times a year.
The exam assesses entry-level competence for careers in physical therapy. It consists of 250 multiple-choice questions. The exam is broken down into five sections.
You’ll have five hours to complete it. The scoring scale is 200-800. A score of at least 600 is a passing one.
Seems like a lot of pressure, right? It can be, but if you prepare for it, you have a greater chance of passing.
There are steps you can take to prepare for the NPTE. You can take practice tests. It’s a great way to get a feel of the exam.
Licensure and Certification
Once you pass the NPTE, you can pursue licensure. The criteria for licensure vary by state. Do make sure to learn what the licensure criteria are in your state.
You can seek to earn a certificate. You can become board-certified. You have to take an exam to become board-certified.
There are several areas you can become board-certified in. The areas include geriatrics, pediatrics, and women’s health.
This is a great way to demonstrate expertise in a niche aspect of physical therapy. Your patients and colleagues will know you’re the best of the best.
Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant
Becoming a physical therapist takes hard work. If you want to work in this field, but can’t meet the criteria to become one, there’s another option to consider.
You can become a physical therapist assistant or PTA. A PTA provides physical therapy services under a physical therapist.
A PTA focuses on implementing components of patient care. It’s an important job. A PTA and physical therapist work together to meet the patient’s needs.
If you want to become a PTA, you’ll have to take a version of the NPTE. It’s called the NPTE PTA.
It’s important to prepare for the NPTE PTA. You can retake it if you don’t pass, but your goal should be to pass it on your first try.
You can prepare for it, by taking NPTE PTA practice questions. Click the link to learn more about the NPTE PTA practice questions.
You Can Become a Physical Therapist by Following This Guide
There are so many reasons why you should seek to become a physical therapist. It’s a rewarding career as you get to improve people’s quality of life.
If you want to become a physical therapist, you should follow this guide. You’ll need to earn a DPT degree, get your license to practice, and certification. Once you have all of this, you can start caring for patients.
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