6 Steps for How to Become a Physical Therapist | USAHS

physical therapist helping a patientphysical therapist helping a patient
physical therapists help injured and ill patients manage their trouble, improve their roll of apparent motion, and get back to functioning at their highest electric potential .
Joining this rewarding career requires years of education, domination of a variety of skills, and both national and department of state licensure. To help you get started on your way to becoming a license physical therapist, we outline six steps, plus other requirements to think about .
Table of Contents

Physical Therapy Education

how to become a physical therapisthow to become a physical therapist
Whether you ’ re presently in senior high school school or college, choosing a alumnus school that offers a full-bodied DPT academic degree will be an crucial step along your journey to becoming a practitioner .

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in a Related Field

typically, students will need to earn a bachelor ’ s degree in a field related to health science, exercise, and/or sports. For some graduate programs, students may besides be required to complete specific prerequisites, such as courses in physics, kinesiology, biology, chemistry, physiology, and anatomy .
Research the prerequisites of the doctoral degree programs you are interest in and be indisputable to take the classes you need .

Step 2: Complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

following, students must enroll in and complete an accredit doctor of Physical Therapy ( DPT ) program. DPT degree programs begin with didactic courses in pathophysiology, imagination, biomechanics, anatomy, and more. During the second year of the program, students complete their white coat ceremony and enter the clinic for hands-on rotations supervised by a clinical teacher .
More innovative schools may besides include a pretense component. For case, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences ( USAHS ) —the largest platinum educate in the United States 1 —features a state-of-the-art pretense center on each of its five campuses. There, DPT students have the luck to practice clinical interactions with mock patients before they enter the clinic .
Some calibrate schools besides offer advanced scheduling options. USAHS offers its DPT program in two formats :

  • Residential DPT: This format blends online coursework with in-person clinical labs on weekdays. It typically takes less than three years to complete.
  • Flex DPT: This format blends online coursework with in-person clinical labs on select weekends each month. Designed for working students, it typically takes four years to complete.

Learn More About Our DPT Programs

Physical Therapy Requirements

After you obtain your doctoral degree, you must become licensed in the state where you will commit .
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Step 3: Pass the NPTE

In order to become a license forcible therapist, you must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination ( NPTE ), which is given by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy ( FSBPT ). The computer-administered examination consists of 250 multiple-choice questions split into five sections. It is scored on a scale of 200–800 ; scoring a 600 or above is considered passing. The NPTE is offered four times each year : in January, April, July, and October. The FSBPT allows candidates to take it up to three times in one year. In 2019, 91 % of first-time candidates who were graduates of
U.S.–accredited PT programs passed the NPTE .

Step 4: Obtain a License to Practice

Licensure looks unlike within each state of matter. Most states require practitioners not only to pass the NPTE but besides to fulfill extra criteria, such as conformity train, backdrop checks, etc. To maintain licensure, physical therapists must meet continuing education requirements every two years in most states. Continuing education courses keep physical therapists current with the health professions ’ standards and trends .
Check with your department of state circuit board to learn about your license requirements.

After Graduation for Physical Therapists

once you ’ ve become a license physical therapist, you may consider furthering your exercise with a residency or company program. Or, you can get board-certified with a peculiarity focus .
how to become a physical therapisthow to become a physical therapist

Step 5: Complete a Residency Program (optional)

A clinical residency is a post-graduate program that includes extra train, coursework, and clinical experiences. A residency is a dependable way to begin specializing in your area of greatest interest. physical therapy fellowship programs are besides available .

Step 6: Earn Board Certification (optional)

After becoming licensed and gaining work experience in the field, physical therapists have the opportunity to become board-certified clinical specialists through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties ( ABPTS ) .
There are ten specialization areas of physical therapy : cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Sports, Wound Management, and Women ’ s Health .
In arrange to become board-certified, applicants must at a minimum pass the National Physical Therapy examination and complete an american Physical Therapy Association-accredited residency program, or at least 2,000 hours of clinical experience. extra requirements may apply depending on the peculiarity area .

Launching Your Physical Therapy Career

physical therapy is a rewarding career path—you ’ ll have the opportunity to change people ’ s lives for the better using traditional methods and some non-traditional treatments like cupping therapy. hera are some other aspects to consider as you prepare to launch your career .

Which Qualities Should a Physical Therapist Cultivate?

Qualities that will help you in your PT career include compassion, communication skills, attention to detail, dexterity, physical stamen, creative think, and the ability to manage clock wisely .

Where Do Physical Therapists Work?

The physical therapy profession will require you to work across many unlike settings with a variety show of affected role ages and issues, so you will have a wealth of options and opportunities when beginning your physical therapy practice .
forcible therapy settings include :

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Sports training and fitness centers
  • Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
  • Nursing and extended care facilities
  • Patient homes
  • Schools and education centers
  • Virtually

If you have a taste for independence and entrepreneurship, you can choose to start your own private practice. alternatively, you could pursue a role in healthcare leadership or join an existing position with other physical and occupational therapists .

How Long Does It Take to Become a Physical Therapist?

Becoming a physical therapist can take anywhere from three to eight years. Before you can enroll in a Doctor of Physical Therapy academic degree platform or DPT program, you must first earn a knight bachelor ’ s degree from an accredit institution, ideally with a major in health skill. A bachelor ’ s degree typically takes three to four years to complete for full-time students. then you will need to enroll in a Doctor of Physical Therapy or DPT program, which will take about three to four years to complete .

How Much Do Physical Therapists Make?

The median wage for a forcible therapist was $ 89,440 in 2019. however, salaries vary widely based on the status, setting, have flat, education level, and geographic placement.

At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, we offer an respect doctor of physical Therapy program that challenges students to be versatile, empathic, and well-skilled practitioners. Our DPT students learn to assess patients, create treatment plans, and use hands-on therapy techniques in real-world simulations .
The largest platinum school in the United States, * the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences ( USAHS ) offers a hands-on Doctor of Physical Therapy ( DPT ) degree. Join a collaborative cohort of peers who learn under the mentorship of expert faculty-practitioners. Practice with mock and real patients in our state-of-the-art simulation centers and learn human body with our high-tech tools. Prepare for clinical rehearse with a wide stove of patients, equally well as for promote roles in research, practice leadership, and policymaking. Residential ( on-line coursework + in-person lab on weekdays ) and Flex ( on-line coursework + in-person lab on weekends ) formats are available .
* Based on total DPT degrees conferred, as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ( IPEDS ). Data is captured by IPEDS through interrelated surveys conducted per annum by the U.S. Department of Education ’ s National Center for Education Statistics ( NCES ). hypertext transfer protocol : //nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

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