Having a profession in the Health Care industry is a wise investment. When the economy is poor, the need for health care professionals rarely wavers. As a matter of fact, the forecast for the future of most health care positions is to grow in demand.
If you are thinking of becoming a physical therapist, you will be investing in your future, but be prepared to study hard. All physical therapists in North America require a license to practise and depending on whether you are studying for a masters or a doctoral degree, you will be spending 2 to 3 years in school after you earn a bachelors degree.
If you are interested in learning how to become a physical therapist, there a certain steps you need to follow. Of course to begin with you need to have certain qualifications vital to the profession. Compassion and a genuine desire to help people in need are important and often the driving forces behind many persons’ choices in any health care profession. You need the ability to observe, analyze and assess a client’s physical condition and to formulate an effective and safe treatment plan. Attention to detail is a must. Strong interpersonal skills are vital in order to communicate with your client to obtain the information you need and to listen to concerns. There is also the physical aspect to the job which is important. Many of the therapies require dexterity in the hands and also that you be on your feet for much of the day.
If you want to become a physical therapist it will definitely take some preplanning as there are certain requirements to get into the Physical Therapy program. There are 2 types of degrees, the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and the Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree. Most programs award the doctorate degree which is a 3 year program, however there are a small number which award the Masters degree, usually 2 to 3 years. In order to enter either of these programs you will require a Bachelor’s degree with prerequisite programs such as anatomy, biology, physiology and chemistry.
Once you have qualified and have entered into one of these programs you will be studying subjects such as anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, neuroscience and pharmacology, to name a few. You will also be doing supervised clinical rotations in order to gain experience in different aspects of physical therapy such as orthopaedic and acute care.
If you are interested in furthering your work experience, education or specializing, you can apply for post graduate residencies which can last anywhere from 9 months to two years. When you are finished your doctorate or masters program, you will be required to write and pass a National Physical Therapy Examination or similar depending on where you want to work. Each state sets its own licensing requirement standards.
Once you are licensed, the education process does not stop there. Many states require continued education as a requirement of maintaining your license. You may decide also after you have worked for a few years to specialize, which requires board certification in your area of specialty. You will have to pass an exam to become board certified.
If you are searching for more information on how to become a physical therapist or other statistics relevant to this job, you can find it at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are wondering how much does a physical therapist make we have another post that covers this topic. As far as actual information on physical therapy, the wikipedia page on the topic might be of use to you!