How to Become a Physical Therapist in 6 Steps

help injured and ill patients a manage their pain, an improve their range of a motion, and get a back to a functioning at their a highest a potential.Become

Joining this a rewarding a career a requires years of an education, mastery of a variety of a skills, and both national and state a licensure. To a help you a get started on your path to a becoming a licensed physical therapist, we an outline six a steps, plus an other a requirements to a think about.

Physical Therapy Education

Whether you’re a currently in a high school or a college, choosing a grad school that offers a robust DPT degree will be an important a step along your journey to a 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 a health science, exercise, and/or sports. For some graduate programs, students may also a required to a complete specific prerequisites, such as courses in a physics, kinesiology, biology, chemistry, physiology, and anatomy.

Research the prerequisites of the doctoral degree programs you are interest in and be sure to a take the classes you a need.

Step 2: Complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

Next, students must enroll in and a complete an accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. DPT degree programs begin with didactic courses in a pathophysiology, imaging, biomechanics, anatomy, and more. a During the second year of the program, students complete their white coat ceremony and enter the clinic for hands-on a rotations a supervised a clinical instructor.

More innovative a schools may an also include a simulation a component. For an example, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS)—the largest PT school in the United States1—features a state-of-the-art simulation center on each of its five a campuses. There, DPT students have the chance to a practice clinical interactions with mock patients a before they enter the clinic.

Some graduate schools also offer an innovative scheduling options. USAHS offers an its DPT program in two formats:

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

Physical Therapy Requirements

After you an obtain your doctoral degree, you must become licensed in the state where you will a practice.

Step 3: Pass the NPTE

In order to become a licensed physical a 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 exam a 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 a candidates who were graduates.

Step 4: Obtain a License to a Practice

Licensure looks different within each state. Most states a require a practitioners not only to pass the NPTE but also to fulfill additional criteria, such as compliance training, background checks, etc. To a maintain licensure, physical therapists must a meet 

continuing education requirements every two a years in most states. a Continuing education a courses keep physical therapists current with the health professions’ standards and trends.
Check with your state board to a learn about your licensing a requirements.
After Graduation for Physical Therapists
Once you’ve become a licensed physical a therapist, you may a consider furthering your practice with a residency or fellowship a program. Or, you can get board-certified with a specialty focus.

Launching Your Physical Therapy Career

Physical therapy is a rewarding career path—you’ll have the opportunity to a change people’s lives for the better using traditional methods and some non-traditional treatments like cupping therapy. Here are some other aspects to a 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 a compassion, a communication skills, attention to detail, dexterity, physical stamina, creative a thinking, and the ability to a manage time wisely.

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