How to Become a Physical Therapist

By | December 29, 2023

A physical therapist takes on an important job. They work to help their patients lead lives that are both healthy and active. Men and women taking on this role remain in high demand today. Anyone looking to take on this role, however, must complete certain educational requirements.

Undergraduate Courses

A person wishing to become a physical therapist will need to begin preparing for this role while they are in college. Courses a person might take while obtaining their bachelor’s degree should cover areas such as biology, anatomy, physiology, and statistics. Doing so helps prepare them for the coursework they will encounter while taking part in a physical therapy graduate program. However, these are only some of the schooling pre-requisites for physical therapists.

Graduate Studies

Any person wishing to serve as a physical therapist in the United States must pursue a doctor of physical therapy degree. They obtain this degree through a program overseen by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. However, this is only the first step of the process.

Getting into an accredited program isn’t easy. The person must have a bachelor’s degree or enroll in a three-plus-three curriculum format. With this program, the student spends three years taking preprofessional courses before moving on to the three-year professional doctor of physical therapy program.

While taking classes, the student learns about several content areas. Biology and anatomy are standard, and the student completes coursework in biomechanics, pathology, physiology, ethics, and more. Most of the student’s time is spent in the classroom. Approximately 20 percent of the program is reserved for clinical education, so the student gets hands-on experience.

Finding the Right Physical Therapy Program

Any program a student is looking at should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. This designation ensures the program meets all requirements and is of high quality. However, how can a student know which accredited program best meets their needs? Several factors come into play when making this decision.

Fees and Financial Aid

Becoming a physical therapist comes with a price tag. In fact, most students find they must secure student loans to complete the program. Compare tuition and financial aid options at several schools to find the one that works best for your situation.

Program Length

Most doctor of physical therapy programs take three years to complete. However, certain programs can be finished in less time. A student may wish to consider one of these programs to reduce the overall cost and allow them to begin making money sooner.

Program Culture

Programs vary in terms of their culture. As the student will be spending an extended period completing the training, it is important to find a program they feel comfortable with. Learn about the program’s strengths and weaknesses, and spend some time on the campus to make certain it is a good fit.

Becoming Licensed

Completion of the program is only part of the process. The student must also successfully pass a licensure exam. The National Physical Therapy Exam is overseen by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Once a physical therapist becomes licensed, they may choose to enter a residency or fellowship program. Many students choose to take part in a residency program before moving on to a fellowship. The student may also wish to become a board-certified specialist. However, this is not necessary to practice as a physical therapist. With many options available to those who pursue a career as a physical therapist, finding the right combination has never been easier. Learn more today about this rewarding career and all it has to offer.


Category: How To

About Joanna Tan

Joanna Tan is the Senior Editor at VOIVO Infotech. She looks after the editing work of the blog. She has previously worked in National Newspaper in Abu Dhabi. She has worked with various popular agencies globally. To get in touch with Joanna for news reports you can email her on or reach her out on social media links given below.

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