What Education is Needed to be a Physical Therapist?

Considering a career in physical therapy? Learn about the education and training required to become a licensed PT.

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The Basics

Becoming a physical therapist (PT) requires completing a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program. PTs are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals with medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy (PT) is a type of rehabilitation that helps people regain movement and function after an injury or illness. PT can help you return to your everyday activities, whether that’s going for a walk, playing with your grandchildren, or even running a marathon.

PT begins with an evaluation, during which your physical therapist will ask you questions about your medical history and symptoms. They will also observe how you move and perform certain tasks. This information will help them create a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

Treatment may involve exercises, stretches, manual therapies (such as massage), and the use of equipment such as heat and cold packs, electrical stimulation, and traction. Your PT may also teach you how to use assistive devices such as canes and walkers, and how to modify your home or workplace to better suit your needs.

Most people see the greatest improvement within the first few weeks of treatment, but it is important to continue PT until you have reached your maximum level of recovery. Your physical therapist will work with you to determine when that is.

What does a physical therapist do?

Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.

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The Education

In order to become a physical therapist you need to have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. But before you can even apply to a DPT program, you will need to have completed a bachelor’s degree, and most likely a few prerequisite classes. The bachelor’s degree does not have to be in a specific field, but you will need to have completed all of the necessary prerequisite classes.

What kind of education is needed to be a physical therapist?

A physical therapist (PT) is a health care professional who provides services to individuals and communities to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement, function and well-being.

In order to become a physical therapist, one must first complete an accredited physical therapy education program. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredits physical therapy education programs at the entry-levelDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT).

In order to be eligible for admission into a CAPTE-accredited physical therapy program, an individual must first complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Although there are no specific undergraduate majors required for admission into a DPT or tDPT program, most individuals apply with a bachelor’s degree in science or health sciences.

Once an individual has completed a CAPTE-accredited physical therapy program, they must then pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in order to become licensed as a physical therapist. After successfully passing the NPTE, physical therapists are required to complete continuing education credits on an ongoing basis in order to maintain their licensure.

What are the prerequisites for physical therapy school?

There are a few different paths you can take to become a physical therapist. You can either earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, or a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree. You can also complete a physical therapy residency or fellowship program.

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The most common path to becoming a physical therapist is to earn a DPT degree from an accredited physical therapy program. To be eligible for admission into a DPT program, you will need to complete certain prerequisite coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, and math. You will also need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Once you have completed your DPT degree, you will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) in order to obtain your physical therapy license.

How long does it take to complete a physical therapy program?

Most physical therapy programs take 3 years to complete, however, some are shorter and some are longer. The length of time it takes to complete a physical therapy program depends on the type of program you choose and the requirements of your state.

The Certification

Becoming a physical therapist requires completing a post-baccalaureate degree in physical therapy from an accredited institution and passing the National Physical Therapy Examination to earn state licensure. Some states have additional requirements, such as passing a jurisprudence exam.

What is the process for becoming a certified physical therapist?

In order to become a certified physical therapist, you will need to complete an accredited physical therapy program and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). You will also need to obtain a license from the state in which you intend to practice.

What are the different types of physical therapy certification?

There are four major types of physical therapy certifications in the United States. They are as follows:

– Licensed Physical Therapist (LPT): This type of certification is granted by state licensure boards. In order to qualify for this type of certification, one must graduate from an accredited physical therapy program and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE).

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– Registered Physical Therapist (RPT): This type of certification is granted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). In order to qualify for this type, one must graduate from an accredited physical therapy program and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE).

– Certified Physical Therapist (CPT): This type of certification is granted by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). In order to qualify for this type, one must have a minimum of two years professional experience and pass the ABPTS Examination for Certification in Physical Therapy.

– Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy (OCS): This type of certification is granted by the American Board ofPhysical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). In order to qualify for this type, one must have a minimumof two years professional experience, successfully complete a post-professional clinical residency or fellowship in orthopedic physical therapy, and pass the ABPTS Examination for Certification in Orthopedic Physical Therapy.

What are the benefits of becoming a certified physical therapist?

There are many benefits to becoming a certified physical therapist. Certification ensures that physical therapists have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high-quality care. In addition, certified physical therapists are often “grandfathered” into new insurance plans and are therefore able to provide care to a wider range of patients. Finally, certification often leads to higher wages and job satisfaction.

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