How to Become a Physical Therapist

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As a Physical Therapist (PT), you’ll be a crucial part of the healthcare community, working hand-in-hand with patients to restore their mobility following an injury or illness. This dynamic role offers a wealth of opportunities across various settings, from hospitals and universities to rehabilitation centers and clinics, and even the possibility of establishing your own private practice.

If this sounds like your dream career, it’s time to explore the path to becoming a Physical Therapist. What educational requirements are there, and what skills will you need to hone? Allow us at Advanced eClinical to illuminate your journey toward becoming a Physical Therapist.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

A physical therapist goes to school to become an expert in human movement. The goal is to help patients become as mobile and independent as possible without experiencing much pain. 

In your role as a PT, you can expect to:

  • Assess and evaluate patients to determine their physical challenges, including balance, dexterity, and movement limitations.
  • Do exams and test to measure a range of motion.
  • Create treatment plans that use exercise, hands-on therapy, and patient education to improve mobility. 
  • Create fitness and nutrition plans that support a healthy lifestyle to prevent injury or illness.

The road to becoming a physical therapist can be long but rewarding. 

What Education Is Needed To Become A Physical Therapist?

To become a physical therapist, you will first need to go to graduate school. So the starting point is undergraduate school. You will need to get a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Some options include:

  • Biology
  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise Science
  • Psychology

While any undergraduate degree can serve as a stepping stone toward a career in physical therapy, opting for a degree related to PT or patient behavior can simplify your path. The right undergraduate degree can act as a springboard, setting you up for a seamless transition into physical therapy school.

Next, you will need to apply for an accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. You don’t need a master’s degree for most schools, but it is essential that you research their prerequisites. You may need to take some additional undergraduate classes to qualify. 

Once you graduate with your doctorate, you may have the option to enter a residency program. Although, the residency is typically optional.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Physical Therapist? 

The journey to becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a commitment of approximately seven to eight years, depending on the specifics of your chosen graduate program. Many institutions offer the flexibility of a residential or flex program to cater to your unique needs and circumstances.

Opting for a residential DPT program integrates online coursework with in-person clinical labs, which are held every weekend. This comprehensive approach allows you to graduate in a span of three years.

Alternatively, a flex DPT program harmoniously blends online coursework with in-person clinical labs that are conducted every other weekend. This format extends the program by an additional year, making it a four-year commitment. The flex program is designed with working students in mind, such as those who may already be in the field with a physical therapy technician certification.

Get Started Today!

The physical therapy technician certification (PTTC)  program at Advanced eClinical Training is designed for pre-health students looking to enter graduate school. This self-paced, online medical certification program, designed specifically for pre-health students, can be completed in a mere eight weeks.

On the completion of this cost-effective program, you’ll become eligible to take the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) national exam for Certified Physical Therapy Technician. That will put you in the heart of the PT field, working directly with patients. 

As a PTTC, you’ll be instrumental in assisting patients with therapeutic exercises and mobility. You’ll be involved in safely moving and positioning patients, administering medications, and assisting with minor procedures.

The PTTC role can serve as a springboard for your entry into graduate school. It equips you with the necessary patient care experience hours and demonstrates to the interviewers at the school your commitment to earning your doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Enrolling in the physical therapy technician program at Advanced eClinical Training is a budget-friendly way to start working in the field while you continue your education. 

Enroll now and begin your career as a PTTC. Also, check out the other medical certifications available from Advanced eClinical Training.

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