Physical Therapist Training
The training to become a physical therapist is somewhat arduous. One must receive a master’s degree or higher to practice after which there is a licensure that one must pass. This is an absolutely necessary practice though as the physical therapist has the capacity to severely hurt someone if they are not trained properly. Specifically given that the physical therapist specializes in repeating specific motions to allow the benefit of the user, if those motions are not executed properly the patient will suffer much more for the practice.
Undergraduates usually pursue many of the same routes that an undergraduate would pursue for a medical degree. Often the undergraduate degrees and courses that provide the best chance to get into physical therapy school include those in the sciences such as biology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, chemistry, social science, physics, and statistics. Also, it is not uncommon for the graduate programs to require some volunteer work on the part of the undergraduate at a local hospital towards some experience in physical therapy.
Once one has received their undergraduate degree, they will still have around of 2.5 years of schooling to complete their masters and, an average of three years to attain their doctorate in physical therapy. The governing body that gives accreditation to graduate schools in physical therapy is called the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), which is controlled by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). If a school is not accredited by the CAPTE, then it is not worth attending as you will not be able to continue on to get your licensure once you have graduated.
Once you have finally received your diploma from graduate school, the tests have only just begun. Every state in the country regulates the practice of physical therapy under their own jurisdiction but all of them require licensure. To attain licensure, one must take the National Physical Therapy Examination as well as any other state required tests. This test is required in conjunction with the accredited graduate degree which will allow you to apply for the state’s licensure. Also, many of the states will require you to maintain continuing education courses to stay licensed within that state. This is why it may be to your benefit to go to school in the state that you also want to practice physical therapy as that school will be most familiar with the requirements for licensure in the state. If you do not want to have to maintain your continuing education to continue to practice physical therapy, it may a good idea to make sure that you research which states require that and then choose to practice in one of the other states.
Once you have your license, you will be legally able to practice physical therapy. The legal requirements are not all that is required to be good at this particular profession though. One should also make sure that they have the communication skills necessary to express the problems that a patient may be experiencing and the sympathy to be able to know just how hard you should really be pushing a particular patient. Physical therapy is a finesse profession that requires both the kindness of someone who understands the pain a person is going through and the firmness to push them to go further than they may be comfortable going themselves. These are skills that are difficult to teach in school.