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How do I become a physical therapist?

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I'm interested in getting into the field. #physical-therapy #education #career #career-counseling

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Danielle’s Answer

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In order to become a Physical Therapist you must complete a Bachelors degree most likely in a medical based major such as Kinesiology, Biology, etc. Make sure that you take all of the appropriate prerequisite courses required by whichever Physical Therapy programs you plan to apply for. These courses include Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Development, Psychology, Statistics, etc. Following the Bachelors degree, you must complete a three year Physical Therapy Doctorate Program. The three years will include a mixture of academic and clinical experiences. Completion of the Doctorate Program means that you can sit for the national licensure exam and once you pass that exam you are a licensed physical therapist that can practice in a variety of settings including orthopedics, pediatrics, geriatrics, etc. It is a long road, but it is worth it!
As well as getting the proper prerequisite courses many schools require hours shadowing a physical therapist, taking the GRE exam, a personal essay or two, as well as recommendation letters from physical therapists and/or professors. This website is a link to PTCAS, http://www.ptcas.org/home.aspx, which is basically the common app for physical therapy schools. The website provides information about each individual school and what they require as well as step by step on how to fill out their application. Also take time to explore the APTA website. Both sites will have useful information, explore them! Jessica Printz BS, LAT, ATC Translate
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Mohamed’s Answer

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Hi,

To practice as a physical therapist in the U.S., you must earn a doctor of physical therapy degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam.

The length of professional DPT programs is typically three years. Primary content areas in the curriculum may include, but are not limited to, biology/anatomy, cellular histology, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, behavioral sciences, communication, ethics/values, management sciences, finance, sociology, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice, cardiovascular and pulmonary, endocrine and metabolic, and musculoskeletal.

Approximately 80% of the DPT curriculum is classroom (didactic) and lab study and the remaining 20% is dedicated to clinical education. PT students spend on average 27.5 weeks in their final clinical experience.

Getting Into a DPT Program
Most DPT programs require applicants to earn a bachelor's degree prior to admission. Other programs offer a 3+3 curricular format in which three years of specific preprofessional (undergraduate/pre-PT) courses must be taken before the student can advance into a three-year professional DPT program.

A few programs offer freshman entry, recruiting students directly from high school into a guaranteed admissions program. High school students accepted into these programs can automatically advance into the professional phase of the DPT program, pending the completion of specific undergraduate courses and any other stated contingencies, e.g., minimum GPA.

The list of programs at PTCAS includes requirements for each programs.


Choosing the Right Program
APTA does not rank DPT education programs. Programs are accredited by CAPTE, which assures quality in physical therapist education. Among the factors you should keep in mind when choosing your program:

Cost and financial aid opportunities. Most DPT students graduate with student loans. Make sure you are financially aware and prepared. Programs offer different student experiences and have different costs.
Program length. The traditional DPT program is three years, but some programs compress academic requirements into a shorter time span, which could help you manage the total cost of your education experience and enter the field faster.
Demographics and setting. You will be investing a lot into your physical therapy education. Make sure that you select a program where you feel at home.
You may wish to contact current students and recent graduates of the program, or interview employers who hire new graduates, to ask about a program’s strengths and weaknesses.

Admissions
The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service allows applicants to use a single web-based application and one set of materials to apply to multiple DPT programs.


After Graduation
Licensed physical therapists may choose to pursue a residency or fellowship program to enhance their knowledge and practice.

A clinical residency is designed to advance a physical therapist's preparation as a provider of patient care services in a defined area of clinical practice. It combines opportunities for ongoing clinical supervision and mentoring with a theoretical basis for advanced practice and scientific inquiry.

A clinical fellowship is a planned program of postprofessional clinical and didactic education for a physical therapist who demonstrates clinical expertise in an area of clinical practice related to the practice focus of the fellowship. (Fellows are frequently postresidency prepared or board-certified clinical specialists.)

Physical therapists also have the opportunity to become board-certified clinical specialists through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Specialization is the process by which a physical therapist builds on a broad base of professional education and practice to develop a greater depth of knowledge and skills related to a particular area of practice. PTs are not required to be certified in order to practice in a specific area.

All the best!

source link: https://www.apta.org/your-career/careers-in-physical-therapy/becoming-a-pt

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