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What all do i need to become a physical therapist?

My name is keema and I love helping kids. I babysit and I helped a 3 year old little boy Walk and talk when i was in daycare before a long time ago. So, I wanna help little kids and make a life changing dream come true. #physical-therapy

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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Raikeema,

Becoming a Physical Therapist

To become a physical therapist, you will need to follow these general steps:

1. Education:

Obtain a bachelor’s degree: You will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as biology, kinesiology, or exercise science.
Complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program: After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you must enroll in and complete a DPT program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). This typically takes 3 years to complete.

2. Clinical Experience:

Gain clinical experience: As part of your DPT program, you will need to complete clinical rotations in various settings to gain hands-on experience working with patients under the supervision of licensed physical therapists.

3. Licensure:

Obtain licensure: After completing your DPT program and gaining the necessary clinical experience, you will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to become licensed to practice as a physical therapist in your state.

4. Specialization (Optional):

Consider specializing: While not required, you may choose to pursue specialization in areas such as pediatrics if you are interested in working with children specifically.

5. Continuing Education:

Stay updated: To maintain your license and stay current in the field, you will need to participate in continuing education courses and activities throughout your career.

By following these steps, you can work towards becoming a physical therapist and fulfilling your goal of helping children through physical therapy.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used in Answering this Question:

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) - The APTA is a professional organization representing physical therapists in the United States. Their website provides information on educational requirements, licensing, and career paths for aspiring physical therapists.

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) - CAPTE is the accrediting agency for physical therapy education programs in the United States. Their website offers resources on accredited DPT programs and educational standards.

Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) - The FSBPT oversees the NPTE, which is the national licensure examination for physical therapists. Their website contains information on licensure requirements and exam details for aspiring physical therapists.

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Deborah R.’s Answer

I was a pediatric physical therapist and if you love children it can be wonderful, rewarding work. It can also be challenging because children think differently than adults do. As you go through school you will be able to research and learn about early development of the body and the brain, which is fascinating. It is very helpful if you are curious about how children behave, what they do in response to their environment, and how they learn. Pediatrics goes from 0 to 18 years-of-age and brain and body development occurs intensely all during that time. You can use everything you learn in school and apply it to the treatment of children, but you have to think about how to apply it in ways that are appropriate for the child you are treating. You can also study pediatric physical therapy specifically.

I encourage you to pursue your desire to work with children. Do some of the volunteer work you do prior to school, with children. Use whatever opportunity you can find or create, to work with children. The younger the child you can help, the more of their life you can influence, because knowledge and experience are usually additive. That means, for example, that if you can help someone to walk or move around on their own, at what would be near their normal age for learning to walk, they can have independent access to their world from then on, unless something unforeseen occurs. If they learn to walk at, for example, age 5, that is wonderful, but they may have lost about 4 years of independent access to their environment.

You can make your dream of doing positive, life-changing work come true. In the process you will enrich two lives, and many more. You will enrich your life and the lives of the children you are helping. I did that and so can you!

Deborah R. recommends the following next steps:

Do volunteer work with children, in a PT practice or school or community center.
Study pediatric PT in PT school.
Enjoy and practice playing - that is how children learn.
Be enthusiastic - every attempt at learning, and trying, and experimenting, takes courage and deserves our support.
Good luck.
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John’s Answer

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Physical therapists use a variety of techniques, such as massage and stretching, to treat patients.
Physical therapists entering the occupation need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. All states require physical therapists to be licensed.

Education - Physical therapists need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

DPT programs typically last 3 years. Many programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission as well as prerequisite courses, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology. Some programs admit college freshmen into 6- or 7-year programs that allow students to graduate with both a bachelor’s degree and a DPT. Most DPT programs require candidates to apply through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).

Physical therapist programs often include courses in biomechanics, neuroscience, and pharmacology. Physical therapist students also complete clinical work, during which they gain supervised experience in areas such as acute care and orthopedic care.

Physical therapists may apply to a clinical residency program after graduation. Residencies typically last about 1 year and provide additional training and experience in specialty areas of care. Physical therapists who have completed a residency program may choose to specialize further by participating in a fellowship in an advanced clinical area. The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education has directories of physical therapist residency and fellowship programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states require physical therapists to be licensed, which includes passing the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Other requirements vary by state. For example, some states also require a law exam and a criminal background check. Continuing education is typically required for physical therapists to keep their license. Check with your state board for specific licensing requirements.

After gaining work experience, some physical therapists choose to become a board-certified specialist. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties offers certification in clinical specialty areas of physical therapy, such as orthopedics, sports, and geriatrics. Board specialist certification requires passing an exam and completing clinical work in the specialty area.

Important Qualities
- Communication skills. Physical therapists must clearly explain treatment programs, motivate patients, and listen to patients’ concerns in order to provide effective therapy.

- Compassion. Physical therapists spend a lot of time interacting with patients, so they should have a desire to help people. They work with people who are in pain and must have empathy for their patients.

- Detail oriented. Like other healthcare providers, physical therapists should have strong analytic and observational skills to diagnose a patient’s problem, evaluate treatments, and provide safe, effective care.

- Dexterity. Physical therapists must use their hands to provide manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. They should feel comfortable massaging and otherwise physically assisting patients.

- Physical stamina. Physical therapists spend much of their time on their feet, moving to demonstrate proper techniques and to help patients perform exercises. They should enjoy physical activity.

- Resourcefulness. Physical therapists customize treatment plans for patients. They must be flexible and adapt plans of care to meet the needs of each patient.

- Time-management skills. Physical therapists typically treat several patients each day. They must be able to provide appropriate care to patients as well as complete administrative tasks, such as documenting patient progress.

John recommends the following next steps:

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