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What are the skills, training or certificates needed to be a physical therapist?

I am interested in physical therapy and would like to know more about it.

Thank you comment icon Here's the requirements from APTA: https://www.apta.org/your-career/careers-in-physical-therapy/becoming-a-pt#:~:text=To%20practice%20as%20a%20physical,programs%20is%20typically%20three%20years. Eleanor Harowicz
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Subject: Career question for you

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Maria Cecilia’s Answer

The basics need to be there to be an effective healthcare worker - in this case, a physical therapist. One must enjoy working with and for people, be an active listener, organized, motivated and a team player. You also need to have compassion balanced with the ability to be firm and confident. You will have to check into the specific school / university at which you'll be applying but more than likely, other than the pre-requisites for graduation, you will need to complete all coursework to receive a DPT or Doctor in Physical Therapy. There may be schools out there that still graduate students with an MPT - Masters of Physical Therapy - but they are probably more at the DPT level now. Being in healthcare requires much commitment due to the intensity and length of schooling but, at its most basic level, if you are attracted to this environment and wholeheartedly enjoy working with and around other people, this could be a rewarding profession to step into. Best wishes and good luck.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, this was very helpful! Sandra A.
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Deborah R.’s Answer

I will add that the physical therapist is a licensed professional, which means that after completing all your school requirements you will have to take a licensing exam for which you will have to do additional study. You will have to practice within the ethics and boundaries created by federal and state Boards. There is much you can do within those boundaries. And some you may wish to do outside those boundaries that you are not allowed to do - such as prescribe medicines, prescribe imaging - x-rays, MRI, etc. except, possibly, if you work in the military.

Deborah R. recommends the following next steps:

Familiarize yourself with the difference between a certificate and a license.
Familiarize yourself with the range of activities physical therapists are legally allowed to perform.
Study the website of the American Physical Therapy Association, or the national association of the country within which you want to practice.
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Beth’s Answer

I liked Maria Cecilia’s answer to your question! Physical therapy definitely takes patience and a love of people.
Physical therapy is a post graduate level degree - DPT. You will have to get your 4 year bachelors degree which needs to include prerequisites for a doctoral degree in PT ( usually another 2-3 years of school) you are looking at 6-7 years of school. Look on the APTA.org website for DPT programs you would be interested in and research their prerequisites- each school is a little different. Your bachelor degree can be in anything as long as you meet the prerequisites- most people do exercise science, kinesiology, or biology.
There is also a Physical therapist assistant. They help the Physical therapist with more hands on treatment, they follow the plan created by the PT.
PT assistant is a 2 year degree but many applicants have extra college classes.
A physical therapy technician is an on the job trained position or a certificate program (several months of class). The tech transports patients from their rooms to the therapy gym, clean the gym, and help the therapy staff.
There are plenty of jobs in each position.

Beth recommends the following next steps:

APTA.org for schools and more positions
Keep your grades up and stay active in sports or community activities.
Shadow or volunteer at a PT clinic, nursing home, or rehab center.
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