Entering the medical field in any capacity is a daunting task. But it’s also a reliable career field for those willing to put the work in. It’s a long road of education, which often requires perfection, as well as labs and in-field training from already bona fide professionals. But becoming a nurse is different from becoming a doctor, and becoming a physical therapist requires different training than that of an aspiring dentist.
To become the next premier Denver physical therapist, you need to achieve a number of different things. In this blog, we’re going to lay out the requirements for becoming a licensed physical therapist, the steps to take to get there, how much you’ll get paid once you make it, and more. Keep reading to discover if physical therapy is the correct career choice for you.
What Is The Job Of A Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists diagnose and treat all types of people, no matter their age. Generally, the goal is to improve a patient’s movement or range of motion in order to improve their quality of life through hands-on, noninvasive care methods. They can prescribe exercises, education, and recommendations for those who are ill or injured.
They help manage pain after an injury and help prevent future injuries. They also are rehabilitation experts who work with others in the medical field to tailor a specific plan for patients to get back to 100 percent, manage a chronic illness or injury, or help prevent future issues.
Physical therapists work in hospitals, in the home, in schools, in outpatient clinics, workplaces, residential treatment centers, sports and fitness centers and facilities, and more.
What Are The Educational and Training Requirements?
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, there are a few different educational and training requirements needed before you can pursue becoming a professional physical therapist.
First, you must earn and obtain a doctorate degree in physical therapy from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam. Generally, these programs last three years on average. Primary curriculum requirements may include classes involving:
- Cellular histology
- Exercise physiology
- Behavioral sciences
- Management sciences
- Clinical reasoning
- Evidence-based practice
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary
- Endocrine and metabolic
Generally, 80 percent of the program curriculum will be tough in a classroom setting or in labs, with 20 percent dedicated to clinical education, or on-the-job training. While some programs allow freshmen to enter, most require a bachelor’s degree prior to admission.
After becoming licensed, physical therapists can pursue a clinical residency or fellowship program. This helps them polish their skills further and gain more experience in the field.
Physical therapists also have the opportunity to “become board-certified clinical specialists through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.” But this isn’t required.
How Much Do PTs Make?
What you earn will depend on a variety of factors, including where you work and live, how much experience you have, your degree of education, the area in which you work, and more. The average median salary for a PT is roughly $85,000.
As of 2021, there were currently 225,350 physical therapists working in the U.S.
Physical therapy is a wonderful field to enter to try and improve the quality of a patient’s daily life. Many people need help as a result of a chronic illness, serious injury, rehabilitation from surgery, and much more.
PTs have a unique position and responsibility to have a fulfilling medical career that is non-invasive for patients and makes a real difference in their lives. While it might take some work to get there, once you’re a licensed physical therapist, you begin improving lives almost immediately.