Physical Therapist Requirements: Education, Job, and Certification
If you are a physical therapist or someone interested in becoming one and need information on the requirements you are expected to meet to succeed in your career, then you will find this article useful.
It covers three major requirements, including, educational, job, and certification requirements that you will need to fulfill to be successful in your physical therapist career.
Please, continue reading to learn about the physical therapist requirements:
Physical Therapist Requirements for Career Success
To become and succeed in your physical therapist career, here are requirements to meet:
- Physical Therapist Educational Requirements
To start up a career as a physical therapist, you must attain the educational requirements needed to help you have good knowledge on the field and learn the skills and abilities needed to effectively work in this position.
The kind of education you need to have for the physical therapist career is given below:
Bachelor’s degree: A physiotherapist or physical therapist can begin their career with a Bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy or other related courses like Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, Physics, Human anatomy, and Physiology.
By completing this program, students will gain the knowledge required to work and succeed in the field.
During the program, the students learn through classroom and laboratory instruction; they learn the human anatomy and how to help patients improve their health and series of appropriate techniques that can be used with different types of patients.
Studying physical therapy for a Bachelor’s degree gives the students insight on how to evaluate, observe, and recommend treatment plans, also adjusting the plans when necessary.
Admission requirements for a Bachelor’s degree physical therapist program: Individuals interested in pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy must complete High School education and pass the required courses like Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology, and other courses related to physiotherapy and attain a certificate showing a completion of High School educational program with the High School diploma certificate; the individual can apply for the Bachelor’s degree program.
Master’s of Occupation Therapy (MOT): Master’s of Occupation Therapy comes after Bachelor’s degree. It goes a long way to impact a sophisticated knowledge about physical therapy and its scope.
The program usually takes one to two years to complete.
It is a direct-entry program for students who hold a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy. This program prepares students for licensure and impact advanced knowledge, training and clinical experience.
Admission requirements for a Master’s of Occupation therapy (MOT): To enlist for Master’s of Occupation Therapy, the candidate must attain a Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy and other related courses which are but not limited to Biomechanics, Anatomy, Muscular-skeletal Management before beginning graduate studies.
Most Master’s degree programs in all ramifications require cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater.
Transitional Master’s of Occupational Therapy (TMOT): This program is designed for licensed occupational therapists who hold a Bachelor’s degree.
Admission requirements for a transitional Master’s degree Physical Therapist Program: To enroll for the Transitional Master’s of Occupational Therapy program, the candidate must have gotten a license as an occupational therapist.
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD): This is a PhD program in the field of physiotherapy.
An individual can further their education to the level of Doctorate’s degree in Physical Therapy in order to practice as a physical therapist.
It is typically a three years program coursework at the doctoral level, including instructional tuition in medical diagnostics, patient examination, patient evaluation, orthotic (orthopedic), prosthetics, and medical screening.
Admission requirements for a Doctoral degree: To enlist for OTD, the student must hold a Bachelor’s degree in another field such as Physiology, Anatomy, or Biomechanics.
Transitional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (tDPT): This is another degree created for physical therapists that already have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
tDPT allows you to continue working while studying to earn DPT degree. It is a program intended for practicing occupational therapists. It takes about two years to complete.
Admission requirements for Transitional Doctor of Occupational Theory: To enlist for tDPT, you must hold a Bachelor’s degree and also a Doctorate degree (PhD) in Occupational Therapy respectively.
2. Physical Therapist Job Requirements
To work as a physical therapist, the requirements you need to meet differ in various companies.
The following are major requirements you may need to meet to be considered for employment as a Physical Therapist:
- Attention to details outlined by the patients: Physical therapists need to pay attention to patients and examine their issues, and what is needed to help them ease their pains and stress.
- Dexterity: Physical therapists must have the skills to perform tasks with hands and provide therapeutic exercise for patients.
- Interpersonal Skills: A good physical therapist will need to work face-to-face with patients every day. You will need to work with people in close situations and be a good communicator, as well a good listener.
- Stamina: Physical therapists may have to lift clients during therapeutic exercise sessions and spend much of their time on their feet. To do this job strength and stamina are needed.
- Ability to solve problems independently: Physiotherapists need to have problem solving skills and ability to face any circumstances encountered along the line.
- A physiotherapist must have the ability to relate with patients of different personalities.
- Logical and analytical thinking: Physical therapists should be able to think critically in order to make the right decisions during consultation sessions with patients.
- Experience with recommending assistive exercising equipment to patients or home service follow-up programs.
- Physiotherapist must have good knowledge of occupational therapy and understanding of when the various available techniques should be applied, and how they can benefit patients.
- A physical therapist must have experience in assisting and directing treatments for patients.
3. Physical Therapist Certification Requirements
Having a physical therapy certification is a way you can standout in your industry and find better rewarding jobs.
If you want to be certified by an accredited certification program, you may consider enrolling in any of these programs:
- Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE):
CAPTE accredits entry-level programs in the U.S. This is a program for the Master’s and Doctorate degree levels for physical therapists.
If you are seeking to broaden and improve your skills in the field of physical therapy, this certification will be appropriate for you.
Requirements: To enroll for this certification program, the aspirant must have attained a Master’s or Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.
- National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE):
This is a computer based program for both physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.
This program enables the individual to know about the foundations of evaluation, differential diagnosis and prognosis. The individual studies the various equipment and devices and their therapeutic modalities.
Requirements: To enlist for this program, the candidate must have attained a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy.
- State Physical Therapy Licensing Authorities:
To enroll for this program, the applicant must be a graduate of a program that is approved by the American Physical Therapy Education, and in addition they must pass the NPTE program.
Requirements: One of the main requirements for this program is passing the jurisprudence exam that enables you to have knowledge of your state’s law and rules; also, the applicant must pass the NPTE program in order to apply for this program.
- American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS):
This program offers board certification for Physical Therapists seeking advancement in different specialty areas of physical therapy, such as Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Neurology, etc.
Requirements: To opt in for this program, you must have at least 2,000 hours of practice and licensed.
Physical Therapist Responsibilities
Physical therapists help people with physical injuries or illnesses to regain their normal movement and to control their pain.
Physical therapists assist people who have lost their movement or motor function due to accident, illness, or ageing.
Shown below are highlights of the physical therapist’s major responsibilities:
- It is the duty of the physical therapist to meet up with the patient’s needs and provide quality care by diagnosing the patient and interpreting the test results to determine the physical therapy treatment plans in relation with the prescription of the physician.
- A physical therapist develops a treatment plans using a variety of treatment and therapeutic techniques.
- They administer medically prescribed physical therapy treatments to relieve or alleviate pain and improve mobility.
- They document patient’s progress according to approved medical documentation and facility documentation procedures in order to ratio the medications given to patients.
- Physical therapists create special fitness-oriented health care programs for different patients with different health conditions.
- They provide educational information about injury prevention and tutor the patients about ergonomic, and how to improve their physical health condition.
- They give advice to patients on different exercise techniques, and how the therapeutic flexing will help improve their body parts for easy movement.
- They report patient progress to patient and their caregivers and loved ones; and they give instructions to patients on how to improve better.