What are the physical therapist education requirements? Before we begin to answer this question as regards High School, college and graduate programs, we’ll like to ask you this question: have you made up your mind to study physiotherapy?
I sincerely do not blame anyone who even in high school have not decided what they want to be as this is a very critical decision and requires every bit of clarity.
I know some people who are regretting that they chose a particular career, not necessarily because they are not making enough money, but perhaps they are not passionate about it and wish they had chosen something different.
Therefore, it is important that you think very well and put a lot of things in perspective before making your career choice. It is even advisable that you pray before making your career choice because choosing a career is one of the critical decisions a person would make in their life.
The Physical Therapist Education Requirements in this article have been written in a way that anyone who has chosen to study physical therapy will understand all the prerequisites necessary to succeed in this field from High School to Graduate School.
Every field of study and career comes with its own challenge and unique requirements; whichever one you have chosen make sure you find out whatever it is that is required for you to be successful in that field and career.
This article will be talking about the Education requirements for physical therapy, Therefore, if you want to become a Physiotherapist then you need to read this article to the end as you will discover the education requirements you to succeed in Physical Therapy.
With that being said let us into this article proper.
Who is a Physical Therapist?
Before we go into the Physical Therapist Education Requirements proper, it is important that you know who a physical therapist is.
A Physical Therapist is a person who is a trained specialist in health that diagnose and treat body disorders in human beings.
A physical therapist can treat or manage illness, disorders or injuries that may occur in the musculoskeletal system (bones and muscles), Neurological systems (brain), Cardiopulmonary system (heart and lungs) and Integumentary system (skin).
Physical therapists are useful to us and our community. Irrespective of the age of a patient a physical therapist always has something to offer to them. Many people choose to see a Physiotherapist so that they would get tips on how to take care of themselves in a bid to become healthier and learn how to prevent sicknesses from occurring in the future.
In addition to knowing the Physical Therapist Education Requirements also bear in mind that you need to have effective communication skills and effective ingenuity in solving problems to be successful in this field. The aforementioned skills are important because physiotherapists are always in communication with their patients, and there are many health-related problems to be solved.
Physical therapists can be found in places like Hospitals, Long-term care facilities, Athletics facilities, Schools and Clinics.
Duties of a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists are not regarded as doctors but they receive recommendations and referrals from doctors and other medical professionals.
When you visit a physical therapist, he or she would, first of all, perform a physical examination; this is in a bid to be sure of what your problem really is, after which he/she will make use of exercising, stretching, different types of equipment, other hands-on techniques or combination of all as your treatment plan.
Basically, the aim of seeing a therapist always revolves around restoring functionality to a specific part of the body, and the following treatment plan can work miracle as the therapist knows the best way to go about it.
Seeing a therapist is important and when you follow the treatment plan as directed by a PT you will be able to reduce intake of prescription drugs and you will lead a healthier life in the future.
How many years to be a Physical Therapist?
To meet the Physical Therapist Education Requirements, you will need to spend about seven years studying in this field after you have completed high school.
Typically, you need 4 Years of Undergraduate Studies and 3 Years of Physical Therapy Graduate School and this will bring everything to 7 Years total to become a Physical Therapist after you have spent about 6 years in High School, which is a prerequisite for any degree at all.
What are the Physical Therapist Education Requirements?
Obtaining a degree in physiotherapy is quite different when it comes to the route you need to follow to obtain it. In most degree, all you need is go to high school then go to college and obtain an undersgraduate degree in that field, and start practicing.
This is different when it comes to the Physical Therapist Education Requirements. You will need to do something different, but making sure that you are completing some vital classes from your high school to college; It is only at your graduate program level that you will choose a Physical therapy graduate program which you will complete and then obtain your license.
Below we have explained the Physical Therapy Education Requirements from high school to graduate level.
What are the Physical Therapist Education Requirements in High School?
We would have decided to start with the Education requirement for physical therapy from the college level, but we decided to start from high school so that if you are still in high school and you want to become a physiotherapist you will be able to take the right steps.
Do your Internship with a Physical Therapist
You may have read about physical therapists online, or someone might have talked to you about the profession and you find it very interesting and you want to get into it. But you cannot really know what it means to be a physical therapist if you have not seen one in action.
If you are in high school and you are harbouring the intention of becoming a physiotherapist, it will be in your best interest to find a way to watch a physical therapist on duty or research to find internship position available around your area with a physiotherapist.
Take extreme science courses in high school
Physiotherapy is a science discipline, and from your high school, it is important that you take difficult science courses to equip yourself with Physical Therapist Education Requirements.
It is advisable that you take Honors or AP science courses during your high school days so that you will get acquainted with the necessary contents going forward.
If you’re already getting tired of science courses in High School then physiotherapy may not be good for you, because this discipline will always be all about science until you are done studying it.
Always make sure you learn everything in your study materials; do not cram for your science exams as it is not good for you going forward.
Strive for good High School grades and SAT scores.
Demonstrating a good work ethic is good irrespective of your level of education. When you make good grades in high school it ultimately shows that you are committed to your future career.
Therefore, irrespective of the field you have chosen to ply your academic trade make sure you strive for good grades especially in the field of physiotherapy, you need good grades in your science classes as it shows your teachers that you are committed to what you want to become.
You may as well get a recommendation letter from them during your college application.
Seek admission in colleges and Universities with a concentration in science programs
Physical Therapist Education Requirements for graduate-level will require that applicants must have taken prerequisite science classes during their undergraduate studies.
The school you have chosen to obtain your undergraduate degree must be a school with a robust science curriculum.
Not only will your school focus on science you should also make sure that those science courses are accessible to students who are in your discipline.
Anatomy and physiology are some of the core prerequisite science classes that aspiring students in the field of physiotherapy must have taken in their undergraduate studies before proceeding to graduate school, and if you choose to study in a liberal arts school you may not have access to courses like this which are considered to be of paramount importance in physical therapist education requirements.
What are the Physical Therapist Education Requirements in College?
If you are about to enter College and you are considering the field of physiotherapy then the physical therapist education requirements in college which we have discussed below will show you a picture of what you are required to do in college to remain on track to become a physical therapist after graduation.
Complete your Physical Therapist Education Requirements courses in College
Irrespective of the major you have chosen to take in college you will still be on track to become a physical therapist if you will take classes that we have listed below.
The classes are important because graduate programs in physical therapy require that applicants complete those classes in college to be eligible to take on graduate programs in physical therapy.
Physical therapist education requirements demand that one completes these courses in college to stay on track to take on graduate programs in physiotherapy. The classes are:
- Anatomy or Anatomy & Physiology 1 with lab
- Physiology or Anatomy & Physiology 2 with lab
- Biology 1
- Biology 2
- General Chemistry 1 with lab
- General Chemistry 2 with lab
- General Physics 1 with lab
- General Physics 2 with lab
Majoring in a natural science course is advisable if you are interested in physical therapy as natural science courses are mostly contained in the prerequisite classes for physiotherapy.
There are a good number of natural science courses you can major in like Biology or any other natural science course that may interest you.
Irrespective of the natural science major you have chosen just make sure that you make good grades. Graduate schools these days consider students with good grades more than those without good grades.
Intern with a Physical Therapist
This is one of the most important physical therapist education requirements. The easiest way to do this is to contact the career department or services in your school and ask if there are alumni from your school who would want to have you as an intern.
Some graduate school requires about a hundred hours total with a Physical Therapist. Therefore you should find a good physiotherapist, shadow them or intern with them so that you meet up with this requirement.
Bear in mind that during your internship program you need to log your hours and after your internship request a verification letter. This is important because some graduate schools will verify this before admitting you.
Apply to graduate physical therapy graduate programs
One of the physical therapist education requirements is that you complete your graduate program, so you need to apply.
Towards the end of your final year in college, you should start making preparation to apply for physical therapy graduate programs
You can apply to 8 to 15 physiotherapy graduate programs this is in a bid to make sure that you get the school that fit the most if you’re interested in applying then you should make sure that you are application includes good grades in your prerequisite classes, experience working with licensed physical therapists, letters of recommendation from professors and supervisors, strong standardized test scores on the GRE, and a well-written personal statements
What are the Physical Therapist Education Requirements in Graduate Program?
This is considered one of the most important physical therapist education requirements as if you must practice physical therapy, you must earn your doctor of physical therapy DPT which typically takes three years to complete.
Courses like applied physical therapy, lifespan development, and functional anatomy would be carried out during this level of study and these courses are much more applied than the prerequisite classes you took during your college studies.
You will have the opportunity to work hands-on with patients and you will be offered the platform to apply your scientific knowledge to your practice.
We must tell you that this program is expensive and rigorous, but it will be worth it after completion.
At this level take time to learn your materials, do not focus on grades only.
This is considered the Zenith of your studies in physiotherapy and whatever you do not learn at this level you may not learn again. Therefore, it is important that you focus on learning the materials not grades as whatever it is that you learn at this level will take you throughout your career.
Learn how to retain what you have learnt in class and that will definitely show in your grades. Do not cram!
Hands-on Experience is advisable
You should consider taking a part-time job or looking for an internship opportunity with organisations that need a physiotherapist in training.
The national football League, the arthritis foundation and the special Olympics are good organisations that you can reach out to and offer free services. This would in turn give you a hands-on experience and make your portfolio more robust.
What are the Physical Therapist Education Requirements for Residency?
We have come to the final physical therapist education requirements. This has to do with the residency level which is after you have obtained your Doctor Of Physical Therapy DPT.
Choose your Specialisation
This decision is wholly dependent on you. At the completion of your doctor of physical therapy DPT, you can choose to become a generalist or specialist in the field of physiotherapy.
If you want to work with a certain kind of patients then you need to complete your residency program to know where to specialise in. You can choose to specialise in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports Physical Therapy or Women’s Health.
Your residency period is very important to your career because you get to work with a specific kind of patients and this gives you the opportunity to know where you will function better.
During your internship and voluntary services, you have been working with different kinds of patients with different kinds of conditions and some of these conditions you may not see again throughout your career.
From your residency and going forward you will now have the opportunity to work with the patients you feel you can help the most.
This residency experience can be very rewarding to your career as a physical therapist.
Should you pursue further education?
Typically when it comes to physical therapist education requirement obtaining your doctor of physical therapy DPT should be the final stage, but some people may decide to study further.
The physical therapy residency programs only last for one year and since you have obtained your doctor of physical therapy you’re qualified to be given a licence to practice.
If you are the kind of person that wants to explore, you can decide to study more by taking an additional Fellowship or you can just start with a private practice or get employed.