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Career Advice

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Physical therapists play an important part in the medical community. They are highly trained healthcare professionals and help rehabilitate patients to improve or regain mobility that may have been compromised due to an injury, illness or surgery.

A physical therapist is knowledgeable in the workings of the human skeletal and muscular systems and trained to apply physical therapistvarious techniques that will increase or restore mobility, provide pain relief, and prevent further injury. It is a rewarding career for anyone who is compassionate, enjoys helping others heal and assist with restoring the quality of life by improving their physical capabilities.

Physical Therapists work with a broad range of patients from children through to the elderly and you can find physical therapy job opportunities at hospitals, doctors’ offices, health and wellness clinics, rehabilitation, health care agencies, and nursing homes.  You can find the latest physical therapy jobs on Soliant Health.

Qualifications

If you want to pursue a career in physical therapy, you will need to focus your high school courses on math and sciences in order to apply for and complete a BS (Bachelor of Science) degree from an accredited post-secondary school. You can expect to study post-secondary courses in biology, anatomy, chemistry, physiology and exercise science.  Upon completion of your Bachelor of Science, you will be required to apply for your license by taking the National Physical Therapy Exam mandated by the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Once you have successfully passed the required licensing, you can expect to participate in continuous learning through classes and workshops to maintain your accreditation throughout your career.  Check with your state licensing authority to find out more about the licensing required.

You can increase your job prospects by training to support certain areas or age groups including geriatrics, pediatrics, gender specific, or sports. Likewise, you can target your expertise in Orthopedics, Neurology, or Cardiovascular and pulmonary therapy.

Experience

To gain some practical hands-on physical therapy experience, seek opportunities to participate in an internship or find work as Physical Therapist Assistant. In both instances, you will work under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist and be able to develop and improve your skills on some real patients. These work experiences will prepare you for permanent employment in which you will be responsible for your own patients and their care. You will learn how to evaluate their medical records and record new information, assess your patients for movement, strength endurance, balance, and develop personalized treatment strategies.

Skills to Become a Physical Therapist

To succeed as a physical therapist, you should enjoy physical exercise because your job will encompass a high degree of physical activity. The job is physically demanding and requires a great deal of stamina and dexterity. You can expect to spend a fair amount of time on your feet as you administer various techniques on your patients using your hands and arms.  Additionally, you will need to demonstrate exercises to your patients and help them to perform the exercise properly to prevent further physical damage.

One of the most important personality traits for a physical therapist is their capacity to interact with patients in a positive, supportive manner.  An outgoing personality with the ability to motivate others and build a rapport is essential for promoting a high level of trust between you and your patients. Additionally, a sense of empathy is necessary in order to help your patients deal with any emotional response to their physical limitations that may arise.

If this is not quite the job for you then why not pick another from our fab career directory?

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