How to Train to Become a Physical Therapist

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Physical therapist employment is one of the areas that many people choose when going into the healthcare industry. The services they provide can help those with physical impairments to manage their disability or to overcome it altogether. With the proper physical therapy there are many who no longer require help with disabilities that have limited their normal life. Victims of accident or illness and those with debilitating diseases can all benefit from physical therapy.

What Does a Physical Therapist Job Entail?

There are many types of physical therapy ranging from specializing in geriatrics, sports, cardiopulmonary, or pediatric treatments. Some physical therapist employment may cover a wide range of problems. Promoting overall health is another aspect of physical therapist jobs. When therapists first take someone as a patient they look over their medical history. Then tests are performed to see the range of the patient's physical abilities. Balance, strength, muscles, and coordination are all tested and the plan for treatment is developed from this information.



Some of the physical ailments that therapists treat may include:
  • Head injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Fractures
Although many physical therapists work in clinics and hospitals, there are also many who have their practice in private offices. There are schools that have physical therapists on staff. A physical therapist should be a strong person, because sometimes their work will involve moving people or helping them to walk. The aspects of working as a physical therapist can be quite demanding due to the physical movement that is required.

Physical therapist employment typically requires working at least forty hours per week and sometimes more when they have to fit patients into their schedule. This may require some weekend work or evening work. The uses of many types of treatment are utilized to treat patients, including massage and ultrasound. The therapist must know how to use these treatments and much more for easing pain and helping patients to learn to use devices which can assist them. Wheelchairs, crutches, and prostheses are some of the methods being used for patients. There are also exercises they can learn to help them to recover much faster.

What Are the Education Requirements?

A physical therapist must possess a state license from the state in which they work. They are also required to have a master's degree or a doctoral degree. These are the only two degrees considered accredited when it comes to practicing physical therapy. The combination of the two takes about five years to complete.

Of course, the program's basic requirements are courses such as physics, chemistry, and biology. After the basic courses the program's prospective physical therapists take:
  • Therapeutic Procedures
  • Biomechanics
  • Human Growth
  • Human Development
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Onset of Disease
The classroom work will include work in the laboratory. The students will receive the clinical experience they need, but only in a supervised way. The physical therapist is required to pass national as well as state examinations as a preparation to setting up practice, and they must have graduated from a physical therapist program. Many times before starting an accredited physical therapist study program, a requirement is to volunteer as a therapist's helper for a period of time to make sure this is what career move you want to make.

The person considering going into physical therapy should have good people skills and good communication abilities. The person should have a passion for helping people to recover from illness and injury. The physical therapist will continue learning even after they are practicing. There are many states that require continuing education as a condition of being licensed. The number of physical therapist jobs was approximately 173,000 in 2006, but has increased. There are some physical therapists that work full and part time. They may work full time at their own practice and part time at a hospital or another physical therapy business.

Earnings

The range of pay for physical therapist jobs depends upon the area in which you are working and the type of job you have. If you are working in a home health service, the salary will be higher than in the office of a physician. The range is from $55,030 to $78,080. The highest percentage earned over $94,810 and the lowest percentage earned $46,510. The higher pay for physical therapists seems to be among those who reside in a certain area of the country and those who work for companies other than hospitals and doctor's offices.

Are Things Changing for Physical Therapists?

The employment of the physical therapist is on the move. An increase of 27% is expected between 2006 and 2016. This is more of an increase than many other jobs can expect to see. The number of people today who require the services of a physical therapist is growing. There are so many people who are becoming more health conscious today than ever before.

Along with the new technology that is available for treating more ailments than were treated in the past, the need for physical therapy is bound to increase. The technology is helping to treat more children that are born with physical limitations. People are living longer than they have previously, which is another factor that contributes to the need for more physical therapists. This area is a good career move for those who enjoy helping people and have the physical stamina this job requires.
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