How To Become a Physical Therapist

The field of physical therapy is highly specialized and quite demanding.  It can be one of the most rewarding careers, since you are working with patients in need.  Below, we will examine how to become a physical therapist.

Physical therapists often see patients with traumatic injuries.  Automobile accidents, sports injuries and birth defects are just a few of the conditions that a physical therapist treats.  Physical therapists work closely with doctors to determine the best plan of care for each patient. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of physical therapy is the amount of patience required.  The victories of a physical therapist's patients may at times be small.  The patient may get frustrated, and that makes the job of the physical therapist all the more important. He should provide the encouragement that the patient needs, and work to lift their spirits. It can be extremely frustrating for people if their body will not cooperate with what their mind tells it to do.  A good portion of returning patients with chronic or debilitating injuries will become discouraged with their progress.  That discouragement can eventually turn into full-blown depression.  This can be hard on the physical therapist as well; some spend years working with the same patients and it can be emotionally draining. Physical therapists must be emotionally prepared for situations such as this.

A physical therapist must be in good physical condition as well.  A great deal of the work a physical therapist does with his patients is physically and emotionally demanding.  A therapist can expect to spend a lot of time bending over, crouching, and kneeling.  At times, he will demonstrate the exercise for the patient.  Pushing wheelchairs around all day is also very tiring. 

Physical therapists must also spend a great deal of time on paperwork.  Initial evaluations, progress notes and treatment plans must be documented, and is up to the patient's therapist.  The physical therapist must also have knowledge of which treatments are most likely to be covered by insurance.

Physical therapists must earn a four year degree. Someone interested in going into this field must take many courses. such as physics, chemistry, and biomechanics. At times, the student must also work at a clinic as an internship. A therapist may work with a Bachelor's degree in physical therapy, but may also find it beneficial to go on to earn a Master’s degree.  A state exam must be passed, and the therapist must maintain a license to work in this capacity.


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