Do you wish to become a physical therapist? Before jumping in with both feet, you need to learn how to become a physical therapist and what will be required of you. This is a rapidly growing field and the job outlook is considered to be very good, but the process is intense.
First you must complete an accredited physical therapist program which requires that you obtain a post-baccalaureate degree. Once you have done so though, you will be able to obtain work in a wide variety of settings. More than half of therapists in this field choose to work in a hospital or health practitioner office.
Physical Therapist Education
Those wishing to learn how to become a physical therapist must first start by entering an entry level program which has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education. This body is overseen by the American Physical Therapy Association. As of 2009 212 programs of this type were in existence.
Only twelve of these programs offered a master’s degree while 200 offered doctoral degrees. If you choose to pursue a master’s degree, expect your education to take two to two and a half years. Doctoral programs take three years to complete.
Physical Therapist License
All fifty states do regulate physical therapy. The requirements to become licensed in your state of choice will need to be determined before you continue. Most state that you must have completed an accredited training program and successfully passed the National Physical Therapy Examination.
In addition, many will have their own exam that you must complete with a passing grade. Continuing education is required by many states in order to maintain your physical therapy license.
The Physical Therapist Salary
Once you have completed the educational requirements and successfully passed the necessary exams, you may begin working as a physical therapist. The median annual wage for one in this field is $72,790 as of May 2008. Those in the bottom 10% made less than $50,350 while those in the top 10% made over $104,350.
If you choose to work in home health care services, you can expect to make more than those in physician offices or offices of other health care practitioners. All factors should play a role in determining if this is the right career choice for you.
Pros and Cons of Being A Physical Therapist
This is a great little introductory video that explores the pros and cons of being a physical therapist. For example, becoming a physical therapist lets you say goodbye to a desk job. Take a look at this video from a Physical Therapist in Utah as he does a good job highlighting the ups and downs of working in physical therapy. You may want to check out our physical therapy schools page for more info.