Do you want to learn what it takes to become a physical therapist? If YES, here is a complete guide plus requirements needed to become a physical therapist online.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists are trained professionals, who provide care to people (regardless of age) who have functional problems that could be from back, neck, amputations, arthritis, fractures, neurological disorders, sprains, strains, and other conditions. Physical therapists spend most of their time on their feet, working with patients to do specific exercises. They lift, move and assist patients using the proper body mechanics, lifting and other techniques.
Some physical therapists are specialists, in specific kinds of care such as, geriatrics or orthopedics. Physical therapists are part of a health care team that consults, with physicians, surgeons and other specialists, as well as, overseeing the work of physical therapy assistants and aides. A physical therapist can be defined as a licensed health care professional, who is highly educated to help patients restore mobility, or reduce their pain without having to resort to surgery, or the use of long-term medication.
Table of Content
- 1 Duties of a Physical Therapist or their Job Description
- 2 Career Opportunities in the Physical Therapist Industry
- 3 Professional Bodies and Associations for Professional Physical Therapists
- 4 Benefits of Becoming a Physical Therapist
- 5 Factors That Deter People from Becoming Physical Therapists
- 6 How Much Does a Physical Therapist Earn Monthly/Annually?
- 7 How Long Does It Take to Become a Physical Therapist?
- 8 Educational Requirements Needed to Become a Physical Therapist
- 9 Is a Professional certification Needed to Become a Physical Therapist?
- 10 How Much Will It Cost You to Obtain a Certification or Degree in Physical Therapy?
- 11 Can You Become a Physical Therapist by Taking an Online Course?
- 12 Career Opportunities Opened to Physical Therapists
- 13 Skills and Personal Traits Needed to Become a Successful Physical Therapist
- 14 Tips and Advice to Help Advance your Quest to Becoming a Physical Therapist
Duties of a Physical Therapist or their Job Description
The duties of a physical therapist are quite immense, requiring time and, emotions, but are also hugely rewarding too. They work with a variety of patients, from the elderly, the youths with sports injury and children. The regular duties of, a physical therapist are:
- Screening-: This is to determine the patient’s need for, either a consultation, or a referral to other health care professionals.
- Examination-: Examining the patients, so as to learn about their medical history, symptoms, and physical conditions.
- Evaluation-: Evaluating data from the examination, so as to make the appropriate, and best clinical judgment as regards, the patient’s treatment.
- Diagnosis-: Carrying out proper diagnosis that will serve as a guide to, the patient’s present and even, future treatment plan.
- Treatment Plan-: Developing a treatment plan, from examination and evaluation, according to the appropriate age, problem and symptoms developed by the patients, so as to help, restore the patient’s functionality and/or mobility.
- Teaching the patients how to, properly use the techniques, such as exercises so as to, increase the patient’s strength and decrease deformity.
- Using devices, equipment and techniques to properly, assist the patients during rehabilitation and, training programs. They also provide stimulation or massages to patients.
- Maintaining the record of patients as well as their progress, and treatment plan.
- Providing educational information, about injury prevention, exercises and, general ways health can be improved.
- Evaluating the effects of the treatment plan, initially chosen and, adjusting where necessary, so that a patient could quickly, achieve maximum results.
Tools and Equipment Used by a Physical Therapist
A physical therapist uses a combination of tools, to achieve its task in restoring and, rehabilitating a patient. The tools are listed below;
- Electric vibrators for therapy: This is a device of variable shape, in which continual repeated impulses, changes the steady current to an oscillating one. This is often used in fitness, sports training and rehabilitation.
- Crutches: This is used by the physical therapist, on physically injured patients to, aid them in walking. Crutches usually are in pairs, and are fitted under the armpit.
- Sacral Orthopaedic Softgoods: These are materials, used as splints, slings and supports for arms, ankle, abdomen etc.
- Balance boards or beams: This is a device, used for training or recreation. It is usually a circular looking board, or a beam for the patient to try and, balance on.
- Canes: This is a short staff, or slender stick, that is used, to assist patients in walking.
- Muscle Strength Dynamometer: It is used to measure muscle strength during, muscle contraction or evaluate the health status, of muscles.
- Electromyography (EMG) units: This is used to electrically record muscle activity, to aid in the diagnosis of neuromuscular disease.
- Hydrotherapy: This is the use of water in baths, as medicine that can help ease pain, in conditions such as arthritis or burns. Overall health benefits can be achieved once the body is fully immersed. There are also extremity hydrotherapy baths.
- Gait Belt for Therapy: This is a safety device, used to help the patient move from one position, to another. This could be either from, the bed to the chair.
- Grip strengthener: A hand grip is an indication, of the function of the overall hand. This device helps the patient, apply better grip to objects, either through pulling, or holding an object firm.
- Knee Braces: These devices are of various types. Functional knee braces, are used to substitute for, damaged ligaments. Prophylactic knee braces, are used in preventing knee injuries, and are especially worn by athletes, who perform high risk sports.
- Lower extremity prosthetic devices: A prosthetic is an artificial device, replacing a missing part in the body such as leg, hand, hip etc. Physical therapists have to work with amputees, especially those with a prosthetic so as to, aid them in effectively using, their devices.
Other tools used by physical therapists include: Blood pressure cuff kits, cardiac output monitoring devices, neck braces, sensory evaluation product, continuous passive motion devices, digital camcorders, exercise trampolines, force sensors, galvanic stimulators, rehabilitation mat, medical acoustic stethoscopes, medical hydrocollators, neuromuscular stimulators, scope sets, computers, patient care beds, shifting boards, pedal exercisers, pivotal and pelvic traction supplies, powerboards, pulleys, reflex hammers, short wave diathermy units, theraupatic balls, stair climbers, cooling pads, threadmills, ultrasonic therapy apparatus, compression support etc.
How to Become a Physical Therapist – A Complete Guide
Labour Market Statistics in the Physical Therapy Industry
The statistics for Physical Therapists, in the following four countries (United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada) are as follows:
In the United States
- They are called Physical therapists.
- The highest paid physical therapists work in hospitals or in physician offices.
- Physical therapists earn more than registered nurses, occupational therapists, and massage therapists.
- The best paying cities are Texas with a range of $104,500 to $122,160 and Alaska with $104,250
- In 2007, nearly 9 million patients used the services, of a physical therapist.
- Every year, about 108 million Americans over the age of 18, this is about 50%, develop musculoskeletal injury, which lasts for more than 3 months.
- Only 30% of physical therapy patients fully stick to their full treatment plan.
- Some states in the United States do not require that a patient be referred from a physician before, seeing a physical therapist.
- As at 2012; 204,200 physical therapists had jobs with the entry level for education being, either a doctoral or professional degree.
- It has been projected that between 2012 and 2022, there will be a 36% growth in the jobs for physical therapists, this is a faster than average growth as compared to other occupations.
- As at 2014, the median pay for Physical Therapists in the US was $82,390 per year.
- As at 2012, most physical therapists worked full time, with only 1 in 4, working part time.
In the U.K
- There are different types of physiotherapists and they are pediatrics, geriatric, occupational physiotherapists, orthopedics, mental health therapists, stroke services therapists, women’s’ health therapists, intensive are therapists.
- Some physiotherapists work under the NHS (National Health Service), while the rest work in the private sector.
- Physiotherapists work 37.5 hours per week, and most times including weekends.
- In the UK, they are called physiotherapists.
- Some physiotherapists work under the NHS (National Health Service), while the rest work in the private sector.
- Physiotherapists work 37.5 hours per week, and most times including weekends.
- As at 2015, the average pay for a physiotherapist in the UK is £25,675 per year. There are about 54,000 physiotherapists in the UK.
- As of 2012, 14,900 physiotherapists were employed with average work time being 34 hours.
- Projected employment figures for 2017 are 18,000; although there had been a demand decline of 1, 500 (10%) for both males and females from and is expected to end by 2016.
- There were more females working full time at a 45.4% ratio, while the males had a 19.2% ratio.
- Most physiotherapists are required to be good at acupuncture.
- There has been a decline in the demand for physiotherapists.
- Between 2010 and 2012, the employment average for physiotherapists in Canada was 17,000; with a projected annual growth of 2.9% between 2013 and 2017.
- The percentage figure for males was, 19.8%.
- The average age range was from, 25 to 44 years, and stood at 63.4% with 78.9% of all physiotherapists, working full time.
- As at 2015, the median pay for a physiotherapist is C$71,054 per year.
- The Physiotherapy profession in Canada owes its origins to a group of British nurse-masseuses.
- There are 15 physical therapy schools in Canada. Physiotherapy is now a Master’s level program.
- There are almost 17,000 physical therapists in Canada, with 78% of them being women.
- The profession of physical therapy was born after World War 1, after thousands of injured soldiers returned, and needed to be rehabilitated.
Impact of Internet and Technology on the Physical Therapist Profession
The positives are:
- A physical therapist can continue instructions over the email, or refer to illustrations, that can aid the patient.
- Within the last decade, physical therapists partnering with fitness instructors have been able to ensure that people stay fit, by posting work-out videos online.
- A physical therapist can use the internet, to keep in touch with other physical therapists, the patient and others.
- The physical therapist can drop tips, on social platforms, to help the followers or the audience.
The negatives are:
- Abuse of the social media platform
- Not all fitness instructors are certified, to carry out workouts, but the internet has enabled both good and bad people, with no idea of fitness, post fitness videos.
Is the Demand for Physical Therapists Growing or Dying?
Physical Therapists or physiotherapists provide essential services, and essential services thrive with a growing population, regardless of the economic outlook. Physical Therapists cater to different segments of the society- the aged folks with athritis and the rest, the young with injuries, and children with neurological disorders.
The profession therefore, cannot be said to be dying or saturated. There is already a projected 36% increase in the demand, for physical therapists. Therefore, the demand is growing rapidly, and cannot for now is over-saturator dying.
Career Opportunities in the Physical Therapist Industry
- Audiologists-: These are health care professionals who evaluate, diagnose and treat the hearing, and balance problems of a patient (newborns, children and adults) using, advanced technology and procedures.
- Chiropractors-: These are health care professionals that diagnose, and treat patients with neuromuscular disorders, like bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and tendons. They make use of spinal adjustments, adjustments and many other techniques, to help manage the patients’ health concerns and pain.
- Occupational Therapists-: They assess and treat patients with physical, cognitive disorder or mental problems; helping them develop and improve their skills, for daily working and living.
- Recreational Therapists-: These health care professionals use a treatment service, which is aimed at restoring and, rehabilitating a patient’s level of functioning in life’s activities. Recreational Therapists use a variety of treatment plan, which might include drama, arts and crafts, sports, dance etc. to help improve the physical, social and emotional well-being of the patient.
- Speech Language Pathologists-: They help diagnose, treat communication and, swallowing disorders that result from different causes like brain injury, stroke or emotional problems.
- Physical Therapists Aides and Assistants-: They work under the direct supervision, and guidance of the physical therapists. They also help with patients, who are recovering, from injuries to regain mobility.
- Post-Secondary Health Specialties Teachers-: They teach courses in fields like therapy, public health and others.
Professional Bodies and Associations for Professional Physical Therapists
- American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)-: This is an association concerned with, ensuring that movement is optimized so as to, improve upon human experience.
- Doctor of Physical Therapy Visionary Foundation-: The aim is to contribute to physical therapy as a profession, by assisting Doctor of Physical Therapy students’ to improve on healthcare in the future.
- ABPTS Certified Specialists-: This is a certification board for physical therapists who are looking to be specialists.
- Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)-: This society helps support its members, in development and, promotion of high quality innovative patient care.
- Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC)-: This is a body that is interested in ensuring that it oversees the guidance, development and assurance of standards for health professionals and their standards, locally and globally, in the interest of the public.
- Physiotherapy Board of Australia (PBA): The board is concerned with registering physiotherapists and students; and developing guidelines that will guide the physiotherapy profession.
- Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA)-: This association is concerned with the concept of continuing professional education.
- Canadian Orthopractic Manual Therapy Association (COMTA)-: This is an organization, dedicated to providing the public, other health professionals, public officials, and other interested stakeholders, on guidelines as regarding the safety, and scientific, manual manipulation therapy.
- Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA)-: This is an association that is concerned with the integration of evidence and therapeutic skills in practice.
Benefits of Becoming a Physical Therapist
- Helping People: A physical therapist has to work one-on-one with patients, helping them and, seeing them progress through treatments. The physical therapist aids in returning patients to maximum functionality. They are experts at rehabilitating patients, either from injury or disease.
- Job Security: There is a higher than average demand for physical therapists and this is mostly due to the aging population, and babies who are more vulnerable to chronic conditions that require the service of a physical therapist. Current statistics by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are that, the number of physical therapists presently at 185,500 is likely to jump to 241,700 within the next 10 years.
- Becoming a Movement Expert: Physical therapists are highly knowledgeable experts, in the function and movement of the human body. A physical therapist’s main goal is to ensure that pain is reduced, function is restored and disability prevented through the use of electrotherapy, ultrasound, ice and hot packs in addition to, other treatments and techniques.
- Ideal Career for family oriented therapists: The job of a physical therapist is such that they can choose to work part time, especially for those who would love more time, to devote to their families.
- Variety of work settings: Physical therapists can work in hospitals, clinics, home cares, schools especially for those in sports, nursing homes and other settings as well.
- Variety of clients: Physical therapists can have any type of clients and focus on their development, rehabilitation, restoration, chronic needs and any other needs; as their clients’ list cover children, young people, and adults.
- Interaction with people: Physical Therapists get to interact with patients’ one on one, and not from the confines of a desk.
Factors That Deter People from Becoming Physical Therapists
- The ‘Burn Out’ Factor-: Sometimes, the progress of a patient might be too slow and this might lead to a dissatisfied physical therapist. This could be so frustratingly, and could cause a burn out. Also, the job demands depending on the work setting might come to bear on the physical therapist and likely to create a burn out as well.
- Cost of Education-: Due to the long duration, of education, the cost for the education is quite high, as most of the students acquire student loans before completing their course work. Therefore, the first few years of salary of most physical therapists, are used to repay student loans. This can be quite discouraging to those who might like to become physical therapists.
- Long Educational Period-: The educational time, before one can become a physical therapist, is a long and rigorous one. The coursework takes at least, five years. This can be considered, a discouraging factor.
- Few Career Opportunities Change-: Physical Therapists cannot easily switch to other fields without having to acquire more education, or, move up in their clinical, perhaps to a management’s position and so career change for them is quite slim.
- Decent Fitness Level-: For those who have poor health, or aren’t quite fit; the job of a physical therapists might be discouraging- since a physical therapist has to be quite fit.
- Excessive paperwork-: For those who dislike paperwork, this fact might not encourage them to become physical therapists. Physical therapists have to be quite detailed and, keep notes and logs about a patient’s treatment and progress. Also, insurance paperwork and other paper works can keep a physical therapist busy.
How Much Does a Physical Therapist Earn Monthly/Annually?
Physical therapists as part of health care professionals, earn differently across these 4 countries even though pay is also determined by the level of education, experience, and certification acquired:
- In the U.S, as at 2014, the median pay for Physical Therapists in the US was $39.61 per hour and $82,390 per year.
- In the U.K, as at 2015, the average pay for a physiotherapist in the UK is £25,675 per year.
- In Australia, the median annual salary for a physiotherapist is AU$63,683
- In Canada, the median pay for a physiotherapist is C$71,054 per year.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Physical Therapist?
- In the United States
Since Physical Therapy programs are offered as a Master’s program, students can either apply for a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree for 2 to 3 years, or Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) which lasts for 3 years.
- In the U.K
An undergraduate degree takes 3 years in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales but 4 years in Scotland. Pre-registration Master’s degree takes 2 years.
- In Australia
It usually takes one from university level 4 or 5 years and then an optional 2 or 3years for a Master’s Degree.
- In Canada
It takes a maximum of 6 years. 4 years for an undergraduate degree and then since physiotherapy is a master’s program, 2 years.
Educational Requirements Needed to Become a Physical Therapist
In the United States
- Students need to earn a bachelor’s degree, also complete some science pre-requisite courses, gain some observation experience in the area of physical therapy, and submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as well as maintain acceptable grade-point averages. This is so; they could get admission into the graduate degree program for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).
- A DPT program usually takes 3 years to complete and is usually accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
- After completing the accredited physical therapy programs, candidates must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to assess the applicant’s competency in theory, practice and consultation.
- Participation in clinical internships and hands-on clinical courses is also encouraged, and this is mostly volunteer takes about a year.
- After graduate school, some physical therapists might go for their residencies which comprises of 1,500 hours of clinical practice that must be completed within 9 to 36 months.
In the U.K
- Typical entry qualification to study physiotherapy, as an undergraduate is 3 academic GCE ‘A’ level courses or, its equivalent at grades of a distinction level.
- Entry qualification for postgraduate programs require, a degree that has a relevant subject such as, anatomy, physiology, human biology, and biology, with the minimum grade being, an upper second class honors.
- Pre-registration undergraduate and, post graduate physiotherapy courses are available in most universities. An undergraduate degree takes 3 years in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales but 4 years in Scotland. Pre-registration Master’s degree takes 2 years.
- All the courses are approved by the, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and the UK Health and Care Professions Council, who allow successful graduates, use the Physiotherapist title.
- Apart from specific prerequisite subjects like English, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Health and Physical Education; and then a healthy Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) score, anyone who wants to become a registered physiotherapist, will have to take a 4 year Bachelor degree in Physiotherapy, or a five year double degree.
- A graduate may then wish to specialize, in a particular field in physiotherapy. This will involve further postgraduate study, or Master’s Degree which is for 2 years.
- All physiotherapists have to be registered, with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia (PBA), according to the law, before they can practice.
- Registration is usually through the, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and has to be done 4 to 6 weeks, before graduation. The name of the graduate has to appear on the Physiotherapists Register before they can practice.
- Hopeful physiotherapists have to have completed an undergraduate degree before applying, to the university to study physiotherapy, at the Master’s level.
- The entry educational requirement for physiotherapists is a Master’s degree in an accredited university. The courses offered in the Master’s degree should include or relate to pathology, biomechanics, anatomy and physiology.
- The prospective physiotherapists should also undertake 1,000 clinical hours through a hands-on learning experience. They also have to complete the national exams to determine the competence of the graduates. The graduates can also decide to specialize in neurology, orthopedics and cardiorespiratory.
Is a Professional certification Needed to Become a Physical Therapist?
- In the United States
After gaining work experience, some physical therapists might choose to become specialist certified by the board. Certification is done by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). The certification covers specialized areas such as, Geriatric and orthopedics.
The certification is done by physical therapists who want to be formally recognized for their advanced clinical knowledge and experiences. This is to enable the community and patients to identify them.
The exam is designed to objectively measure how the advanced skills and knowledge have been applied as required of physical therapy clinical specialists as described by the Description of Specialty Practice (DSP) for each specialty area.
Candidates have to finish the exam in 6 hours. The exam requirements are that at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice experience, working directly with patients have been undertaken. Before the exam can be undertaken, intending certified physical therapists must assess their readiness to successfully complete the specialist certification process. In assessing themselves, they can make use of certain APTA documents like the Description of Specialty Practice (DSP) which outlines the knowledge and skills related to clinical practice in the specialty area.
Another assessment is the Self-Assessment Tools for Physical Therapists which is designed to help the candidates evaluate their current level of knowledge and skill set in the specialty area, against that of the nationally accepted advanced clinical competencies. The exams can only be taken twice and after that a new application must be submitted. The certification is valid for a period of 10 years, and has no maintenance fees or annual dues to be paid.
Minimum entry requirement is a current licensure to practice physical therapy in the United States, a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in the specialty area, 25% of which must have occurred, within the last 3 years.
- In the U.K
After qualification as a physiotherapist, one is encouraged to develop on knowledge and skills, by attending reflective practice programmes. This contributes to one’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which is a requirement of continual registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy is a course, which will allow successful students apply for, membership of the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP) and, the International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT).
The entry requirement for the course include; current registration with the Health and Care Professions Council, and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, a BSc/BA Honors degree, or its equivalent, and evidence of a minimum of 1500 work hours experience, of using physiotherapy within a neuro-musculoskeletal context, and also appropriate continuing professional development, during the work hour experience.
- In Australia
There are no special certifications; there is an obligation to participate in Continuing Programme Development which includes a minimum of 20 work hours per year and 120 work hours for a 3 year period.
There are really no certifications in Canada, for physiotherapists except the normal degree Master’s course.
How Much Will It Cost You to Obtain a Certification or Degree in Physical Therapy?
- In the United States, the certification fees organized by APTA are for members and non-members. Members pay a total of $1,315 while non-members pay $2,385
- In the United Kingdom, Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy for instance will cost £9,940 for UK students and £17,950 for international students.
- In Australia, the continuing programme development cost ranges from AU$1,000 to 5,000.
- In Canada, a normal master’s degree (Master of Physical Therapy – MPT) costs from C$5,500 per year. The programme lasts for 3 years.
Can You Become a Physical Therapist by Taking an Online Course?
Not really, while there are online physical therapy programs, one cannot become a physical therapist without practical. There are no pure 100% online Physical Therapy degrees; what are offered are a hybrid, which is part online, and the rest offline – lab courses and clinical supervision.
In the United States, an online school must be accredited by the, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) as there are many online schools that claim, to offer Physical Therapy programs and then later switch to something else. Apart from that, the school must be nationally recognized by the U.S Department of Education and the, Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
In Australia, some physiotherapy courses can be studied online but most Bachelor degrees in physiotherapy usually require full time study.
Career Opportunities Opened to Physical Therapists
- Rehabilitation Assistants-: They help administer treatment, that reduces a patient’s pain and help them in regaining mobility. This means that they work under the supervision of health care professionals such as Chiropractors, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists. They also work in fitness centers, rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, retirement homes and offices of physiotherapists.
- Physiotherapy Technician-: They carry out treatment programs under the supervision of the physiotherapist; such as thermotherapy, massages, hydrotherapy, to help rehabilitate injured patients.
- Athletic Therapist-: They work with athletes, and help keep the athlete, free from injury by teaching them how to avoid injuries and also treating injuries that might have been incurred by the athlete.
- Resident Care Worker-: They provide support to individuals in their daily lives- especially to disabled patients. This includes house-keeping, meal preparations, personal hygiene and mobility assistance.
Skills and Personal Traits Needed to Become a Successful Physical Therapist
- Monitoring Skill: The ability to assess the performance of their patients, themselves – the physical therapists – in dealing with the patients, and other staff directly under its supervision.
- Service Oriented Skill: The desire to actively look for ways to help people. This skill is an important one.
- Judgment and Decision Making Skill: This skill is needed by the physical therapist to ascertain, how far with the patient he/she can go before referring for surgery, or more drugs.
- Coordination: A physical therapist coordinates patients physically, so that they can get better. The physical therapist must themselves, be coordinated so that can effectively, coordinate others.
- Equipment Selection: The physical therapist has to ascertain, the best kind of, tools and equipment that will be suitable, for each specific job.
- Persuasion Skill: A physical therapist must be able to effectively, persuade a patient to do exactly, what the therapist wants.
- Active Learning Skill: A physical therapist must seek, and understand the implication of new information, and how it might affect the now, the future, and decision making process.
- Learning Strategies: A physical therapist must select, and use training methods that is appropriate, for a situation when teaching, new things.
- Speaking and Communication Skill: A physical therapist must speak in a clear manner, to effectively convey what he/she intends for the patient to achieve.
Tips and Advice to Help Advance your Quest to Becoming a Physical Therapist
- Building a network: A physical therapist needs to build a strong network with other therapists where they can easily get tips on how to make their job better, for the benefit of the patient. A network also involves, one stepping out to help others and asking for help, when it is needed as well.
- Developing yourself: A physical therapist has to know his strengths, and weaknesses. While the weaknesses might be improved upon, the strengths are to also be built on. Also, talents like acupuncture can be acquired, as this might not only, make the therapist indispensable; it would increase his salary, and build his profile as well.
- Having a Career Development Plan: This means plotting a career course and taking the steps required to achieve this career course by having a plan. This might imply that one gets the necessary skill set required to be able to advance their career and also by setting and meeting milestones. This is by finding out the needed skill set required, to advance and acquiring it.
- Committing yourself to advancing your career: Commitment is a criterion to advancement, only those that focus on getting better do. A physical therapist is a health care professional, who offers individualized hands on approach to patients. A physical therapist not only works with the patients, but with the physician as well; this is so because the outcome, of a physical therapist’s treatment plan has to be relayed, to the patient’s physician, doctor, dentist etc. A physical therapist uses a combination of methods, and techniques like ultrasound, hot packs, electrotherapy to help a patient get better. The cornerstone of a physical therapists’s training are theraupatic exercise and functional training.
- The field of physical therapy is broad, and there are number of specialty areas for, physical therapists. The areas are Geriatric, Integumentary, Neurological, Orthopedic, Pediatric, Sports, Women’s health, Palliative care, Clinical Electrophysiology, and Cardiovascular and pulmonary physiotherapy. These areas have special certifications and educational training, which have to be attained before a physical therapist, can practice.
- Physical therapists or physiotherapists need to be fit, have a sense of empathy, be good in paperwork as they would need to, and constantly write down their treatment plans, progress reports, and notes.
- The educational requirements needed before one, can become a physical therapists is highly rigorous, and also includes contents and learning experience in clinical sciences.
This therefore means that, those wanting to be physical therapists or physiotherapists, have to be armed with the knowledge of what it takes, before venturing into it, because the knowledge that will be garnered will go a long way in helping out.
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