How to Become a Physical Therapist in 2014
If you are interested in making a difference in patients’ day-to-day lives and would like a secure and good-paying career at the same time, pursuing a career in the field of physical therapy is an excellent option. Although it can take a lot of education and effort to get there, you are sure to be glad that you took these steps when you are able to enjoy a fulfilling, interesting and lucrative position as a physical therapist.
Why Become a Physical Therapist?
Working in the field of physical therapy is a great way to enjoy job security, flexibility and a good income. In fact, physical therapy careers are one of the 30 most rapid-growing jobs out there, and they can provide you with an average income of more than $75,000 a year. Some physical therapists even make six figures.
Many people find that working as a physical therapist is highly fulfilling. You can help people recover from illnesses and injuries, and you can really make a difference in your patients’ everyday lives. You can also choose from various job opportunities and even go into business for yourself with your own private physical therapy practice.
How to Become a Physical Therapist
First and foremost, you will need to complete the necessary schooling to become a physical therapist. After graduating from high school, you can start with a two-year Associate’s degree program; this will allow you to work as a physical therapy assistant while in school and will provide you with some of the prerequisites that you need to complete your bachelor’s degree.
If you don’t want to work as a physical therapy assistant, you can head straight into a four-year degree program. When choosing your major, you should opt for something that is science-heavy to prepare you for your future studies. For best results, consider looking into the graduate program that you will attend after graduating from your undergraduate studies; then, you can make sure that your chosen degree program suits the prerequisites for the graduate school of your choice.
After graduating with your bachelor’s degree in a science-related field, you will need to apply for and complete a doctorate program in physical therapy.
What to Do After Graduation
Once you have completed both your undergraduate and graduate studies, you will need to follow state guidelines for becoming a licensed physical therapist. In most states, you will be required to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam. Then, you must follow the other guidelines given to become a licensed physical therapist in your state.
You can then begin looking for employment opportunities. Fortunately, there are plenty of different options for physical therapy graduates. For example, you can work in a private outpatient practice or hospital that offers its patients acute care, or you can choose to offer in-home physical therapy. Regardless, building a strong resume and looking for jobs online and in your city will help you find the right physical therapist career for you.