Southwest Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Information Headquarters

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Posted by Dani Livsie on Aug 22, 2011 10:37:00 AM

Physical Therapist treating patientCurrently 96% of professional physical therapy programs around the country are graduating students at the DPT level (Doctorate of Physical Therapy). By the year 2015 all graduates must have a DPT.

Admission into these specific programs varies by school and usually includes obtaining an undergraduate degree that includes completion of specific prerequisite coursework with a focus on sciences similar to psychology, biology, physics and chemistry, along with fundamental classes including statistics, english, writing, and humanities.

The application process usually involves volunteer experience or other exposure to the profession, competitive scoring of a standardized graduate examination, letters of recommendation and some kind of personal essay or personal goals statement.

Admission into a DPT program is very competitive and demanding. Keep your options open; apply to more than one school and prepare yourself for the likelihood that you may have to apply more than once.

There are many things to consider when choosing programs to apply for. You want to select a program that best meets your needs; both educationally and personally. These factors can include:

  • Distance from home

  • Requirements for admission

  • Length of program

  • Financial cost

  • Financial aid available

  • Facilities available

  • Licensure pass rates

  • Size of entering class

  • Size of school

  • Student demographics

You can even talk to the current students and ask them questions you may have regarding the program and things they like and dislike about it.Patient Education with Physical Therapist

Once you have been accepted into a DPT program, you will be able to concentrate on the typical 3 years worth of classes that will include coursework in the following areas…

  • Anatomy and physiology

  • Exercise physiology

  • Biomechanics

  • Kinesiology

  • Neuroscience

  • Pharmacology

  • Pathology

  • Ethics/values

  • Evidence-based practice

  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary

On average, 80% of the DPT curriculum comprises classroom (didactic) and lab study and the remaining 20% is dedicated to clinical education.

After graduating you must pass a state-administered national exam, and you will need to meet additional requirements your state licensing board may have, before they will allow you to practice.

If you are a person who is service-oriented, self-assured, motivated, patient, compassionate and enthusiastic about learning, physical therapy could be the career for you!One on One patient care

Topics: physical therapy