So You Want To Be A Physical Therapist?Here at OSI Physical Therapy, we experience a fairly constant fluctuation of students wanting to observe/shadow a physical therapist in hopes of learning a bit more about the profession. According to a recent US News report, a job in physical therapy was rated #7 of the top 100 jobs of 2014 and #5 of healthcare jobs. It is a booming profession that is only expected to grow. Here are some helpful hints of a general pathway towards a physical therapy degree…
In High School:1) Gain as much exposure to science/math courses that pertain to human anatomy, introduction to healthcare careers 2) Spend a day with a physical therapist learning the ins and outs of their day to day job duties
In College:1) The minimum degree to obtain to practice physical therapy is currently a Masters Degree. However, after 2017, the minimal degree will be a Doctorate in Physical therapy. Therefore, one must graduate with an undergraduate degree prior to gaining admission to a physical therapy program. One can choose any degree, but certain degrees are often more applicable and the coursework will often cover many of the prerequisite courses to apply to physical therapy school. 2) Some of those degrees include: Athletic training, exercise and sports science, kinesiology, biology. 3) Although prerequisites differ among each school, here are some of the courses that are likely required: 4) Anatomy 5) Physiology 6) Math- statistics and calculus 7) 2+ physics courses 8) 2+ chemistry courses 9) Biology 10) Psychology 11) Spend a considerable amount of time shadowing a variety of physical therapists. Gain some time observing in a variety of setting- nursing homes, outpatient, hospital (inpatient acute and rehab units). Keep meticulous records of your observation as these hours need to be verified upon filling out applications to PT school. 12) Any additional work/volunteering in a related experience can be helpful on applications and resumes.
Physical Therapy School:1) Must attend an accredited Physical Therapy School 2) The American Physical Therapy Association has a list of accredited physical therapy schools that can be found HERE. 3) School is typically 3 years in length 4) 2-2 1/2 years are spent in the classroom 5) Clinical internships of shorter duration (4-6 weeks in length) are sprinkled throughout the first couple years of PT school 6) Final 6 months-1 year of the program are spent in final internships. They are usually between 10-12 weeks in length at a variety of settings. These internships are used to refine skills and "practice" in a physical therapy setting. Thinking about the process of applying to physical therapy school can seem daunting. We are happy to help field any questions and/or help to gain some experience through observations hours. Feel free to shoot me an email with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck to you on your journey into this AWESOME profession!