As a physical therapist, you play an important role in helping people recover from injuries. A person may suffer from a back or knee injury that prevents him or her from engaging in daily work. Your job is to help rehabilitate the patient and ensure that he or she can carry on daily activities. You may teach the patient how to do certain exercises that allow joints to expand and move in a free manner. You may need to help patients do stretches that increase the circulation of blood in different parts of the body after a surgery. You help patients develop strength in muscles that may be weakened in the body after a surgery or injury. Maybe you have wondered, “How do I become a physical therapist?” When you want to become a physical therapist, it is important for you to complete years of education and pass certain medical exams.
What’s it like to be a physical therapist?
When you are a physical therapist, you work with patients on a daily basis. You may have an established set of patients who you meet with on a weekly basis. You may have to help individuals complete the cycle of exercises that they have for recovery. You may also need to massage certain parts of the body that have been injured. It is important for you to make connections in the medical community. Orthopedic surgeons and doctors will frequently recommend your services to their patients. Referrals may make up a large portion of your business. If you are the owner of a physical therapy center, then you may need to deliver presentations in the local community. It will be your job to inform the public about the ways in which they can treat and prevent injuries. You may also need to meet with patients outside of your normal business hours. You may need to meet with a patient who is recovering from a surgery at his or her home.
To become a physical therapist, you should obtain an undergraduate degree in biology, anatomy or a pre-med program. Upon your completion of an undergraduate program, you will need to apply for physical therapy programs throughout the United States. A physical therapy program usually takes about four years to complete. You should try to apply to graduate programs that are located in your geographic area of interest for practice. You should try to anticipate where you will want to work upon your graduation from the program. You will also need to take the specific license exam for your particular state of practice. It is a good idea to hire a test prep company for your study and preparation. A test prep company will be able to teach you effective methods of studying so that you do not lose time and have to repeat the test.
Salary & How to Get a Job
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a physical therapist is about $76,000 a year. The BLS anticipates that there will be a 40% increase in the demand for physical therapists in the future. If you want to get a job as a physical therapist, then you should apply for positions in a local clinic, private office or hospital.