Physical therapy may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you envision natural healing, but this career fits right in. It’s not about prescribing painkillers; you’ll help people heal with exercises and hands-on therapy.
Physical therapists can change a person’s life by alleviating their pain and suffering. Help someone feel better faster.
Those years of studying can pay off. Get facts on physical therapy salary, what top earners in the field make and expected job growth.
To reach your full potential as a physical therapist, you’ll need to earn a doctorate (DPT) from an accredited school.
Learn More About Your Physical Therapy Journey
Physical therapists have an important job to do. Patients who have suffered injury or illness rely on their PT to bring them back to good health. Physical therapists create an individualized plan so a patient can make a full recovery. If you’re a goal-oriented person with a strong desire to help people, becoming a physical therapist could be your next great step. In this holistic career, you’ll meet with people to determine their needs, set goals and demonstrate therapeutic exercises.
You’ll also need a positive attitude since many of your patients will feel discouraged or frustrated at times. Some may even be fearful. Physical therapists need to have compassion and understanding with every client.
The need for physical therapists is growing as the population ages. The demand for talented physical therapists means the earning potential is strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states the median annual income for physical therapists is $85,400. However, PTs are known to earn a higher salary by establishing a good reputation and getting referrals from other medical professionals and patients.
Physical therapy school takes between two and three years to complete. During that time you’ll take courses in anatomy, exercise physiology, research methods and other scientific topics. What do you need to get into physical therapy school? The basic prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree and certain health and science courses. Always check with a specific school for exact requirements.
Need-to-Know School and Career Facts
Physical therapists are regulated in every state. Once you’ve completed your degree program, you’ll need to take state and national licensing exams. Upon passing, you’ll be licensed and ready to work. When researching degrees and schools, inquire about the exam passing rate. This can give you a sense of whether a program prepares you for a career in physical therapy.
If you’re interested in earning professional credentials in a certain area of physical therapy, the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) is your source. To earn certification, you’ll need to take an exam and demonstrate your skills. ABPTS offers certification in pediatrics, sports, women’s health, geriatrics, neurology, clinical electrophysiology, cardiovascular and pulmonary and orthopedics.
Physical therapy school accreditation is important for a number of reasons. Students who attend a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) are eligible for federal financial aid. Even more importantly, graduating from an accredited program allows you to take the national licensing exam.