A physical therapist is a medical professional who treats people suffering from physical health problems like arthritis, head injuries, knee problems, sports injuries, back pain, and stroke.
Physical Therapy Education Requirements
Earlier, physical therapist requirements consisted of only a graduation degree in physical therapy. However, in the late 1990s, a master's degree and a PhD were also added. Basically, there are four physical therapist degree courses that a person can choose from to become a physical therapist.
Transitional Master's Degree in Physical Therapy
A person who wants to do this degree should first have a graduation degree in physical therapy. Transitional master's degree is a two-year long program.
During the program, students have to learn about subjects like neurology, pediatrics, pulmonary testing and management, orthopedics, geriatrics, orthotics, and prosthetics. They may also have to do a research project during their course period.
Direct Entry Master's Degree in Physical Therapy
Direct entry master's degree is for people who have graduated in some other field and have a keen interest in taking up physical therapy. Like the transitional master's degree, even this course spans two years; however, the curriculum is a little different.
During the first year of the course, students are exposed to the basic concepts of physical therapy, while the second year is an internship in a hospital or clinic where they will get practical experience of being a physical therapist.
Transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy
As in all the other fields, even in the field of physical therapy, the higher the degree, the higher is the position, as well as the pay. The qualification after a master's degree is the doctor's degree.
Physical therapy school requirements for students who want to do a transitional doctor's degree, is a bachelor's and master's degree in physical therapy. Here, the students are given advanced education in physical therapy.
Direct Entry Doctorate in Physical Therapy
People who have completed their graduation in some other subject and are interested in becoming a physical therapist can take up this course and earn the title of doctor in three years time.
People who are not interested in becoming physical therapists, but would like to attain related jobs in this field can opt for a two-year associate degree to become a physical therapist assistant.
This course gives the student knowledge about physical therapy principles and practice, neurological and orthopedic disabilities and treatments, functional kinesiology, basic patient care, anatomy, developmental disabilities, clinical practice, and physiology.
Specialty Areas in Physical Therapy
The field of physical therapy has various sections, and students can opt for one that they are interested in.
Pediatric physiotherapists, as the name suggests, work with children who suffer from physical problems. Children who suffer from developmental disabilities, spina bifida, skeletal, congenital, and neuromuscular problems are treated by them.
Fulfilling the aforementioned prerequisites of a physiotherapy degree is the first step towards becoming a physical therapist.