Becoming a Physical Therapist

If you have a medical condition that limits your ability to move and control parts of your body, you might need physical therapy (PT) to help you heal after surgery or manage your pain. PT is often covered by health insurance, but you should always check with your provider to make sure.

Your PT will work with you to develop and implement a treatment plan that addresses your needs and goals. They’ll show you exercises to do in sessions that will improve your mobility, coordination, and muscle strength. These movements won’t feel good all the time, but it’s important to stick with them and to ask your therapist for tips on how to get through sessions when they are painful.

Depending on your condition, you may need to go to PT for a short period of time or longer. Many people go to PT for sports injuries, such as ACL tears and concussions, or for overuse injuries, like tennis elbow. People with long-term conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, also visit PT to learn how to improve their quality of life through movement and exercise.

If you want to become a physical therapist, you need at least a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate degree in physical therapy (DPT). Programs last three years. Some schools have accelerated programs that let you complete your degree in less time. Once you’ve graduated, you’ll need to pass a national exam and get licensed in your state.

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