Physical therapist, also called physical therapy, is an allied healthcare profession, which, through evidence-based physical kinesiology, therapy, movement instruction, health education and mobilization, assists in rehabilitation. The physical therapist is responsible for the rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system, particularly skeletal muscle, joints, ligaments, tendons, organs, circulatory and respiratory systems, and mental health and wellbeing.
Physical Therapy is a highly specialized area. Physical therapist education consists of both classroom and clinical training, and includes instruction in physical diagnosis and rehabilitation, patient assessment, diagnosis, therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation. A physical therapist must be licensed and registered with the relevant regulatory body in his state or province, and must meet continuing education requirements to remain eligible for certification.
Physical therapists are supervised by a registered physical therapist or PT. An accredited physical therapy school, such as a university or colleges, usually offers the required training in a classroom setting with supervised clinical practice by a certified physical therapist. The programs and courses offered at physical therapy schools vary, as do the program delivery methods.
A physical therapy training program can be completed in a number of ways. First, the therapist must successfully complete the PT’s examination. Second, an approved physical therapy school offers a program of classes (seminars and/or workshops), clinical practice sessions, and supervised clinical experiences. Third, physical therapist graduates may choose to attend an approved vocational institute (VTI), or some vocational schools or colleges offer a program for physical therapy students at their own pace.
After completing a physical therapy program, a graduate pursues further education in a specific area of physical therapy practice. Most physical therapists choose a specialty, such as orthopedic, geriatric, cardiovascular, neurological, pulmonary rehabilitation, or sports medicine. They may choose to specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics, cardiology, cardiovascular rehabilitation, pediatrics, neurology or pulmonary rehabilitation. Some physical therapy graduates choose to teach physical therapy as a career. Other physical therapist graduates are involved in research studies, consulting, publishing, and other areas of physical therapy.
Physical Therapy schools provide students with a basic knowledge of physical therapy. Students must be aware of the importance of exercise and the importance of movement in supporting a healthy lifestyle. As students progress, they gain practical skills, such as managing patients, providing therapy, administering exercises and performing tests, developing a treatment plan, and maintaining a clinic and other office space. They will learn to identify symptoms, develop a plan for rehabilitation and prescribe and care, and evaluate the health risks. Students should know how to diagnose, measure and manage symptoms, and perform assessment of patients.
A physical therapy school requires its students to pass exams and receive a certificate after completion of their coursework. Graduates are required to take continuing education courses to maintain certification. Most physical therapy schools offer continuing education courses and programs to their graduates. Graduates who wish to specialize in a certain area of physical therapy may earn a specialization designation, such as certification in geriatric or rehabilitation.
If you are considering becoming a physical therapist or are already a physical therapist, it is important to examine the physical therapy school that you are considering attending. This can be done by asking the school’s athletic program director about the curriculum. You should also ask about their accreditation status, professional accreditation, and whether or not they participate in any associations and programs.
If you have an interest in physical therapy as a career, finding a physical therapy school that caters to this type of medical specialty is essential. Some physical therapy schools offer a full range of programs and are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs and the Council on Education in Physical Therapy or CEPT. If you are looking at programs offered at a smaller physical therapy school, you should also inquire about how long the programs are and whether or are they accredited. Many programs last only a year or two at the most, but a full degree program may last up to three years.
Online physical therapy schools are becoming more popular because of their ability to allow students to earn a certificate and degree from their own home, rather than having to travel to physical therapy schools. There are also some online physical therapy schools that offer clinical training, which enables the student to work with patients on their own to prepare them for their primary care physician’s appointments. Online schools also tend to be less expensive than traditional schools, allowing people to complete their programs on their own schedule.
Before committing to enrolling in a physical therapy school, consider the program, coursework, and credentials of the program. Ask about the cost of the classes, the requirements of the physical therapy school, and whether the school is accredited and the accreditation status of the school. You should also check the physical therapy school’s accreditation status and read reviews of the school by past students.