Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles. Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.
To practice as a PT in the United States, you must earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. A Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences or Exercise Science include most of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program prerequisites; however, any academic baccalaureate degree will be acceptable that includes these prerequisites. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required for entry into most DPT programs. To be accepted into a DPT program, a GPA of at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale and high GRE scores are needed. Most programs also require 45+ job shadowing/experiential hours in the health care field (preferably PT).
Each PT program has different requirements. It is very important to identify early which programs you plan to apply to and to plot out their requirements accordingly.
American Physical Therapy Association www.apta.org
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