I would like to become a successful physical therapist. These professionals examine patients and, after that, they develop a treatment plan to promote movement, relieve pain, prevent disability as well as restore function (Physical therapist (PT) careers overview, 2015). This position implies the following responsibilities: functional training, ‘manipulation’ of a joint, giving the patient a massage, using ultrasound, electrotherapy, hot packs and so on.
It is necessary to note that physical therapists mainly work outside of hospitals (Physical therapist (PT) careers overview, 2015). These professionals can work in acute care, rehab facilities, nursing homes, extended care facilities, schools and preschools, wellness, fitness, prevention, home health, hospices, workplaces, research centers. They can also be involved in private practice. The physical therapist can be employed in state and federal settings working with military personnel and civilians.
The median salary of the physical therapist was $81,000 per year in 2013 (Bratcher, n.d.). At that, the highest salary is $113,340 and the lowest is $56,280 (only 10% of physical therapists have such a salary). According to Bratcher (n.d.), the highest salaries are in Laredo (Texas), Las Vegas (Nevada), Brownsville (Texas).
There are several accredited universities and colleges that have programs for future physical therapists. One of the most famous is Belmont University that is located in Nashville (Tennessee), “the US healthcare capital” (School of physical therapy, 2015). In the university, it is possible to gain the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT), which is the highest degree possible in the field. This degree enables a novice physical therapist to enter any settings including research. The applicants should have the Bachelor’s degree or they can be in their senior year of their undergraduate study. The desired GPA is 4 (the range is from 3.0 to 4.0).
The candidates cannot have grades in prerequisite courses less than C. Importantly, the candidates must have completed the prerequisite courses during 10 years before applying for the course. Successful applicants should also have high scores in GRE that has been taken during 5years prior to the application. The candidates should have 8 semester hours and 2 semesters with laboratory in such disciplines as chemistry, physics, biology, human anatomy and physiology. It is also required to have 3 semester hours in statistics and 6 semester hours in behavioral science courses (that comprise courses in anthropology, psychology, ethics and/or sociology). Successful applicants should also have at least 50 hours of volunteer work and/or they should have certain work experience in physical therapy. It is also important to have two recommendation letters from two licensed physical therapists.
After the study, students should get the necessary state-administered accreditation (Physical therapist (PT) careers overview, 2015). The accreditation agency is the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The physical therapist has to obtain the necessary license to be able to work in the field. Clearly, these professionals have significant responsibilities and people have to know that the physical therapist has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to provide high-quality services.
To work as a physical therapist, one does not need a doctoral degree. People can work having bachelor’s degrees and the necessary licensing. However, when a physical therapist wants to work in research, he/she will need the undergraduate degree. Clearly, the salary and number of clients may also depend on the degree a professional has, as physical therapists with doctoral degrees are often more trusted. I have mentioned the requirements for the doctoral degree as I intend to apply when I get the necessary education and experience. I believe that the doctoral degree will enable me to achieve my career goals.
After graduation, a novice physical therapist needs to pass certain examinations. I will choose to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and the necessary jurisprudence exams in the state I will get my bachelor’s degree. It is possible to apply for the license online. The national examination enables students to have certain certification that can be the basis for their work in any state. However, since requirements may slightly differ from state to state, physical therapists are also required to pass the state examination.
It is possible to note that continuing competence is welcomed in the field. There are some tools physical therapists can used to make sure that they have the most recent knowledge and skills. However, this area is still underdeveloped as there are no definite terms to use these tools. Physical therapists can pass state examinations within the period they think is necessary. However, the authorities are working on development of certain standards in this sphere (Continuing competence, 2015).
Of course, I will have to get the highest academic results. I will also have to pass the national and jurisdiction examinations. I will participate in the academic discussion through reading scholarly articles, attending conferences and workshops. I will also pass examinations periodically to make sure I have the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the highest standards.
Next year, I will take the course in physical therapy that will enable me to obtain my bachelor’s degree in the field. My next step will be to apply for the doctoral degree.
I believe this assignment has been valuable for me in many ways. First, I learned more about the profession I want to pursue. I found some new facts during my research. Importantly, I have identified my long-term goals, which is crucial for a person who wants to succeed. The outlined long-term goals help me see what steps I should undertake to achieve these goals. I will be able to come up with a plan for the next few years and it will help me to stay focused.
Bratcher, E.H. (n.d.). . US News. Web.
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