How To Become A Physical Therapist

A physical therapist is trained to improve movement and decrease pain within the human body. As a physical therapist, you will work directly with patients. You will listen to patients and come up with individualized goals together. It takes many years to become a physical therapist, including receiving your doctorate degree, completing a residency in a specialty area, and becoming licensed. If you enjoy medicine and helping others, you may find a career as a physical therapist to be especially rewarding.

Why Become A Physical Therapist

Over time, our bodies go through a lot of wear and tear. Sometimes an accident might cause an injury to our bodies. On other occasions, we may have a disease that causes our bodies to act differently. We can go through a lot of pain and discomfort when this happens. We may not be able to use our muscles or limbs or other parts of our body like we used to. This can be an upsetting experience. Many people seek out specialists who can repair their bodies back to their original condition.

Physical therapists are specialists who help people with improving movement and managing pain in the body. These can arise from back and neck injuries, sprains and fractures, neurological disorders, sports injuries, injuries obtained on the job, and other pains. Physical therapists listen to a patient, understand their concerns, and work together to develop goals. They have many techniques that they use with patients to help them work towards their pain management and mobility goals. They often see patients on a frequent and long-term basis in order to help them. Physical therapy is often a holistic medicine with many strategies being implemented in a patient’s life, such as fitness, medication and healthy eating habits.

A physical therapist is an integral part of the medical world. They are responsible for getting people happy, healthy, and feeling better in their bodies. This is a great career choice for somebody who enjoys science and medicine, who is fascinated with the workings of the human body, and wants to help people relieve their pain and heal from injury.

Physical Therapists should possess the following qualities and skills:

Physical Therapist Work Environment

Physical therapists are employed in a variety of settings. Some choose to work in hospitals. Others work in nursing homes and other health care facilities. There are also dedicated physical therapy offices, and some may choose to work for another person’s office, or to go into business and open up their own office. Physical therapists work full time in an office environment. They see several patients through the course of a day. A physical therapist may be able to set their own hours if they set up their own private practice.

Physical Therapist Salary

The median annual wage for physical therapists was $84,020 in May 2015, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are many factors that can affect salary. The venue that a person chooses to work in, such as a hospital, nursing facility, or private clinic, can affect one’s salary. A person who has several years of experience may be able to earn a higher salary. The location that a person resides in, such as a rural neighborhood, a city, or the state a person lives in, may also affect salary. People living in cities typically command higher salaries.

Average Physical Therapist Annual Salary


The average annual salary for physical therapists is $88,080 a year. Salaries start at $59,080 a year and go up to $122,650 a year.

Average Physical Therapist Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a physical therapist is $42.34. Hourly wages are between $28.40 and $58.97 an hour.

Stats were based out of 225,420 employed physical therapists in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Physical Therapists

Top Paying Cities For Physical Therapists

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Physical Therapist Career Outlook

Employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than other occupations in the United States.

Due to recent changes in health care regulations, more people have access to quality, affordable health care. More people are, as a result, seeking out qualified professionals for their medical needs. There will always be a need for medical professionals. There will be a growing need for physical therapists to care for the large elderly population, and people who have other chronic conditions.

Physical Therapist Degree

A physical therapist has many years of experience and education. Read below to find out how to become a physical therapist.

Step 1: Undergraduate education. Enroll in a university program that you are interested in. There are many programs that will give you a strong foundation towards becoming a physical therapist. Possible programs include physical therapy, occupational therapy, kinesiology, physical fitness, biology, anatomy, psychology, or other related programs.

Step 2: Graduate school. The next step is enrolling in a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. Research universities that have well-known physical therapy programs and enroll in the university. A doctor of physical therapy program takes three years to complete. During school, you will take classes such as applied physical therapy, anatomy, life span and human development, pharmacology, and other courses.

Step 3: Become licensed. You must be licensed in the state in which you want to work. You must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). It is a computerized, multiple-choice exam.

Step 4: Complete your residency. After completing your doctor of physical therapy program, you can enroll in a residency program in order to specialize in an area of therapy. These residencies typically last one year.

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