The functions of physical therapists focus on helping patients recover from mobility barriers, whether due to illness such as arthritis or injury such as fractures. Physical therapists assist patients who were incapacitated by accidents or cerebral palsy as they move from motion problems to rehabilitation of motor and normal functions. Patients who have injuries or physical disabilities are provided with comfort and relief from pain gain much from physical therapy. Physical therapy also aids in keeping patients healthy, maintaining body fitness and preventing permanent disability.
Physical therapy has become one the most researched and expanding fields in the last few years. A decade ago, the requirement to become a physical therapist was not very specific; students with a bachelor’s in physical therapy could become physical therapists. If you didn’t have a bachelor’s in physical therapy, a bachelor’s in just about any field allowed you to apply for a master’s degree in physical therapy.
Today, students wanting to become physical therapists need to have taken courses in mathematics, anatomy, chemistry, physics and biology while some universities require additional courses that include anatomical kinesiology, rehabilitation science and organic chemistry. Next, you need to pursue a master’s degree in physical therapy. The master’s degree has foundation courses that brush up on chemistry and biology basics and then move onto harder and much more intense core courses that generally include cardiopulmonary physical therapy courses, musculoskeletal disorder studies, physical therapy and psychosocial issues, neurological physical therapy and extensive physical therapy research.
To obtain a license, students must sit for the National physical therapy exam. This exam has different requirements in every state, so visit the regulatory authority’s website to find out what you need to have and what you need to know before you register. Most exams just test entry level competence of the candidate and most exams just cover the basics familiar to the students who have successfully completed their degrees.
Aside from keeping up with the needs of clients or patients and keeping track of recovery progress, a physical therapist also coordinates with the doctor and other medical experts. A physical therapist needs to monitor the patient’s treatment and recovery and track improvements in motion, strength, motor functions, and coordination. The physical therapist must also ensure if the patient who has been injured through accident or illness can already function in daily life and work again. Physical therapists must know how to skillfully plan out a treatment and make it fit the needs of each unique patient at each level of recovery. A therapist must have dedication, passion, patience and commitment but is rewarded for efforts in helping patients.