The Training Required for a Physical Therapist

Physical Therapists (PT) help people regain strength and movement and alleviate pain, often through modalities such as stretching and exercise. A rehabilitation plan following an injury or to correct an orthopedic condition often includes physical therapy as an important part of the treatment and/or recovery process. Licensed Physical Therapists are highly-trained professionals with many years of study and experience to understand how the body moves and works, to help people feel better and live better lives.

Physical therapists are required to have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). DPT degrees usually take about three years to complete.

Acceptance into a DPT program requires a bachelor’s degree and relevant coursework, which may include anatomy, biology, physics, and chemistry. The DPT program includes study in the areas of physiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, biomechanics and psychology. The degree requires 30 weeks of clinical experience under the supervision of licensed PTs.

Following graduation as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, PTs complete a one-year residency for additional experience in various areas of care, such as for acute injuries like bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, as well as for conditions usually affecting older patients, such as arthritis. PTs also help people with genetic disorders affecting movement. Fellowships are available to further specialize a physical therapist’s area of expertise following his or her residency. DPTs can be board-certified by The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

Licensing of physical therapists is administered at the state level, and requirements vary by state. However, every state requires that PTs pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. This extensive training and licensing program prepares a physical therapist to be an integral member of a patient’s healthcare team during recovery from an injury or illness.

Physical therapists at Tucson Orthopaedic Institute work directly with physicians to develop a treatment plan that is customized for each patient to maximize therapeutic benefit and produce the best possible outcome. Our physical therapists are an integral part of the practice, and orthopedic treatments often cannot be fully realized without their expertise. Contact one of our fully equipped and state-of-the-art Tucson physical therapy centers today for a consultation. You can also request an appointment online right now.