Have you ever looked at athletes that go through arthroscopic back surgery, lower back rehabilitation, posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, or other medical procedures, and want to be able to help them?
If you answered yes, you may want to consider becoming a physical therapist at a sports medicine clinic. Physical therapists are health care professionals that are trained in how the body works, moves, and how to treat injuries that temporarily immobilize patients. Their expertise often helps athletes with minor and major surgeries get back on their feet and back to playing faster than they expect.
If you are considering this profession, here are a few steps you will need to take.
- A Degree. Physical therapists are required to have a degree that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. This is usually granted along with a graduate degree in physical therapy, and several therapists seek doctorate degrees to further their education and knowledge.
- A License. Each state in the U.S. requires licensure in order to work in any sports medicine clinic or physical therapy facility. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy offers an exam that students must take at the end of their program to qualify for licensure. The National Physical Therapy Examination tests students on practice, theory, and consultation.
- Specializing. If you plan on focusing on sports medicine, you may want to contact the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties to obtain specific certification. There are eight different certifications you can seek, and you must complete at least 2,000 hours of practice in your desired specialty area to qualify. You will also have to pass an exam in your desired specialty.
Your urge to help people recover from painful injuries will be greatly appreciated by the patients you work with. It may take you a while to get through the schooling, exams, and certifications, but if you love what you do, it will be worth it.