A Step by Step Guide on How to Become a Pediatric Physical Therapist

Do you love working with children? Do you have a passion for helping others live their healthiest lives? If so, a job as a pediatric physical therapist may be for you.

But, how do you become a pediatric physical therapist? While becoming a physical therapist is a long journey, it’s certainly rewarding.

Check out this guide to learn how to become a pediatric physical therapist.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree 

In order to gain entrance into physical therapy school, you first need to earn a bachelor’s degree. While there isn’t an undergraduate program in physical therapy, students are encouraged to major in biology, chemistry, neuroscience, physiology, or some other scientific field.

Since you’ll be working with children, it’s also advisable to earn a minor or to double major in child development or child psychology. Admittance into physical therapy school is very competitive, so do your best to earn high marks in all of your classes.

During undergrad, it can also help to work a job that’s somewhat related to your field. For example, you may want to work in a daycare to learn more about children, or, you may want to work as a receptionist in a physical therapist’s office to learn more about the day-to-day aspects of the job.

Many budding physical therapists also get on-campus jobs as athletic trainers. After earning your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to take your GRE. The GRE is the graduate school exam that, along with your grades and application, will determine what PT schools you can get into.

Complete Your Doctoral Degree  

To become a pediatric physical therapist, you must graduate from a physical therapy program that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

It takes three years of full-time schooling to complete a doctorate of physical therapy, and there are schools you can attend all across the nation. During your program, you’ll receive in-depth training in radiology, pharmacology, and the body systems.

Upon completing your doctoral program, you’ll need to pass the national physical therapy licensure exam to begin practicing as a physical therapist.

Complete an Internship and Pursue Specialty Certification 

While attending graduate school, you’ll need to complete an internship under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Since your goal is to become a pediatric physical therapist, you should do your internship with someone who specializes in this area.

After earning your license, you’ll also want to complete specialty training to work as a pediatric physical therapist. There are also continuing education requirements that you’ll need to complete throughout your career.

You may also wish to one day open your own practice, in which case you’ll need to hire a physical therapist lawyer.

How to Become a Pediatric Physical Therapist: Time to Get Started

Now that you know how to become a pediatric physical therapist, it’s time to start your career journey. Pretty soon, you’ll be a practicing physical therapist and enjoying your dream career.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more career guides and tips.