PopularHow To Become A Military Physical Therapist

How To Become A Military Physical Therapist


Physical Therapy Salary And Careers

U.S. Air Force Physical Therapist

Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who work with patients and clients with movement dysfunction to relieve pain, restore function and optimize quality of life. Physical therapists work with a variety of patients and clients, many specialize in working with individuals in certain age groups or with certain conditions, such as musculoskeletal dysfunction, neurologic dysfunction, or sports-related injuries.

A physical therapists caseload may include:

  • An older adult recovering from knee replacement surgery who wants to go for afternoon walks with their grandchildren
  • A recreational tennis player with a rotator cuff tear who hopes to get back on the court next season
  • A military veteran who has lost a limb and is learning to use a prosthetic device
  • A client undergoing chemotherapy whose aerobic capacity is diminished weakened chemotherapy treatment
  • A young adult who sits at a desk throughout the workday and has developed neck, shoulder or back pain as a result
  • A ballet dancer with a heavy performance schedule who wants to prevent or address overuse injuries

Becoming a physical therapist takes hard work and dedication but may lead to a lifetime of helping others and making a difference in the world. Learn about education requirements for physical therapists, the settings where they practice, and their earning potential.

Related Careers In Physical Health

For health care professionals, itâs the people who make the job. Theyâre interested in treating patients and helping them live healthy lifestyles. Such professionals can also pursue a number of other careers that make people a priority, including the ones listed below.

Dietitians and nutritionists

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does Being A Military Pt Have To Offer That Civilian Pt Doesn’t

Unrestricted direct access, no fighting with insurance regarding medical coverage, 100% authority to appropriately prescribe physical therapy interventions , advanced training and ability to order investigative tests , advanced training and ability to perform other medical procedures , and advanced training and ability to prescribe military duty/work and profile restrictions.

You May Like: Can Autistic People Join The Army

What Does A Physical Therapist Do

People who havesuffered serious injuries or illnesses often face difficulties with movement andpain management. They depend on physical therapists to help them recover.Through focused exercise plans and individual attention, these professionalshelp patients restore their range of motion, build strength, improve flexibilityand manage pain as they recuperate.

Physical therapists usually work in private offices, clinics, hospitals or nursing homes. Typically, physical therapy positions are full time, although some therapists work fewer hours or multiple part-time positions. Most physical therapists are scheduled to work during normal business hours, but it is possible to be scheduled on evening or weekend shifts, depending on the environment.

Physical therapists often work as part of a rehabilitation team to provide hands-on therapy, exercises and stretching maneuvers to patients with chronic conditions or serious injuries to ease pain and facilitate health and wellness. Other members of the health care team may include physical therapist assistants, aides, physicians and surgeons.

Expedited Licensure For Spouses Or Domestic Partners Of Active

How To Become A Military Physical Therapist

The PTBC is required to expedite the licensure process for spouses and domestic partners of those on active duty in the Armed Forces. This does not mean a license must be issued, but simply requires the process to be accelerated. Reference: Business and Professions Code section 115.5.

For your license application to be expedited, you must:

  • Apply to the PTBC using the application instructions available here: ,
  • Supply evidence that you are married to, or in a domestic partnership or other legal union with, an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is assigned to a duty station in California under official orders, and
  • Hold a current physical therapist or physical therapist assistant license, as applicable, in another state, district or territory of the United States in the profession or vocation for which you are seeking a license.

For questions, please contact the PTBC at

You May Like: How To Get Military Records For Deceased Family Members

What Is A Physical Therapist In The Air Force

A physical therapist in the air force is the military version of a physical therapist, who helps with regaining mobility after an injury or illness and learning exercises to improve the patient’s quality of life. Just like a civilian physical therapist, an air force physical therapist treats patients using a variety of methods. Some professionals might join the air force and later decide to become a physical therapist, while others will become a physical therapist first and then join the air force.

Related:How To Become a Physical Therapist

Get A Bachelor’s Degree

Air force physical therapists can start their career path in a few different ways. Some might join the air force, earn a bachelor’s degree, become an officer, do their doctorate and then become a physical therapist. Others might earn their bachelor’s before joining and earning their doctorate, while others might complete their entire education before joining the air force. The best option for you is usually an individual choice based on what you want to do with your career and when you decide to pursue physical therapy as a career.

Whatever path you choose, you need to have a bachelor’s degree before you can begin your physical therapy doctorate. You usually have a variety of options for degrees that help you in a career in physical therapy, such as health sciences, kinesiology, biology or even pre-physical therapy. If you’re an airman before you begin your bachelor’s degree, you may be able to apply some of your training as credits towards your degree, depending on your university.

You May Like: Cox Military Discount

Physical Therapy Assistant Specializations

After earning their degree and obtaining a license, some physical therapy assistants decide to specialize in a particular area of therapy. To earn a specialization, you’ll need to gain at least 2,000 hours of relevant work experience and go through 60 hours of additional education courses. Physical therapy assistants can seek certification through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

You can choose to specialize as an assistant in one of the following areas of physical therapy:

Other specializations for physical therapy assistants include:

  • Aquatic therapy

Are There Any Loan Repayment Options Through The Military

Becoming a Physical Therapist or Physiotherapist – Ask Doctor Jo

Yes, there are two primary loan repayment options via the military:

  • Attend US Army Baylor University DPT for free tuition and a salary.
  • Attend civilian DPT school and apply to Direct Commission into the military. Secondly, apply to the Health Professions Loan Repayment Program – at this time US Air Force is $80,000 over 2 years with a 25% tax .
  • You May Like: Should I Join The Military At 30

    Work Environment For Air Force Physical Therapists

    Primarily, air force physical therapists work in similar environments to civilian physical therapists, which means they work in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers and other medical facilities. Air force physical therapists, however, work specifically in military facilities and their patients are other airmen. Some air force physical therapists get deployed overseas to areas where combat is happening, however they are usually working out of a field hospital or a similar base setup. Additionally, air force physical therapists might be stationed overseas in a permanent duty station in countries like Germany or Japan, or they might be stationed in the United States.

    Earn An Associate Degree From An Accredited Institution

    The first step to becoming a physical therapy assistant is to earn a post-secondary degree from an associate’s program. Look for a program that’s accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association . An associate degree for physical therapy assistance will provide you with the necessary background in rehabilitation procedures and clinical practice.

    These two-year programs focus on medical and healthcare coursework with lab studies. Students often undergo training to earn certifications for basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation as well. Toward the end of your degree, you’ll focus heavily on training outside the classroom through clinical practicums involving real patients and supervision from medical professionals.

    You May Like: Can You Have Autism In The Military

    Outlook For Physical Therapists

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment opportunities for physical therapists will grow 36 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average of all occupations. The overall demand is expected to stem from the increase in physical therapy services for aging baby boomers. The aging population is more likely to suffer from heart attacks, strokes and injuries affecting mobility, all of which can require physical therapy as part of rehabilitation. More cases of patients with chronic conditions such as obesity and asthma are also expected, and physical therapists will be needed to help patients maintain their mobility.

    Major advances in medical technology will also likely play a role in the increased need for PTs, as survival rates increase for trauma victims and newborns with birth defects. These patients will require rehabilitative care to recover from surgeries. The Affordable Care Act may also increase the number of individuals with access to physical therapy services.

    Select a state below for more information about employment and job growth for physical therapists.

    How Is The Mentorship


    There are plenty of opportunities for mentorship in the military including, advanced training courses annually, first-year sponsorship programs, mandatory online or in-person orthopedic residency , and sports residency at West Point.

    There are further opportunities to obtain certifications, including fellowships in tactical sports physical therapy at the US Air Force Academy and orthopedic manual physical therapy , Doctor of Science programs, and PhD programs. The resources are there, you just need to seek them out.

    Read Also: Can Someone With High Functioning Autism Join The Military

    What Does It Mean To Be An Embedded Pt

    To be embedded in a unit means that our HPT is on-site at the same location as the squadron. The team is dedicated to providing care and services solely to that unit. When a member needs treatment, they are able to come directly to us without a referral. This means they receive treatment much more rapidly than if they were to go through their assigned medical treatment facility .

    History Of The Alumni Association

    After 10 years of informal alumni activity, the Alumni Association-US Army Entry Level Programs for the Physical Therapist became a formal organization in June 1983 with the adoption of by-laws and election of officers and directors. Articles of Incorporation were signed on 24 April 1987. Graduates of all US Army entry level programs for the physical therapist since 1918 as well as graduates of any of the Army Physical Therapist education programs, including the DSc degrees in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, are eligible for Regular Membership. There is also an Associate Membership category for those who have received their basic professional physical therapy education in other programs. The Association is recognized by the IRS as a 501 c and 501 c . All donations are tax deductible.

    Recommended Reading: Veterans Discount At Sears

    Complete A Doctor Of Physical Therapy Program

    Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, you might decide to join the air force if you haven’t already and then pursue your doctorate in physical therapy after you’ve joined. Those with a degree who are in the military are qualified to become officers, so depending on your timeline you might do officer training before your doctorate or you might do it after. Your doctorate teaches you all the necessary information to work as a physical therapist.

    Additionally, there are some physical therapy doctorate programs that are specifically made for military members, which may have features that are particularly helpful for those in the military. These programs are not the only doctorate a physical therapist in the air force can earn, but they might make it easier if you’re already in the air force. You may even be able to work as a physical therapist while you complete your training if you’re already in the air force.

    How Much Is Manual Therapy Vs Exercise Vs Education

    U.S. Army Physical Therapist

    Military physical therapy demands simple, effective, and efficient medical care at a minimum. My evaluation emphasizes ruling out sinister stuff, re-assuring and educating, and promoting self-care and independence. A visit with me usually consists of 60% education/advice/re-assurance/strategic health planning, 30% exercise demonstration/prescription, and 10% manual therapy.

    Also Check: Can Someone With Autism Join The Military

    Spot The Difference: Working As A Pt For The Us Air Force Army Or Navy

    As Ive said many time before, when youre an active-duty military PT, you are a military officer first and a PT second. Due to this, its important to understand what each branch requires of its PTs before choosing to apply. Physical therapists can work for the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy as active-duty service members. The U.S. Marine Corps does not currently have a physical therapy service. Heres a quick breakdown of the mostly subtle differences you can expect.

    Physical Therapy Assistant Education Requirements And Specializations

    Working as a physical therapy assistant to provide rehabilitative care for patients is a growing healthcare occupation. This position requires less formal schooling than it takes to become a physical therapist, and in many cases, physical therapy assistants provide much of the needed care for patients suffering from various illnesses and injuries that limit mobility or independence. If you’re interested in pursuing a healthcare career that offers opportunities for professional growth and a favorable job outlook, this may be the right job to pursue.

    In this article, we explore the role of a physical therapy assistant, explain the type of education you need to become a physical therapist assistant and share areas where you can earn a designation for specialized therapeutic care.

    Don’t Miss: Do Sears Offer Military Discounts

    What Is A Physical Therapy Assistant

    A physical therapy assistant is a rehabilitative healthcare professional who works under the direction of a physical therapist to administer care. Physical therapy assistants work to help patients regain mobility after an injury, surgery or illness. They provide exercises to help relieve pain, overcome physical disabilities and increase motion for patients of all ages. They also observe patients in all stages of treatment to facilitate their journey toward wellness.

    Physical therapy assistants differ from physical therapy aids or technicians who are not licensed to provide therapeutic care by some medical providers. A physical therapist assistant must undergo certain training to earn the distinction and be approved to work with patients in any healthcare facility.

    A physical therapist assistant may perform the following exercises and techniques to help patients recover and maintain physical wellness:

    • Therapeutic massage

    Pursue Continuing Education Credits

    army physical therapist aims to prevent treat and heal u s army scaled U.S. Army …” alt=”Army Physical Therapist Aims to Prevent, Treat, and Heal > U.S. Army …”>

    Depending on the state where you practice, there are varying requirements for physical therapy assistants to earn continuing education credits. The American Physical Therapy Association hosts courses and offers guidelines on how physical therapist assistants should train for next-level skills and increased knowledge. In some cases, continuing education credits are required to renew your certification after a certain amount of time has passed.

    Read more:How to Become a Physical Therapy Assistant

    Recommended Reading: Does Wayfair Have A Military Discount

    So What Are The Negatives

    Military bases usually arent located in the most exciting areas. I have a little over an hour ride to work because I choose to live in Raleigh where there is a lot more going on. This is really the only thing I could complain about, but I just utilize the driving time to listen to audiobooks and podcasts.

    Because of location, it is sometimes difficult to fill open physical therapy spots. This means, these jobs are not as scarce as you think. I actually got my job by applying to a post on Indeed. Still to this day, I see other contracting companies with ads up for similar positions as well. If you are willing to relocate, I think the job opportunities are out there if you just look.

    *I do want to mention that in addition to embedded physical therapists, there are also outpatient and inpatient physical therapists at the MTFs and hospitals on base, as well as in VA hospitals and medical clinics. However, I have never held one of these positions and therefore cannot speak to them.*

    Do You Have To Move Around A Lot Or Live In Certain Places

    A 3-4 year length of stay is required if you are stationed in the United States a 1-2 year length of stay is required if you are stationed abroad. Every year you have the potential opportunity to deploy for 6-8 months or go on a humanitarian relief mission for 1-2 months. Additionally, there are many opportunities to go on temporary duty assignments to other bases for continuing education, residency, fellowship, and/or doctoral training .

    Recommended Reading: Cox Veteran Discount

    What Kind Of Skills Are Required To Be A Military Pt

    Military physical training is a very strenuous and demanding process. It requires high levels of physical fitness, strength, endurance and mental stamina. The military PT program is designed to help recruits meet these requirements.

    The skills required for this position are:

    • Strength the ability to lift heavy weights or perform rigorous exercises
    • Endurance the ability to maintain a high level of energy and focus for long periods of time
    • Mental stamina the ability to stay calm under pressure and keep going when it feels like you cant take another step

    Did You Know Beforehand That You Wanted To Be A Military Pt Or Did You Decide During/after School

    ? Physical Therapy in the Navy

    I had an inkling before DPT school that I’d probably pursue a career as a military PT, mostly secondary to early exposure from my father serving in the US Marine Corps. That inkling quickly blossomed into a full-fledged desire to be a military PT during my first year at Arcadia University.

    To state it shortly, my primary reasons for pursuing the military were my desire to practice clinically at the highest level that my education allowed , the ability to travel the country and the world, and the honor to serve my country and rehabilitate those men and women that keep us safe.

    Read Also: Autism Military Enlistment

    Popular Articles

    How To Make A Navy Federal Account

    Transfer And Payment Pro Tips How...

    Can I Go To College After The Military

    Working Toward A Degree From Ucla ...

    Does The Military Offer Pet Insurance

    How Much Does Usaa Pet Insurance Cost ...

    Does Royal Caribbean Have Military Discount

    How Much Is Our Military Discount On Royal Caribbean Cruises ...

    How To Get To The Military

    Where Does Basic Training Take Place ...

    What Branch Of Military Is Right For Me

    The Us Military: A Brief Overview ...

    Must read

    How To Make A Navy Federal Account

    Transfer And...

    Can I Go To College After The Military

    Working Toward...

    You might also likeRELATED
    Recommended to you