5 Ways to Become a Sports Physical Therapist

Sport players get injured all time.  It’s natural when performing any physical activity, especially contact sports. When a player is injured, his ability rehabilitates and be able to continue his career despite the injury is highly important. That is where a sports physical therapist comes in. Their job is to assess the injury make a plan, and do their best to get the player back on their feet and hopefully back in the game.  If you feel that this is your chosen path, below you will find five steps you need to take to become a sports physical therapist.

Obtain your bachelor’s degree

doooooYou should major in a related field that could be a useful component to your future career, such as kinesiology, health science, biology, pre-physical therapy, or athletic training. Since you have to obtain your doctorate to become a physical therapist, ensure that you are taking the correct classes that will of course coincide with obtaining your bachelor’s and the prerequisites of entering your chosen doctorate program.

Find an internships or an assistant job

Graduate programs prefer or require graduate applicants who have a little bit of experience under their belt.  During your last couple of years of graduate school, or right after, find an internship or assistant position. Not only will you get a little of experience under your belt after you receive your doctorate, but, if you do well, you will also have some great recommendation letters to add to your application.

Obtain your doctorate degree

The doctorate program you attend will prepare you for your career as a physical therapist. The programs you will want to attend are ones accredited by the Commission for Accreditation in Physical Therapy

A speedometer shows the various levels of college degrees

Education. In your doctorate program you will be required to complete a series of academic and clinical classes.  You will also be required to complete a residency program that could last anywhere from a nine months to three years, depending on the program.

Become licensed and obtain your specialty certification

Contact your state associations and offices related to physical therapy to find out the requirements to receive your license. For most states, you will have to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination.  After receiving license, make sure that you are keeping it up to date and renewing it according to state requirements.

After receiving your Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT), you will then want to receive a specialized certification in sports physical therapy, which you can obtain through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).  Some of the requirements include

  • CPR Certification
  • Evidence of knowledge of the national First Responder standards and Emergency Cardiovascular Car guidelines
  • At least 2,000 hours of direct patient care as a licensed physical therapist
    • Or completion of an accredited clinical residency
    • Or enrolled in a residency program with candidacy status

Join the American Physical Therapy Association

Although not a requirement, you do receive a lot of benefits from registering, such as being more accessible to potential requirements and taking continuing education courses that could go towards renewing your license.

APTA-ClogoSo, there you have it.  Although it may seem like a long tedious process, it will prepare you to succeed in your career as a sports physical therapist. Remember that when you are working as a sports physical therapist, your objective is to rehabilitate and hopefully get the player back in the game. The continuance of their career partly rests on you assessment, treatment plan, and your skill. To learn more about sports physical therapy and other careers in the sports industry, continue to browse our site.


I grew up in your typical American family. Mom and dad were together with decent jobs. I had siblings with varying personalities and hobbies. One thing we could count on to bring us together was sports. Mom and dad would host Monday Night Football where friends and family would come, bring food, watch the games, and talk loads of smack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *