How To Become a Sports Physical Therapist | Education and Salary Guide 2023 (2023)

Learn How To Become A Sports Physical Therapist: Salary And Qualification Requirements

Last update:April 11, 2022byNoah Shaw

How To Become a Sports Physical Therapist | Education and Salary Guide 2023 (1)

career shortcuts

  • how to become
  • Work description
  • day in the life
  • find jobs
  • Salary
  • career prospects
  • Frequent questions

If you answer yes to the following questions, becoming a sports physiotherapist may be for you:

you are acompassionate personlooking for a high energy career?

You areAtléticoand ready for the challenge of physical labor?

are you ready for aintellectually rigorouspath of academic studies?

And last but definitely not least, youI love sports?

Don't be fooled by the words "sport" and "therapy". Sports physiotherapy is not easy and it is not "sensitive". It is intellectually and physically demanding work, but extremely rewarding.

Regarding personal satisfaction,cnn moneygave physical therapy an A grade in 2012.

since 2015,cnn moneycalledBe the director of a private physiotherapy clinicthe 23rd best job in America.

How To Become a Sports Physical Therapist | Education and Salary Guide 2023 (2)

career guidance

  • how to become
  • Work description
  • day in the life
  • find jobs
  • Salary
  • career prospects
  • Frequent questions

Process to become a sports physiotherapist

The educational path of a licensed sports physical therapist isstrict, similar to becoming a licensed lawyer or doctor.

The Bureau of Labor notes that entry-level physical therapy jobs require a Ph.D. or professional degree (Doctor of Physical Therapy) from a CAPTE-accredited program.

All states requireLicense. Sports physiotherapists must meet these same requirements. They cannot specialize in sports without first becoming a physical therapist.

1. Degree

You will need to get agraduation. College students considering physical therapy and sports physical therapy often major in athletic training, exercise physiology, or exercise science.

They may also consider more difficult sciences such as biology, physiology, biochemistry, or biomedicine. These degrees also pave the way for medical school or biomedical engineering careers.

During your degree work, considerinternship or volunteerat a sports therapy clinic. This will provide him with the experience and knowledge that will set you apart when he applies to a graduate program.

2. Master's or Doctorate in Physiotherapy

You must have a bachelor's degree to apply for a master's or doctorate in physical therapy. Most people in the sports physical therapy careerget a PhD.

3. Obtain a Physiotherapy license

To specialize in sports physiotherapy you have to bePractitioner, Licensed Physical Therapist(i.e. pass theNational Physiotherapy Examination).

During your practice as a physical therapist, you must obtaindirect experience in patient carethis includes the evaluation and treatment of patients with “primary processes” as a consequence of sports activity.

It's a good idea to join theAmerican Physical Therapy Association(APTA) as it will save you money and provide networking opportunities later on.

4. Sports certification

According to the American Board of Specialties in Physical Therapy, to become a specialist in sports physical therapy, you must have a current, permanent, or unrestricted license to practice physical therapy in the United States and mustpass the certification exam.

The. Must register and qualify for the Sports Specialty Certification Exam.

Everything will be more expensive if you are not an APTA member. If you are an APTA member, it will cost you $1,315 ($515 to review your file and $800 to pay for the exam).

If you are not a member, your total cost will be $2,385 ($860 review, $1,525 exam).

B. To qualify for the exam, you must have CPR training

In order to take the certification exam, you must also be certified in CPR by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.

w. You must also have emergency response training.

You must also have aCertification as an Emergency Medical Responderby the American Red Cross, certification or license as an Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic, or initial certification as a Certified Athletic Trainer by the Accreditation Council of the National Athletic Trainers Association within the last five years.

d. Must have direct patient care experience (Option A or B)

Option A: To qualify for the exam, you must show evidence of 2,000 hours of direct patient care, 500 hours of which occurred in the three years prior to registering for the exam.

This experience must include examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis and intervention in the specialty area. Please refer to the "Specialty Practice Description: Sports Physical Therapy" available atAPTA Online Store

Option B: You may also present evidence of a residency at an APTA-accredited post-professional sports clinic. To verify that your residency program is accredited, visithere.

For more information, see theABPTS. The Candidate Guide explains all of the above information in more detail.

Work description

According to the Department of Labor,Physical therapists are highly trained professionals.. They usually have a Ph.D. In addition, they play a key role in the rehabilitation and treatment of people with injuries or certain chronic conditions. they usually workin hospitals, nursing homes or private clinics.

Sports physiotherapy, the treatment of sports-related injuries, is aspecialized branch of physiotherapyand has been certified by the American Physical Therapy Association since 1981.

Sports physiotherapy remains a niche field.

Sports physical therapists often have private practices. They may also work in hospitals, doctor's offices, or outpatient clinics. Other options include wellness centers, colleges and universities, or professional sports teams.

See more information: How to become a sex therapist. Find out what it takes to help people live healthier lives as a sex therapist.

What is a normal day like for a sports physiotherapist?

As a sports physiotherapist, you must befit and reasonably strong, as you will likely be on your feet most of the day working with patients and may have to fully support the patient's weight.

See and interview patients.

Much of the day will be devoted to caring for patients, people who are oftenin pain and under stress.

you will have to be acompassionate listener. Put your phone or other devices away and be sure to look at the patient. Take notes later. If the patient agrees, recording the session may be a good idea.

A good sports physiotherapist is able to empathize with the patient and save medical jargon for file notes.

If the patient is new, you will assess the patient's condition and determine what course of action to take; otherwise, she will be evaluating progress and perhaps physically working with the patient.

Physical work with patients.

You'll gowork one-on-one with your patient in treating the injury. For this you will use suspenders, wrap and adhesive tape. You'll also work on exercises to improve mobility and strength, using equipment like parallel bars and exercise balls.

You can even massage the injured area – experience in massage therapy is a definite plus. You can also use equipment such as electrotherapy or ultrasound therapy machines that help heal deep tissue strains and injuries.

If you're working with a team, you might be working on game day or behind the scenes. You'll prepare injured players to return to the field safely, or even assess injuries on the spot.

For example, after being hit hard during a football tackle, you maycommunicate with the player. You will determine how to get him off the field and back to the safety of the locker room, where he will be given a more thorough evaluation.

According to Mike Reinhold, a physical therapist who has worked with Major League Baseball players and has a well-known practice in the Boston area, lateral testing presents its own challenges.

On his award-winning blog, he posted a comment from a sports therapy resident: “I was used [sic] to seeing patients in a nice clean clinic with a high and low table, not on my hands and knees in the mud with rain pounding on the my face".

If you're one of the lucky sports physiotherapists, you can even spend the daythrowing the ball with a recovering major league baseball player.

You can even help professional athletes overcome injuries and make history. Thanks to regular physical therapy, Boston Red Sox pitcher Alain Embree has recovered from "Tommy John surgery," also known as ulnar collateral ligament help the team win the 2004 American League Championship and World Series.

By winning the series, the team broke "the curse of the Bambino," the decades-long slump the Sox faced after the team sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920.

meeting with families

you may needmeet with your patient's familyto explain the treatment plan and prognosis. Depending on the injury, they may need to be involved in the patient's treatment.home treatment.


Any job requires a certain amount of paperwork. In this field, you will need to keep good notes on interviews with your patients. In addition, you will keep the files updated (or delegate the task). you will also needSubmit forms or other documentationto your patient's insurance company.

Your office work will depend on where you specialize. If you are the director of a clinic, you will also have human resources responsibilities and other types of management tasks.

continuing education

To keep your license, your state may require continuing education. If so, you will need to attend and study for these classes (see below).

Professional development

You can participate in the advancement of your field, throughresearch, write and publish.

Resident Mentors

You may be working with physical therapists doing residency in sports physical therapy. This job would involve seeing clients and reviewing the diagnosis and assessment the resident has done, sodiscussing the resultswith the resident.

Are You Fit For A Sports Physiotherapist Career?

Personality and Skills

A good sports physiotherapist isempathetic and can communicate wellwith patients and their loved ones.

A good sports physiotherapist is patient with good interpersonal skills. Much of the work is getting to the heart of the problem, and that starts by talking to the patient.

A good sports physiotherapist cansolve problems and think creatively. They use the latest techniques to help solve the problem and get the patient back on track. This is the case whether the patient is a "weekend warrior" or a high-level professional athlete.

A good sports physiotherapist is usually an athlete orparticipated in sports in the past. This experience helps the therapist understand the competitive nature of an athlete (does the patient not report pain in order to get back on the field faster?).

Certifications and Competencies

See above for a detailed explanation of thelong education requiredto be a sports physiotherapist.

Depending on your condition, as a sports physiotherapist, you may needdo continuing educationto keep your license.

How does a sports physiotherapist find work?

Finding a job as a sports physiotherapistit involves the same process as finding any other job. Networking, talking to people and following leads are part of this. The same goes for all the contacts you made during your studies or residency.

You may choose to start a private practice on your own or with professional friends or acquaintances. However, your client list may be small at first.

Join the American Physical Therapy Association. Membership will open opportunities for employment, continuing education, and networking.

Where you decide to look for work will affect your job search. Sports physical therapy jobs will be more abundant where there are more people involved in sports and athletics. (See below for opportunities at similar wellness centers and holistic treatment facilities.)

What is more difficult is finding the kind of job that many aspiring sports physical therapists dream of. You could work with a professional sports team. again trynetworking and community involvement(Join Toastmasters or local service clubs.) Keep your eyes open and maybe even advertise or promote your walk-in clinic to people in the sports world.

If you've been involved in organized sports, value those connections as well.

What is the average salary of a sports physical therapist?

Sports physiotherapists make good money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2017, physical therapists earned a median hourly wage of $41.76 per hour and a median annual income of $86,850. (Note that the BLS does not distinguish between physical therapists and sports physical therapists.)

The fivestates with the most employmentfrom physical therapists in California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois.

The fiveStates with the highest salariesThey are Nevada, New Jersey, Alaska, Texas, and California.

Sports Physiotherapist Growth and Career Outlook

How To Become a Sports Physical Therapist | Education and Salary Guide 2023 (3)
the tendency toholistic, alternative curecoincided with the growth of physiotherapy and sports physiotherapy. Seeking work in parts of the country where there arehigh percentage of educated and active people involved in sports and exercisecan help you find a well-paying job.

Active and modern people are often drawn to wellness centers where other forms of therapy are used, such as massage, acupuncture, and Reiki healing techniques.

A sports physiotherapist associated with athe wellness centerit could attract patients who might otherwise have chosen to see their GP.

If you're drawn to high-energy, high-paying work with high-energy clients who will keep you on your toes, literally and figuratively, you'll behappy with a career in sports physical therapy.Although education takes time, thethere will be jobswhen you get your certification.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016,there were 239,800 jobs for physiotherapists. The projected outlook from 2016 to 2026 is 28% growth—much faster than averagein other fields. Based on these projections, by 2026 there will be an additional 67,100 jobs available for physical therapists.

frequent questions

How much does a sports physical therapist earn?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2018, physical therapists earned a median salary of $87,930 per year ($42.27 per hour) (

Employment in this field is expected to increase by 22% between 2018 and 2028 (faster than average).

However, the BLS does not separate the salary between a physical therapist or a sports physical therapist.

What is Sports Physiotherapy?

According to, sports physiotherapy is an aspect of health that is specifically concerned with preventing injury and rehabilitating the patient back to optimal functional, occupational and sport-specific levels. , regardless of their age. and skill

A member of the Society of Sports Therapists (SST) has embedded knowledge in five key areas: 1) Prevention 2) Recognition and Assessment 3) Management, Treatment and Referral 4) Rehabilitation 5) Problems of Education and Professional Practice

Where do sports physiotherapists work?

Sports physical therapists often have private practices.

They may also work in hospitals, doctor's offices, or outpatient clinics.

How long does it take to be a sports physical therapist?

In general, 7-8 years.

A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is a postgraduate program.

You must first earn a bachelor's degree (4 years) and most DPT programs last 3 years (

Most admission requirements will also call for paid or voluntary work experience in a physical therapy setting; which seem to range from 100 to 150 hours.

What is the difference between a physical therapist and a sports physical therapist?

You must be a physical therapist to be certified by the sports physical therapy board.

Physical therapists work with everyone to help with recovery (or prevention) from injury.

A sports physical therapist will focus on sports patients, often treating or preventing injuries, helping athletes recover and improve performance.

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