How to Become a Physical Therapist in the Philippines
If you are a fresh high school graduate or shifting careers and you are thinking of what course to pursue in college, you may consider reading this article about becoming a physical therapist. It will give you a general idea of what the course is like and determine whether this program is for you.
Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy Program is a 5-year course in the Philippines. If you want a challenging career in the medical field with good salary rates maybe you could consider becoming a physical therapist. You have to enroll in a school that offers a Physical Therapy program. The first two years of study mainly involves subjects in Arts and Sciences which include basics like Math, Physics, Chemistry, English, Social Studies, et cetera.
After completing the Pre-PT Arts and Sciences for two years you will then undergo a qualifying examination for third year physical therapy proper. At this stage, you have to pass a qualifying examination to be eligible for third year PT proper. If you are lucky to pass the test, your subjects on the third and fourth years would now include, Anatomy 1 to 3, Physiology 1 to 3, Therapeutic Exercises, Psychology, Hydrotherapy, Electrotherapy, Neuroanatomy, Kinesiology, and Orthopedics. Mind you that taking these subjects is not a walk in the park. You have to a good memory and ready to put most of your time understanding them.
Once you have completed the second two years of theoretical studies, you will then proceed to the Clinical Internship Program for one year. You will now be assigned to different PT Clinics both private and public clinical or hospital settings. This is where the excitement is. You will have a chance to handle different cases from pediatric patients, geriatric patients, sports injuries and many other cases you have not encountered. You will also be trained to write Subjective, Objective Assessment Plan (SOAP) notes for your patients so by this time you should be really very good in patient assessment or else you would not be able to work on your notes correctly as this is very vital for medical records purposes and therapy planning. Physiatrists usually refer to these SOAP notes when doing PT plan and check on patient history and treatment progress.
Clinical internship program for physical therapists is fun and challenging. You have a chance to meet different interns from different PT schools every month as you hop from one clinic to another and you will encounter so many cases like stroke, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis patients to name a few. Treating patients with these cases are being taught during the internship. You will also have the chance to be trained in different PT modalities and apply techniques on actual patients with supervision from licensed PTs.
After a year of clinical internship rotations and you did well and pass the program, you will now be eligible for another examination prior to be able to graduate from the program. These examinations are written and oral revalida (revalidation). Your skills and everything you have learned for 5 years in both classroom and clinical settings will be put to a test. This is a one day examination but if you did not do your home work and you failed, you will not graduate and will undertake another three months of refresher course which of course will be a waste of time so I suggest that you study hard and do your home work. In the oral revalida, usually there are panel doctors (Physiatrists) and licensed PTs who will be asking you questions and you will be asked to present a case and work on SOAP notes regarding your case, say for example a case of spinal cord injury patient. The case is not pre-selected but rather is given to you at random. You will never know what case you will be defending in your revalida so you really need to study hard and recall everything you have learned since third year proper until your clinical internship program.
If you are successful and you passed the written and oral revalida, you graduate from the program and no…you are not done yet! You need to prepare next for your licensure examination, The Board of Physical Therapy Licensure Exam. You need to pass this exam in order for you to practice physical therapy in the Philippines. A lot of aspiring PTs fails in this exam for not doing their home work. This is one of the toughest board examinations in the Philippines. When I took my licensure examination, out of 2400 who took the exam, only 400 passed. That is how stringent it is. If you pass your licensure exam, you can now practice as a physical therapist in a hospital setting or you can put up a physical therapy clinic of your own. Some choose to take the NPTE and be eligible to work in the US where they get paid more. So if you are interested to become a physical therapist, you should be prepared and be disciplined to study and work hard for it. This occupation is well-paid and is in-demand internationally so it is a career worth embarking on but you should prepare yourself when you plan to take this career because studying this course needs a lot of determination but once you passed all the examinations and you are already a licensed physical therapist, it is really challenging and very rewarding.