As a neurological therapist, you are in charge of the evaluation and treatment of individuals with movement problems due to a disease of the nervous system or injuries. Your goal is to help improve the patient’s movement capabilities to improve their quality of life. Neurological physical therapy is essential for patients who might have lost their independence, as this can lead to illnesses such as heart disease, lung problems, and diabetes.
A Neurological PT helps a patient through the evaluation and treatment of neurological functions following the diagnosis of a patient by a physician. Neurological therapists help patients under neurological rehabilitation programs to achieve their overall well-being.
- You will help formulate exercise that allows a patient start to walk or move gradually, you will help a patient achieve simple movement and progress towards strenuous movement with time, and they will be able to walk with regular exercise.
- You will work with patients with different neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
- You will utilize the most recent evidence-based approach in treating conditions while incorporating assistive technologies that help each patient achieve meaning and purpose in their lives once more.
How to Become a Neurological PT
1. Earn a degree in a health-related field
You must have a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field to become a Neurological PT. The degree should have training courses such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology. Check with your learning institution on the courses offered that meets the needed criteria.
2. Complete a doctoral degree program in physical therapyTo become a therapist, you should complete a doctoral degree in the related course. You should apply for the degree program through the Physical Therapist Central Application Service (PTCAS). The course takes almost three academic years, and you have to do an internship in areas such as orthopedic care. The doctoral program should cover subjects such as applied physical therapy, complex conditions, functional anatomy, pharmacotherapy, and life span development.
3. Meet licensing requirements by your stateEach state has its requirements on licensing of Neurological PT; you should, therefore, check with your state on the licensing requirements. Most states require that you pass the National Physical Therapy exams and that you have taken the exams three times in twelve months. Moreover, you also should do law exams and conduct a criminal background check, as most renewal programs require these for you to get a license.
4. Complete an optional residencyMost states will require that you complete a clinical residency form, but this is optional in most cases. Clinical residency helps you get additional training, which helps build experience in your area of specialty.
5. Obtain optional board certificationAfter working as a Neurological PT, you might wish to apply to become a board-certified neurologist specialist. You should complete a 2,000 hours working time on a credited residency program to be a board-certified expert.
Career Outlook and Salary
Neurological PT is one of the careers which are in high demand at the moment, and it is feasible that there will be an upsurge in the requirements of physical therapy requirements in the foreseeable future. The baby boomers generation is expected to age, and they are likely to face neurological issues due to a reduced active lifestyle. The career is projected to grow by more than 20% in the next ten years when compared to other medical fields.
By May 2020, the median Neurological PT annual salary was about $73, 089, and this figure is anticipated to increase with the increasing demand for neurological experts.
A Neurological PT is likely to work rehabilitation settings that deal with patients with various neurological issues. You will provide intense therapy to patients with acute diseases that affect the nervous system, which might be caused by injuries or terminal illnesses.
You can also work in a hospital helping patients with sub-acute neurological conditions; these patients may require less intense rehabilitation, which typically takes about caring for not more than 3 hours in a day.
You can also work on private terms with outpatient clinics where patients can visit your private physical health clinic. Here you set your charges and working schedule with different patients depending on their physical needs.
You can also work as a home health caregiver where you visit the patients at home and provide health care needs at their homes or in other hospice settings.
Career Pros & Cons
• You will get higher pay compared to other health care providers, although money might not be the motivation to work as a Neurological PT, the high pay is a peck for you
• You will be satisfied with your job; as you see patients improve, this will make you feel happy; moreover, in this case, this will motivate you to help patients more.
• You work in a flexible environment that allows you to strike a balanced home and work life. In most cases, you can schedule your time according to the needs of the patient while taking into consideration your family life too.
• You will work in a variety of environments, and you can choose to work in a hospital setting, in a rehabilitation center, or as a home-based caregiver. You have a lot of options to choose from, unlike other medical professionals.
• The profession is on-demand as baby boomers are aging and are likely to face neurological issues related to an inactive lifestyle.
• Moreover, you will become fit when helping your patients attain physical health, and you will formulate moves and help you patient with the exercises
• The profession can be demanding if you are traveling from a hospital to a rehab facility to offer home-based care.
• You must obtain licenses for each state and renew the license after two years.
It would help if you chose to be a Neurological PT as the career is rewarding, as you see patients improve, you would feel satisfied; moreover, the profession pays more than any other medical field. You need to have a bachelor’s degree as well as a doctoral degree in a medical-related field. You will have a variety of working environments, such as hospitals, rehabs, and home-care settings. Furthermore, you can choose the working hours, which makes you strike work and home life balance.