More people are now aspiring to become sports physical therapists. Here’s some advice on getting started on your journey to becoming one.

Becoming a sports physical therapist can be an option if you are interested in sports but don’t want to be an athlete. This job requires a lot of knowledge and training, and experience in sports rehab centers.

These professionals assist injured athletes in getting back on their feet. They identify issues and monitor patient development. You’ll need to follow several steps to become a sports physical therapist. Before you start looking for physical therapy jobs, this article explains what steps you need to take to become a sports physical therapist.

Steps to Becoming A Sports Physical Therapist

The Bureau of Labor indicates that a doctorate or professional degree from a CAPTE-accredited institution is required for entry-level positions in physical therapy. 

Each state has its own licensing requirements. These standards must be met by sports physical therapists. They cannot specialize in sports therapy without first qualifying as a sports physical therapist. That’s why you need to Pass the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians) as well.

Bachelor’s Degree

You will need to get a Bachelor’s degree first. Students who are interested in sports physical therapy commonly major in exercise physiology, athletic training, or exercise science.

You might want to look into internships or volunteering at a sports therapy clinic while studying. This will provide valuable experience and information when you apply to graduate programs.

Master’s or Doctorate in Physical Therapy

You must have a bachelor’s degree to apply for a Master’s or Doctorate in Physical Therapy. However, if you’re determined to choose this career path, you should obtain a doctorate.

Get Training

If you want to become a sports physical therapist, the most important thing is getting a lot of academic and first-hand training. Before getting into physical therapy graduate programs, you may have to work or volunteer. For a general experience, clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes are wonderful locations.

Before you apply to graduate school, you might want to get some extra training in your field. For example, you can do sports medicine physical therapy training from the sports therapy clinics. This experience will enhance your appeal as an academic candidate and provide you with a greater understanding of the day-to-day life of a physical therapist.

Obtain a Physical Therapy License

To become a specialist in sports physical therapy, you must get a license. When you work as a sports physical therapist, you need to get hands-on experience with patients who have “primary processes” because they play sports. Therefore, joining the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) is a good idea.

Gain Experience

Before becoming a sports therapist, you need to do two things: work at a sports therapy facility for at least 2,000 hours or do a recognized residency at a medical center.

Get CPR and Emergency Medical Care Certification

To sit for the test required to practice sports physical therapy, you must complete CPR and emergency care training. Enroll in a CPR training class offered by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross to get your CPR certification.

The following methods are available for obtaining certification in emergency medical care:

  • By obtaining the previous certification as an EMT or paramedic.
  • Through a program of training offered by the Red Cross.
  • As a National Athletic Trainers Association-certified athletic trainer.

Get Certification Exam 

To become a sports specialist, you need to have a lot of training and experience. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) offers a certification exam. Before taking exams, you might want to join the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

If you’re a member of the APTA, you can take the test for a reduced price. However, the ABPTS advises registering for the test and preparing for the exam.

Consider the Costs

A private university will be more expensive than a public one. You can expect to pay anything from $28,000 to $45,000 a year. Of course, you’ll also need to budget for things like books, materials, and a place to live.

Choosing a school in your home state reduces your fees significantly. A yearly fee of $8,000 to $12,000 is average in most states.

Skills and Competencies

The following abilities and characteristics are essential for physical therapists who want to be successful in their profession:

  • Active listening: They must be able to pay attention to the queries and concerns of their patients as they relate to their care.
  • Physical strength: Physical strength is a must for those who work with patients since they must be able to move them easily.
  • Service orientation: Success in any healthcare profession requires a strong desire to serve others.


As qualified medical practitioners, sports physical therapists with substantial experience may expect to make a good living. Therefore, getting the proper education, training, and experience to work in sports physical therapy is a must if you are serious about pursuing this career. It is one of the top career ideas for health and fitness enthusiasts. 

We hope this article has provided you with basic guidelines for becoming a sports physical therapist. Best of luck with your journey!


How Much Do Sports Physical Therapists Make?

The average annual salary for a sports physical therapist is $43,278. The demand for physical therapists is predicted to rise by 22% in the coming years, making this a very desirable career option.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Sports PT?

The length of time it takes to become a Sports Physical Therapist depends on the educational path you choose.

Studying part-time will lengthen the time it takes to finish the required academic work and the many clinical hours of practical experience.

Alternatively, if you opt to become a Sports Physical Therapist after earning your PTA certification, the total time required to complete the program is longer.

Your Trusted Provider for In-center and Telerehab >> RUSH Physical Therapy

Hear the latest podcast episode.

Click here for full podcast playlist.