Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy (BSPT) is a five year degree program that teaches students the knowledge and skills in the rehabilitation and treatment of individuals with disabilities resulting from injury, illness and aging.
Under the program, students are trained in different methods on how to restore physical function, such as the use of hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, radiant and superficial heating, therapeutic ultrasound and therapeutic exercise regimens and techniques, patient education and training.
The BSPT program not only concentrates on the restoration of physical functioning, but also with the development, improvement and maintenance of overall health and well-being.
Subjects and Curriculum
In this five-year course, the first two years are spent in classroom lectures discussing general education subjects aimed to strengthen intellectual foundation. The third and fourth years focus on professional courses considered essential to the practice of Physical Therapy; this is taught to students through discussion and return demonstrations. The Clinical Internship Program will come in the fifth and final year. This is a supervised clinical experience in different affiliate hospitals and centers.As a requirement for graduation, a student must accomplish a clinical paper. This is supervised by a research adviser and culminates when the student faces a panel composed of faculty members and an expert on the field of physical therapy.
The subjects in the BSPT curriculum are divided into three main categories:
- General Education Courses:
- Language and Humanities: English, Filipino, Philosophy, Logic, Literature
- Mathematics, Natural Science and Information Technology: Mathematics, Basic Statistics, Chemistry, Physics, Computer
- Social Sciences: General Psychology, General Anthropology/Sociology, Health Economics
- Biological Sciences: General Biology, Zoology
- Mandated Subjects: Rizal Life Works and Writings, Philippine History and Constitution
- Core Courses:
- Ethics in Physical Therapy
- Basic Sciences: Anatomy and Physiology, Gross and Organ System Anatomy, Kinesiology, Physiology, Neuroanatomy, Human Development
- Medical Foundation: General Medical Conditions, General Surgical Conditions, Neurology, Psychiatric Foundations for PT, Pathology
- Organization and Administration
- Research 1
- Professional Courses:
- Physical Therapy Foundations: PT 1 to 4, Therapeutic Exercises 1 to 3, Orthotics and Prosthetics
- Clinical Application: Clinical Education (CBR), Clinical Education 1 to 2, Seminar 1 to 2
- Research 2
Is Physical Therapy a profession?
Physical Therapy is a profession. A graduate of BSPT who passes the Physical Therapist Licensure Examination is called a Registered Physical Therapist.
The responsibilities of a Physical Therapist include:
- Meeting patient's needs and providing care by assessing and interpreting evaluations and test results; determining physical therapy treatment plans in consultation with physicians or by prescription.
- Helping patients accomplish treatment plans and accept therapeutic devices by administering manual exercises; instructing, encouraging, and assisting patients in performing physical activities, such as non-manual exercises, ambulatory functional activities, and daily-living activities and in using assistive and supportive devices, such as crutches, canes, and prostheses.
- Administering physical therapy treatments by giving massages; initiating traction; applying physical agents; utilizing hydrotherapy tanks and whirlpool baths, moist packs, ultraviolet and infrared lamps, and ultrasound machines; directing treatments given by aides, technicians, and assistants.
- Evaluating effects of physical therapy treatments and fit of prosthetic and orthotic devices by observing, noting, and evaluating patient's progress; recommending adjustments and modifications.
- Completing discharge planning by consulting with physicians, nurses, social workers, and other health care workers; contributing to patient care conferences.
- Assuring continuation of therapeutic plan following discharge by designing home exercise programs; instructing patients, families, and caregivers in home exercise programs; recommending and/or providing assistive equipment; recommending outpatient or home health follow-up programs.
- Documenting patient care services by charting in patient and department records.
- Ensuring operation of equipment by completing preventive maintenance requirements; following manufacturer's instructions; troubleshooting malfunctions; calling for repairs.
What are the admission requirements for the BS in Physical Therapy program?
Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
(see sources 1, 2, 3)
- Must be a high school graduate.
Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
- High School Scholastic Standing: some schools require a specific high school general average.
- National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT): some schools require a minimum score in the NSAT.
- College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
- Physical Therapy Admission Test: must pass a qualifying examination for Physical Therapy. This is to determine whether an applicant is fir to take BSPT.
- Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.
What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?
- Patient Care Skills – the ability to understand and take care of patients from all ages and walks of life; involves empathy, compassion and the sincere desire to help the sick.
- Observation skills – ability to demonstrate skills in observation. In particular, a student must be able to accurately observe a patient and acquire visual, auditory and tactile information.
- Clinical efficiency – the ability to use medical instruments and supportive devices in the care of patients.
- Scientifically inclined – has wide knowledge about science and is able to understand and connect certain concepts together; very essential because BSPT is a science based program.
- Communication skills – ability to speak, hear and observe patients and coherently summarize a patient's condition and management plan, verbally and in writing; ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families, employees and other health-care practitioners
- Analytical skills – the ability to understand complex medical situations, create connections among different clinical manifestations and make sensible decisions to implement plan of care
How difficult is BS in Physical Therapy?
BS in Physical Therapy is one of the hardest medical related programs in the Philippines. Its curriculum is very comprehensive and filled with a variety of science subjects which are highly technical and difficult to understand.
Besides Engineering courses, only a few undergraduate courses take five years to complete, and BS Physical Therapy is one of them. Aside from its 5 year curriculum, BSPT is a difficult course mainly because it teaches all possible diseases and injuries that may cause physical disability. To add up to this, there are numerous Physical Therapy Techniques that a student must practice, and incorporating these to different medical conditions takes time to learn.
How long does it take to complete the BSPT program in the Philippines?
The BSPT program takes five years to complete. The program may be completed in less than 4 years in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.
The fifth year of the BSPT program is spent in different tertiary hospitals doing clinical internship. The internship program involves assigning students to different affiliate centers such as tertiary hospitals and physical therapy clinics that cater to different client populations. The internship program follows a clinical rotation which means that a student will be assigned in different affiliate centers in specific timeframes. The program is done under the guidance of a Registered Physical Therapist employed in the affiliation center, and a faculty member. The required number of hours is 1,500.
During the course of their training the interns are rotated in different clinical areas that have patients who need physical therapy. (see source)
Physical Therapist Licensure Examination
To become a Registered Physical Therapist in the Philippines, a graduate of BS in Physical Therapy needs to pass the Physical Therapist Licensure Examination. The examination is conducted by the Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) (PRC). The exam is conducted twice a year in the months of February and August.
The following subjects are covered in the exam:
In order to pass the examination, a candidate must obtain a weighted average of at least 75% with no rating below 60% in any subject.
- Physiology and general medical and surgical conditions
- Physical therapy applications
- Therapeutic exercises
- Principles of rehabilitation and hydrotherapy.
Career Opportunities for BS in Physical Therapy graduates
Jobs for Registered Physical Therapists (board exam passers)
- Physical Therapist Clinician – in various settings such as hospitals, outpatient physical therapy clinic, athletic and sports training facilities, skilled nursing facilities, hospices, corporate and industrial settings – plan, organize, assess and participate in rehab programs that improve mobility, increase strength, relieve pain and decrease or prevent deformity of patients that suffer from injury or disease.
- Geriatric Physical Therapist – a geriatric physical therapist will work with patients to help them reduce pain, increase their fitness levels and be as mobile as possible.
- Orthopedic Physical Therapist – a physical therapist specializing in orthopedics treats diagnoses and manages injuries and disorders of an individual's musculoskeletal system. They could also work with patients as they recover from orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic PTs tend to work in an outpatient treatment setting, helping patients with sports injuries, amputation, post-operative joint pain, arthritis and other conditions.
- Pediatric Physical Therapist – help detect health problems in young people from babies to adolescents; diagnose and treat patients for diseases, disorders and injuries that affect joints, bones and muscles, help your young patients improve their balance, gross/fine motor skills, strength and endurance and more.
- Neurological Physical Therapist – patients who have ALS, a brain injury, cerebral palsy, MS, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease, a spinal cord injury, brain injury, or other disability/injury often work with physical therapists in their recovery.
- Traveling Physical Therapist – works in a variety of PT settings and with different types of patients while traveling from one place to another.
- Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapist – focuses on helping individuals who suffer from cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions, such as heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis.
- Vestibular Rehabilitation Physical Therapist – focuses on helping patients with balance problems caused by deficits in the inner ear, such as vertigo or dizziness.
- Physical Therapist on Women’s Health – focuses on helping women to relieve pelvic pain, reduce lymphatic swelling, and control urinary incontinence.
Jobs for Non Board Passers:
- Physical Therapist Assistant – assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.
Jobs not related to physical therapy, that graduates can apply to
- Call center agent – answers phone calls and inquiries of clients and provides customer support, usually to people from other countries
- Administrative Staff – personnel responsible for the organization and management of office duties and tasks; positions that include office secretary, personal assistant and office clerk
- Freelancer working online – doing online jobs for clients abroad, such as data entry, article writing, SEO, customer support, administrative support etc., which mainly depends on your skills
Career Opportunities Abroad According to a study conducted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Filipino Physical Therapists are in demand in the United States.
To practice Physical Therapy in the United States, a Filipino Physical Therapist must pass the United States National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) (see source). Once you pass this test, you will need to acquire a physical therapist license in the specific state that you intend to work in.
(See sources 1, 2, 3)
Salary Levels A Physical Therapist in the Philippines with 1 to 4 years of experience, can expect a salary of between P7,000 to P13,000 per month (see source).