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How to Become a Pelvic Floor Therapist

What does it take to become a Pelvic Floor Therapist?

How to Become a Pelvic Floor TherapistAs awareness of pelvic floor dysfunction continues to grow, patients are discovering that it can be difficult to find a pelvic floor therapist who can treat them. The world needs more clinicians who can treat pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, diastasis recti (mommy tummy), and the many other conditions that constitute pelvic floor/pelvic girdle dysfunction. There are several articles on pelvicrehab.com which give an overview of some of the common pelvic floor conditions in women and common pelvic floor conditions in men. Maybe you are somebody who is motivated to help these patients heal, and aren't sure where to start. This introduction is meant to help you get started as a pelvic floor therapist. You can also read some of our past interviews with featured practitioners to learn about their paths to pelvic rehabilitation on The Pelvic Rehab Report.

Step 1: The License to Practice Pelvic Floor Therapy

The License to Practice Pelvic Floor TherapyIn order to diagnose and treat pelvic floor disorders, you will first need to have an active license that enables you to conduct necessary examinations (internal and external), diagnose conditions, and prescribe treatments. If you are at the stage of deciding which license to get, be sure to consider which state you will be licensed in and look up that state's practice act, which will define any licensee's scope of practice. Currently, most clinicians who specialize in pelvic rehabilitation are Physical Therapists (PT) or Occupational Therapists (OT), though there are other licenses that will allow you to work with patients who have pelvic floor dysfunction. Many doctors, nurses, and internationally licensed medical professionals are beginning to explore pelvic rehabilitation. Over on our Frequently Asked Questions page, you can see which licenses enable a practitioner to attend a Herman & Wallace course based on their scope of practice laws.

If you are interested in becoming a Physical Therapist (PT) or Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA), the American Physical Therapy Association maintains a directory of programs that have been accredited by the Commision on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Is Occupational Therapy the better path for you? Here is a great blog post by faculty member and biofeedback expert Tiffany Ellsworth Lee MA, OTR, BCB-PMD, PRPC on The Occupational Therapist's Path to Pelvic Rehab.

If you have a license that is not mentioned here, please check with the agency that regulates your license to see whether pelvic rehabilitation is an option for you. Remember, your practice act must define a scope of practice which includes medical diagnosis, internal evaluations, and prescription of treatment.

Step 2: Learn to Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Learn to Treat Pelvic Floor DysfunctionOnce you have a license to practice, you can start learning to specialize in pelvic rehabilitation. The best place to start is with our Pelvic Floor Function, Dysfunction, and Treatment - Level 1 course, which offers immediately applicable clinical skills for evaluating and treating urinary incontinence or the musculoskeletal components of urogynecologic pain syndromes such as chronic pelvic pain, vulvar pain, and interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. Herman & Wallace faculty have also put together many great online courses, available thanks to our partnership with MedBridge Education.

Pelvic rehabilitation is a rapidly evolving field, as research into these conditions has only recently started to happen on a large scale. Because of this, Herman & Wallace is always updating existing courses and developing new content. Be sure to check out our full pelvic floor therapy continuing education course catalog in order to see whether new courses catch your interest.

Are you a bookworm who likes to get into the academia? We've published a list of books, articles, and websites which you can use to learn about pelvic rehabilitation and the conditions you may encounter as a clinician.

Step 3: Start Practicing Pelvic Floor Therapy

Now that you have attended a course, you have all the skills necessary to start seeing patients. Be sure to register as a trained practitioner on pelvicrehab.com so patients can find you, and maybe meet with some local referral sources to educate them about what you can offer patients. Faculty member and Seattle clinic owner Holly Tanner, PT, DPT, MA, OCS, WCS, PRPC, LMP, BCB-PMD, CCI wrote a great blog post for The Pelvic Rehab Report about Building Relationships with Patients and Practitioners.

Start Practicing Pelvic Floor TherapyLooking for a new job where you can ply your trade as a pelvic floor specialist? Many employers are looking to begin a pelvic floor therapy program or expand their team, and post openings on the Herman & Wallace Job Board.

If you are starting a new clinic, you may find that you need lots of new supplies and patient resources. We are grateful to partner with several excellent providers of clinical supplies, all of whom you can find on the Herman & Wallace Course Sponsors page. We also offer many digital, downloadable products that can be used in your clinic. These products range from patient home exercise programs and intake forms to marketing supplies for your new clinic. Check them out on our Products page.

Step 4: Continue to Develope your Knowledge and Skills

Even though participants learn how to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions in Pelvic Floor Level 1, a provider quickly realizes that there is far more to learn! This is why most who take Pelvic Floor 1 return to study in the next courses in the series. You can learn all about the colorectal system, and how to treat conditions such as coccyx pain, pudendal neuralgia, post-prostatectomy incontinence, and male pelvic pain in the Pelvic Floor 2A class, and in Pelvic Floor 2B you can expand your knowledge in topics such as movement assessment and re-training, prolapse, and pelvic pain. Our Capstone course is the advanced class that allows providers to dive deep into topics such as hormones and their influence on conditions, surgeries and recovery, and skilled manual therapy techniques. As you figure out what patient populations you are seeing or most interested in serving, check out our growing list of specialty courses that include series topics including yoga and Pilates, oncology, neurology, pregnancy and postpartum, fascial mobilization, and much more.

Step 5: Become a Certified Pelvic Floor Therapist

Once you have some experience under your belt, you may be eligible to sit for the Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification (PRPC). This certification was developed to recognize expertise in pelvic rehabliitation for patients of all genders, throughout the lifecycle. To be eligible to sit for the exam, all applicants must have completed 2000 licensed hours of direct pelvic patient care in the past 8 years, 500 of which must have been completed in the last 2 years. For more info about eligibility, please see our Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification page.

Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

Jul 19, 2019 - Jul 21, 2019
Location: Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine

Jul 20, 2019 - Jul 21, 2019
Location: East Sacramento Physical Therapy

Jul 21, 2019 - Jul 23, 2019
Location: Rutgers University - Doctoral Programs in Physical Therapy

Jul 26, 2019 - Jul 28, 2019
Location: Bon Secours St. Francis Health System

Jul 27, 2019 - Jul 28, 2019
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Aug 9, 2019 - Aug 11, 2019
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Aug 16, 2019 - Aug 18, 2019
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Aug 16, 2019 - Aug 18, 2019
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Aug 16, 2019 - Aug 18, 2019
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Aug 16, 2019 - Aug 18, 2019
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Aug 17, 2019 - Aug 18, 2019
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Aug 23, 2019 - Aug 25, 2019
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Aug 23, 2019 - Aug 25, 2019
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Aug 23, 2019 - Aug 25, 2019
Location: The Sage Colleges

Aug 23, 2019 - Aug 25, 2019
Location: Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine

Aug 23, 2019 - Aug 24, 2019
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Aug 23, 2019 - Aug 25, 2019
Location: Mizzou University of Missouri

Sep 6, 2019 - Sep 8, 2019
Location: Advanced Physical Therapy of Little Rock

Sep 6, 2019 - Sep 8, 2019
Location: Bon Secours St. Francis Health System

Sep 7, 2019 - Sep 8, 2019
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Sep 7, 2019 - Sep 8, 2019
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Sep 13, 2019 - Sep 15, 2019
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Sep 13, 2019 - Sep 15, 2019
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Sep 13, 2019 - Sep 15, 2019
Location: Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine

Sep 13, 2019 - Sep 15, 2019
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Sep 20, 2019 - Sep 22, 2019
Location: Wesley Medical Center