Physical therapist Education, Degrees and Training

  • Physical therapists (also known as PT )are medical professionals involved in treating medical concerns related to the patient’s muscular or mobility or neurological function. A physical therapist educates the patients to use certain equipment or devices such as canes, crutches, and wheelchairs. They perform different types of treatments including exercises for the well-being of patients.

  • To become a physical therapist, one should complete an undergraduate degree; obtain extensive post-graduate training by either through physical therapy based master’s degree program or a doctor of physical therapy. One should ensure that the degree is obtained from an accredited school program. One becomes eligible to take the board exams after graduation. Practice license is obtained on successful completion of a professional board examination.

    Physical therapist Education

    The first step to become a physical therapist includes enrolling in a university that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After graduation, the candidate should complete either a doctorate degree or master’s degree in physical therapy. One becomes eligible to apply to take the NPTE board exam (National Physical Therapy Examination) officially conducted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Finally, the candidate acquires a practice license on successful completion of the exam.

    Physical therapy degree programs are usually offered at the graduate level and can lead to either a doctorate or a master’s degree. The candidate should first enroll in an accredited graduate program, which includes minimum four years of undergraduate degree. The curriculum generally focuses on theory and laboratory work in chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy, physiology, English, psychology, statistics, and the humanities. The work at graduate level includes basic medical science coursework that is focused on physical therapy field. The graduates should complete hands on clinical training in physical therapy.

    Physical therapy Degrees

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the master’s degree programs in physical therapy generally last for the duration of about two to three years. The doctorate programs, on the other hand, typically last for up to three years of study. Most of the candidates pursuing a career in physical therapy field generally pursue a doctorate program also. Some of the degrees that are currently available in physical therapy include the Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT), the Master of Science (MS) Master of Physical Therapy (MPT), and the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). The candidate qualifies for a Physical therapy license on receiving a passing score on the National Physical Therapist Exam (NPTE) that is officially administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

    Physical therapist Bachelor’s degree

    To become a licensed physical therapist, the candidate should complete a bachelor’s degree before applying for a post-graduate program in physical therapy. Most of the physical therapy programs do not need a bachelor’s degree; however, a basic knowledge about physiology, science, anatomy and math is sufficient enough to train the candidate for a rigorous post-graduate training.

    Physical therapist Master’s degree

    Prospective physiotherapy candidates often complete the master’s degrees as a continuing program at the same university, which often lasts for a duration of about 5 to 6 years of study. The master’s degree in physical therapy generally emphasizes on subjects such as geriatrics, PT, patho kinesiology, neurology, cardiac and pulmonary testing and management, orthopedics, research in practicum, orthotics and prosthetics, physical diagnosis and medical lectures and pediatrics in more detail. It requires completion of professional development seminars, physical therapy management, clinical seminars and clinical practicum. Depending upon the school, the final requirement for the completion of master’s program includes a thesis option, research project, or a group project. The curriculum includes completion of coursework of over 90 hours.

    Physical therapist Training

    Physical therapists require an entry level education of at least master’s degree in physical therapy, even though many candidates hold a doctorate degree. The American Physical Therapy Association aims that all new physical therapists to have a doctorate degree rather than only a master‘s degree by 2020. The extensive training process for a physical therapist takes approximately 7 years. The physical therapist pursuing an undergraduate degree completes 4 years of training in life science, exercise science, kinesiology, or a related field. The rest of 3 years training will be completed in a graduate school for an advanced degree. Students gain experience in a combination of laboratory, classroom, and clinical training programs during their graduate education. The clinical training helps to obtain work experience in dealing with patients seeking physical therapy.

    Physical Therapist Post-graduate Training

    The candidate should enroll in a physical therapy training program from a school that is accredited by the accrediting agency, Commission on Accredited Programs in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). One can enroll in programs that include both Masters and Ph.D. degrees. The program duration can depend upon the graduating requirements of each school, even though the program curriculum lasts from 2 to 3 years. Most of the physical therapy educational programs currently earn the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The main goal of the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) is to enable that all training programs lead to Doctorate track by 2020.

    Physical therapy Coursework

    Candidates enrolled in physical therapy programs are exposed to rigorous academic load that emphasizes on both theory and practical. The courses that are included at the beginning of the curriculum include physiology, anatomy, and pathology with focused on the musculoskeletal system. On gaining necessary knowledge, students are trained to undertake various treatment procedures, perform tests, diagnose and to address specific types of disorders. The final part of training program includes participating in an internship program under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist to learn necessary skills.

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