Physical Therapy Programs - Everything You Need to Know

Various physical therapy programs are available for those who wish to pursue a career in the medical field as a licensed physical therapist. The first step toward working in this profession is acquiring the appropriate education, therefore it is wise for students to review all their options before making a final decision.

Physical therapists are professionals who evaluate patients with affected mobility and determine how best they can benefit from the various therapies available.

In all 50 states, such professionals must complete a physical therapy Master's degree program or obtain a doctor of physical therapy degree. Each option must be pursued at an accredited school. Otherwise, the student will not qualify to take the national licensing exam, which is also a requirement in all 50 states for those who wish to practice in the field.

Physical Therapy Programs

Educational Requirements

To enroll in a doctorate or Master's degree program, one must first acquire an undergraduate degree that includes basic coursework in anatomy, physiology and biology. However, some schools will allow students to enroll in a program without much coursework having been completed, although this will vary greatly depending on the educational institution one has selected. For this reason, it is important for prospective students to inquire about such aspects when reviewing various physical therapy programs. All employees require that one's initial education be obtained at an accredited school.

Over 250 colleges and universities throughout the country offer accredited programs. Therefore, finding an appropriate school should not a difficult task. The majority of programs split the learning time between classroom participation and hands-on clinical experience.


As previously mentioned, one's options include a master's or doctorate program; however, the emphasis on doctorate programs has grown significantly over the past five years. Additionally, the American Physical Therapy Association's goal is to push for mandatory doctorate degrees for all physical therapists by the year 2020. Of course, this does not mean that the Association's objective will be realized, but it is certainly something that prospective students should consider when reviewing the various programs available.

Time Frame

Due to the fact that the requirements of each program vary somewhat, the time it takes one to complete his or her education will also vary. Factors that influence this time frame include the type of program in which one enrolls in, and the number of general education courses he or she has acquired prior to enrollment. Once an individual has obtained a bachelor's degree in one of the required sciences, a Master's degree will typically take an additional two years. Those who plan to pursue a doctor of physical therapy can anticipate an additional three years of formal education.


The cost of physical therapy programs will vary based on the type of program one selects and which school he or she attends. However, Master's degrees can typically be acquired for approximately $50,000, while a doctorate program usually costs approximately $65,000. However, it is recommended that prospective students inquire about the average cost in the state where they will be attending school, as these figures may be significantly higher or lower.

Click here if you are thinking about becoming a physical therapist. Find out everything you need to know about the profession, including education and training, programs, schools and jobs.

Physical Therapy Colleges - What You Need to Know

Due to the vast array of physical therapy colleges from which one can choose from, choosing the right one may appear to be a daunting task. However, there are ways to narrow down one's choices and make the selection process a bit easier.
Certain aspects such as the area of the country where one lives will certainly factor into the decision, as will the amount of money a person can set aside for their education. Initially, however, one must understand the educational requirements associated with the profession before beginning to review the various physical therapy schools to choose from.
Physical Therapy Colleges
The minimum education required for a person who wishes to become a licensed physical therapist is a Master's degree in physical therapy; however, some students choose to pursue a doctorate. Most colleges that offer Master's degree programs require a bachelor's degree in neuroscience, athletic training, biology or a similar subject. These requirements will vary from one learning institution to the next, but almost all schools require a bachelor's degree in one of the above subjects.
From the time one first enters college, it will take the student six to seven years to complete their education in order to work as a physical therapist. Those who choose to pursue a doctor in physical therapy can anticipate approximately eight years of schooling. Certain colleges also require that one have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater to be considered for admission.
Almost all physical therapy colleges are accredited, but one should still inquire about this aspect during the research process. Accredited colleges offer programs that have undergone extensive evaluation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy or the United States Department of Higher Education. Such accreditation ensures that a student will receive a high quality education from qualified instructors. In addition, to be deemed eligible to sit for the national licensing exam, one must have graduated from an accredited college.
Popular Choices
Although there is a vast array of schools from which one can choose from in the United States, some top choices according to educational experts include: the University of California and the University of Pittsburgh.
Those who are interested in undergraduate programs should consider colleges such as Connecticut's University of Hartford or the University of Evansville, which is located in the state of Illinois. These two schools offer combined bachelor of health science and doctor of physical therapy programs.
The American Physical Therapy Association offers up-to-date information with regard to the accreditation status and entrance requirements of various physical therapy colleges. The Association can also assist potential students with selecting the school that is most appropriate for their needs and budget. As the field is predicted to grow at an impressive rate, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, those pursuing an education with the intention of joining this field are making a wise investment in their future.
Click here if you are thinking about becoming a physical therapist. Find out everything you need to know about the profession, including education and training, programs, schools and jobs.

Continuing Your Education With Physical Therapy

The healthcare industry sets stringent standards for education, training and licensing for all its professionals including physical therapists obviously because the health, welfare and, ultimately, lives of their patients rests largely in their hands. One of the most important training standards is continuing education, which every physical therapist is well-advised to undergo for several reasons.

Why Undergo Continuing Education

There are several reasons for physical therapists, of which the most important are:

• The requirements for renewal of licenses among physical therapists include credits in continuing education, as mandated by state law. For example, Florida law requires licensed physical therapists to undergo education in various areas like clinical education, clinical management and clinical science for a certain number of hours.

• The courses are designed to assist licensed physical therapists stay abreast of the latest developments in their field. New techniques, tools and treatment methods can be learned from these courses.

• The maintenance of memberships in professional organizations (i.e., the American Physical Therapy Association) requires proof of continuing education even among long-time practitioners.

It is not just the physical therapist that benefit from continuing education - patients become the recipients of better services from their physical therapists, too.

Types of Continuing Education

The most common venue for continuing education courses are physical therapy schools including colleges and universities for obvious reasons. These venues are also the most convenient since the courses are offered the whole year-round, which cannot be said of other types. Physical therapists nowadays can choose between brick-and-mortar schools and online sites although the latter must be approached with great care particularly in their accreditation status.

Other venues for education are audio conferences, industry seminars, and professional workshops conducted by the likes of the APTA. Just make sure that these venues are accredited under state law so that the number of hours can be counted as a valid requirement for renewal of licenses.

It should be noted that the education can be stated either in contact hours or in education units (CEU). Providers of continuing education courses state the number of CEU while state licensing boards state their renewal requirements in contact hours. The difference between the two can mean renewal and non-renewal of licenses.

For example, most states have a ratio of 10 contact hours equal to 1 CEU. Keep in mind that an hour in one contact hour is not necessarily a full 60 minutes but it should be at least 50 minutes in duration. Thus, 1 CEU equals 1 contact hour while a.2 CEU equals 2 contact hours and so on and so forth.

Since each state registration board has different licensing requirements, it is best to ask the board before enrolling in continuing education classes. You want to ensure that you are complying with minimum requirements while also enhancing your knowledge of the latest advancements in your field.

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