How Many Years of College to Be a Physical Therapist?

The help of physical therapists in the management of a wide variety of conditions is very much in demand these days. Physical therapy services are pursued by clients to get benefits and hands on support to improve the quality of health and wellness. Physical therapists are responsible for examining patients and developing a care plan that aims to promote movement, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. The physical therapist works with the patient, family members, and other health care providers to ensure the goals of the care plan are met and the patient outcomes are optimal.

How Many Years of College to Be a Physical Therapist?

The simplest answer is 7 years at least. A degree for Doctor of Physical Therapy(DPT) with valid license to practice is required in all states of America.

Undergraduate Degree and Coursework

In order to be admit in a DPT program, a bachelor's degree of 4 years along with prerequisite subjects including chemistry, physics, social sciences, statistics and biology is required. A minimum GPA has also been defined for the students applying for the DPT program.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

It takes 3 years to complete all the requirement in the program of Doctor of Physical Therapy including classroom studies and clinical internship. The important courses necessarily to be in the exam include anatomy, patient care, physiology, behavioral sciences, exercise physiology, motor control, kinesiology, pharmacology, geriatrics and musculoskeletal system. A coursework may also be added to manage the practice of physical therapy. The clinical training in the program allows the students to practice the therapy in multiple locations such as hospitals, rehabilitation clinics and orthopedic.

Licenses, Registration and Certification

Requirements of licensing vary from state to state but there is one thing in common—one has to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination which administered by State Boards of Physical Therapy Federation.

In some states, physical therapists are also required to pass a law examination and a check for criminal background. To maintain the license, physical therapists are typically required to continue their education.

Some of the experienced physical therapists opt to become board certified specialists after gaining certain experience. Certification in 8 different specialties are offered by American Board of Physical Therapy. The board certification requires passing a comprehensive exam and completion of at least 2000 clinical working hours, or a residency program accredited by APTA in the specialty field.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

The main responsibility of physical therapists (PTs) is to diagnose and provide healthcare services to people with medical issues and conditions which limit them to perform simple daily activities. Sinceyou have known the answer to the question--how many years of college to be a physical therapist; you should know that besides college education, these professionals also require practice and examination to enhance their capabilities to treat the patients.

Physical therapists also tend to provide care for patients in multiple ways and settings including private clinics, hospitals, health agencies, fitness facilities, work places, schools and nursing places etc. Every state where a PT practices requires a state licensure.

For more information about education requirement for a physical therapist and what it feels like to be one, watch the video below:

How Much Does a Physical Therapist Make?

The median salary per year of physical therapists was $82,390 reported by U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014. According to BLS in 2014, the physical therapists working as management executives or technical consultants got the highest wages of $83,940 annually. So apparently how many years of college to be a physical therapist required pays off all the hassle and money at the end.The top paying states for physical therapists in the US include Nevada, Alaska, New Jersey, California and Texas.

Job Outlook

Researches show that the physical therapists employment is going to raise to 34% by 2024 which is the highest projected growth among all other occupations.

The demand of PT services will be much higher in the aged population.Other than this, individuals having health insurance are expected to increase due to reformation of federal health insurance.

Job opportunities are expected to be good for licensed physical therapists in all settings. Job prospects should be particularly good in acute-care hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities, and orthopedic settings, where the elderly are most often treated. Job prospects should be especially favorable in rural areas because many physical therapists live in highly populated urban and suburban areas.

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