What degree do I need to be a physical therapist?

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As the Baby Boomer generation continues to slip into retirement, there is increased demand for medical professionals needed to tend to their decline in health. This is especially true in the areas of mobility and pain management. This growing trend has caused many to consider a job in the field of physical therapy. Becoming a physical therapist (PT) involves a lot of hard work and means that the prospective student will learn both how to prevent people from losing mobility and functional movement as well as improve conditions in people whose mobility and functional movement is limited. A physical therapist not only seeks to improve the quality of a person’s mobility, but also employs the use of therapeutic methods for pain management and also to prevent disability whenever possible. In order to practice as a physical therapist, all 50-states require licensure to be achieved before a person can be considered a qualified physical therapist.

Undergraduate Considerations

Before a student can be admitted to many physical therapy professional programs, it is usually required that they have completed a bachelor’s degree prior to admission. Alternatively, some professional physical therapy programs allow admission after three years of specified undergraduate curriculum has been completed. In some cases, students are recruited straight from high school into a guaranteed admission program, depending on their ability to complete specified undergraduate requirements and also meet any other stated requirements.. Such as maintaining an adequate grade point average necessary for ensuring admission into the professional phase of the education for becoming a physical therapist.

The Professional Education

The first part of the post undergraduate level educational requirements that a person must complete is called the Professional education for becoming a physical therapist. This is the preparatory clinical and didactic graduate level training which orients the student to the industry and is considered entry level training in the field. Typically, the degree types available are a Masters in physical therapy, A Masters of Science in physical therapy, and a Doctorate of physical therapy. However, programs tend to push more uniformly to requiring a Doctorate of physical therapy be acquired before moving to the post professional phase of education and professional practice. This requirement becomes more stringent in 2015 and state institutions must be compliant by 2017 with their doctorate programs.

The Post Professional Education

Once a student has completed their undergraduate and graduate requirements, then the next phase of the education is to prepare and sit for the national licensure. Someting to take note of is that the PT degree the student earns must be acquired from an institution that offers a CAPTE accredited program before they can sit for the state licensure.

Students interested in persuing a degree program in the industry should take the time to check out various programs offered by different institutions and make certain that these programs comply with CAPTE accreditation before signing on. Otherwise, if a student has found an adequate CAPTE accredited program, then provided they can complete the curriculum of the aforementioned educational phases, then it should be possible for them to obtain their professional license to practice physical therapy at the professional level without any licensing complications.

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