Physical Therapist: Programs, Residence and Fellowships
If you are interested in obtaining a physical therapy education you must complete a Master’s degree (MPT, MSPT, or MS) or a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. A great number of students are choosing to proceed along the course of a doctorate degree in physical therapy due to the American Physical Therapy Association moving towards requiring this degree for practice by the year 2020. Most of the doctorate programs requirements are that a student possesses an undergraduate degree. Some doctorate programs will accept students with three years of undergraduate work and very few will admit students with zero college credits.
Most of the time it takes a student six to nine semesters to complete a doctorate program in physical therapy. There are currently 142 accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy programs in the US reported by The American Physical Therapy Association. Students are required to have an undergraduate degree or the minimum of three years for admission to obtain a Master’s degree in physical therapy. Similar to the doctorate degree choice, there are select programs that will accept students at a freshman level. The length of time to take a course and really study to earn a master’s degree in physical therapy varies between six to nine semesters.
Physical Therapy Programs and Definition of Residency
To be accepted in either of these educational programs might be very competitive. Students who are interested in these programs need a high grade point average in previous academic studies. Exceptionally good grades in classes like chemistry, statistics, and biology are extremely important. Working as a physical therapy aide or even volunteering along with the ability to show leadership traits may be reviewed by personnel. They may also review letters of recommendations from physical therapists or previous science instructors, and involvement in clubs, sports, and community activities. Once you’ve completed a degree in physical therapy, more training can be acquired by completing a fellowship or residency in a specialty area. The American Physical Therapy Association states a residency as “A planned program of post-professional clinical and didactic education that is designed to advance significantly the physical therapist’s preparation as a provider of patient care services in a defined area of clinical practice.”
The APTA states a fellowship as “A post-professional, funded, and planned learning experience in a focused area of physical therapist clinical practice, education, or research (not infrequently post-doctoral, post-residency prepared or board-certified physical therapists).” You may contact the APTA for further information regarding the post-graduate educational opportunities. APTA’S website also contains this information. There are many online educational opportunities that can be found by using your favorite search engine for results. Most of these programs are accelerated because they’re designed for working adults. The costs that go along with reaching a degree in physical therapy can be very extensive but consider the fees an investment in your future. Once you have succeeded in obtaining a physical therapy degree and pass the licensing examination, you’re eligible to work as a physical therapist. Statistically the average annual salary of a physical therapist in 2006 according to the U.S. Labor Department was $66,200.
The potential earnings of physical therapists may be affected by geographical area, length of experience, and the size of the company in which they are employed. Most state and federal educational grants don’t require repayment. Another option is scholarships that will help with the costs of education. The fees associated with this degree depend on tuition costs and the materials used by the program you attend. Taking as many courses as possible via distance education might be cost-effective.