What Education Do You Need to Be a Physical Therapist?

Interested in becoming a physical therapist? Here’s what education and training you’ll need to get started in this rewarding career.

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Introduction

A physical therapist is a healthcare professional who helps patients regain movement and function after an injury or illness. In order to become a physical therapist, you will need to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an accredited physical therapy program. You can find accredited programs through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

What Education Do You Need to Be a Physical Therapist?

If you want to become a physical therapist, you will need to complete an accredited physical therapy program. After you have completed your program, you will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam to become a licensed physical therapist.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy

To work as a physical therapist, you will need to earn a Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from an accredited institution. After completing your degree, you will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) to become licensed in your state. Some states may require additional exams.

A Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy

In order to practice physical therapy in the United States, you must have a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. In most cases, this will be a Master’s degree in physical therapy, although some programs offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

There are currently more than 200 accredited physical therapy programs in the United States, so you should have no problem finding one that meets your needs. The majority of these programs are offered at the graduate level, although there are a few eligible bachelor’s programs as well.

Once you have completed your accredited physical therapy program, you will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in order to become licensed in your state.

A Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy

To become a physical therapist, you will need to earn a Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy (DPT). This degree can be earned from an accredited physical therapy program at a college or university. There are currently over 200 such programs in the United States.

To be admitted into a DPT program, you will need to have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Your undergraduate coursework should include classes in biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and physiology. You will also need to have completed some coursework in psychology and sociology. Some programs may also require you to have taken courses in communication and writing.

Conclusion

To summarize, you will need at minimum a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an accredited physical therapy program. However, many states also require licensure in order to practice. You can learn more about state licensure requirements on the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website.

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