Physical Therapist Colleges and Training Programs

Find out about the education necessary to become a physical therapist. These professionals help disabled people and those who have been injured gain physical skills. Learn about the job duties, and examine licensing requirements. Schools offering Physical Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

In the growing health care field of physical therapy, you will need to earn a graduate degree and participate in clinical practice. Once you graduate, you will have to obtain a state license before you work with patients providing therapy to increase or restore their functionality.

Degrees Master's and doctoral degrees
Responsibilities Use movement therapy, massage and therapeutic equipment to improve or restore bodily function
Licensure State licensure is required

What Can I Expect From a Physical Therapist Degree Program?

You can start out on your educational path to becoming a physical therapist by earning a bachelor's degree in any subject; however, most grad schools will seek candidates with a solid foundation in physics, anatomy and chemistry. Next, it's most common to earn a doctorate in physical therapy, but a few master-level programs are also available. A doctoral degree program takes approximately three years to complete. Your coursework covers clinical care, kinesiology, patient diagnosis, gait analysis and pain management. The curriculum also includes clinical instruction, often in the latter part of your program. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education accredits legitimate programs.

How Will I Use My Education?

Physical therapy patients have often been victims of illness or injury, and you can help them physically recover via a hospital or private practice. You may work with a wide range of patients, including babies with spina bifida, accident victims, those with cerebral palsy or senior citizens who have suffered a stroke. You use techniques such as movement therapy and massage to help your patients achieve their full range of motion. You also use special equipment to help rehabilitate your patients. In addition to understanding the science of how the body moves, you should also understand the psychology of physical limitations; you must possess the compassion and patience to work with people who may be scared by and frustrated with their bodies.

How Can I Obtain a License to Practice?

Physical therapists must be licensed in all 50 states; a master's or doctoral degree program can qualify graduates to take the National Physical Therapy Examination. This exam is one portion of the licensure process, though the specifics vary by state. The exam consists of 250 multiple-choice questions, where 200 are scored and the other 50 are pretested. You can choose to get certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in a specific area, such as sports health or orthopedics, but it's not required to practice.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Utica College

    Utica College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Utica College:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Southwest

    University of the Southwest responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Southwest:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    Online Programs Available

  • American InterContinental University

    American InterContinental University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American InterContinental University:

    Online Programs Available

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