Physical Therapist Education Requirements

If you plan to enter the fast growing field of physical therapy, then you will need to know more about the industry, about the potential pay, and certainly more about the physical therapist education requirements.  In fact, understanding the education requirements for these jobs is the most important part of planning effectively for your future.

Prepare Early for Physical Therapist Jobs

If you will be planning to enter the industry as a PT, then you should start planning for your future career as early as possible.  There are numerous classes in high school that can be of benefit to you here.  Make sure that you focus on classes like general health, anatomy and applied health.  Taking these classes now may put you in better stead when you get into college.

Advanced Physical Therapist Education Requirements

In order to be successful as a physical therapist, you will need to have a good education.  First, you need to understand that an undergraduate degree is no longer sufficient.  In the past, a bachelor’s physical therapy degree was considered the standard.  However, after the late 1990s, this changed.  Today, you need to have a master’s degree to enter the industry.  Many physical therapists actually have a doctorate degree.

Physical therapist education programs that result in a master’s degree usually take about 2 ½ years to complete, while earning a doctorate will take about 3 years.  In addition to the education program, you will have to be licensed to work in your state.  All states in the US require that physical therapists be licensed, though the licensure requirements vary from state to state.  Most require that you have an accredited degree, that you pass an examination and that you pass a state jurisprudence examination.  Many states will also require that you undergo ongoing training throughout your career.

Beyond the Required Physical Therapist Education

As you might imagine, there are other requirements to become a physical therapist, beyond education and licensure.  These are personal requirements, such as being a good communicator, being patient and having a desire to help people overcome their physical problems.  Those with a good amount of compassion may also do well in this industry.

Additional Resources

You can learn more about physical therapist education requirements at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The professional organization for PT is the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

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