The role of physical therapist can be enormously rewarding. However, you will need to know a bit more about physical therapy schools before you jump right into this career option. Not all schools are created equal, and you will need to know what to look for in a school that represents a good choice for you.
The Importance of Accreditation for Physical Therapy Schools
While there are numerous schools out there, both online and offline, that promise to give you the education you need to become a physical therapist, not all are good options. You need to ensure that you research each school prior to making any type of decision. One of the things you need to look for is accreditation by the American Physical Therapist Association. This stamp of approval means that the school has been found to offer the right courses for real world use.
If you do not choose an accredited school, you will find that you are not able to obtain your license. Most states require that physical therapists be licensed. One of the requirements for licensure is the right physical therapy education, from an accredited school. Make sure that the school you choose is on the up and up.
Master’s or Doctorate?
You will also find that there are two education tracks for becoming a physical therapist. You can earn a master’s degree, or you can go on to earn your doctorate. If you already have your bachelor’s, you might qualify for a direct entry master’s degree. However, you will have to earn your master’s before you can go on to your doctorate, if that is your desire. Make sure that any physical therapy schools you consider offer the education track that you need.
Earning a Doctorate in Physical Therapy Degree gives you the dPT credentials, and also allows you to apply for higher level jobs. In general, going for your doctorate usually only requires one additional year of study longer than the master’s degree.
Of course, you can still earn just a bachelor’s physical therapy degree. Many physical therapists who graduated prior to the 1990s have this type of degree. However, late in the 90s, the bachelor’s degree was phased out in favor of master’s degrees and doctorates.
You can learn more about physical therapy schools at the American Physical Therapists Association.