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What Major Is Physical Therapy

Career Paths For Physical Therapists

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Physical therapy online courses offer several opportunities for advancement. You can choose to continue your education with a clinical residency or fellowship, or you can opt to specialize in one or more areas. Many PTs choose to become leaders in the field by opening their own private practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapist jobs are growing at 18%, much faster than the average for all professions.

What Does It Mean To Study Physical Therapy

Originally developed as a treatment for wounded soldiers in World War I, the educational and career opportunities for students interested in physical therapy have expanded since that time. Physical therapists team up with doctors and counselors in order to rehabilitate patients with physical injuries, diseases, limitations, and impairments. They develop exercise schedules and may use heat, cold, electricity, sound and/or water technologies to relieve pain and stimulate muscles. Most commonly, physical therapists focus on rehabilitation stemming from injuries, but they may also specialize in sports therapy, orthopedics or pediatrics.

What Major Is Physical Therapy

If you are interested in becoming a physical therapist, you may be wondering, What major do I need to be a physical therapist? There are many excellent physical therapy programs available. There is no better time than now to work in physical therapy. The rising demand for physical therapy services is happening. It is in demand among aging baby boomers and patients with chronic conditions. Many physical therapy services are becoming increasingly accessible. This is due to federal health insurance reform. This reform has created a strong need for more medical professionals in rehabilitative programs. This will help patients improve their mobility and reduce pain.

Are you ready to take on the challenge of helping patients by treating their injuries and helping them improve their physical limitations? There are many ways of how to become employed in physical therapy. Continue reading and follow the step-by-step guide on what you need to do to go into this field and to answer the question, What major do you need for physical therapy?

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Earn Your Bachelors Degree

To become a physical therapist, you must earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, so the first step to becoming a licensed physical therapist is to earn your bachelorâs degree. Most accredited programs to receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree require a bachelorâs degree to be accepted. Your bachelor’s degree does not need to be in physical therapy it can be in any subject. However, many students choose a health field related to physical therapy, like biology, chemistry, or physiology.

Alternatively, you could also enter a 3+3 program, which allows you to take three years of undergraduate work and then enter your three-year DPT program. This option reduces the time spent in school to six years instead of the seven it takes to complete a bachelor’s and DPT program. If you are sure you want to be a physical therapist, this may be the most efficient option.

If accepted as a freshman into a 3+3 program, you complete specific physical therapy-related undergraduate classes and other state requirements, including maintaining a minimum GPA before beginning the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Read more:A Guide to the Bachelor of Health Science Degree

Physical Therapy Certification Licensure And Associations

Physical Therapist Major Colleges

After graduating from an accredited physical therapy degree program, a student must pass the National Physical Therapist Examination in order to go into clinical practice as a physical therapist. Other state-level certifications are often required as well.

Additionally, students should note that the physical therapy exam is only one part of the certification process. Depending on where you intend to work, the NPTE physical therapy examination can be coupled with other methods of assessing your ability to properly administer physical therapy. Once these requirements have been satisfied, you must also investigate additional requirements that your states licensing board may have before you are admitted to work in a particular state.

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If Things Dont Go Well What Can I Expect

A worst case scenario might look like this, according to Schwarze: You have surgery, and you go to the ICU, and you have serious complications. You have a heart attack. Three weeks after surgery, youre still in the ICU with a breathing tube, and youve lost most of your strength, and theres no chance of ever getting home again. Or, the surgery didnt work, and still youve gone through all this.

People often think Ill just die on the operating table if things go wrong, said Dr. Emily Finlayson, director of the UCSF Center for Surgery in Older Adults in San Francisco. But were very good at rescuing people, and we can keep you alive for a long time. The reality is, there can be a lot of pain and suffering and interventions like feeding tubes and ventilators if things dont go the way we hope.

What Skills Do Physical Therapy Degrees Build

Physical therapy degrees build many skills that will pertain throughout your career and life. Some of them are:


A common problem in healthcare overall is patients, especially women, being ignored or not adequately listened to by their healthcare providers. This negligence leads to a lot of unnecessary pain, and the failure of healthcare providers to address patient concerns and needs. You can break this unhealthy cycle by listening to the people you treat, and it will significantly improve the relationships in every part of your life.

Coordination and Strength

Physical therapists need to be physically fit. In these roles youre often on your feet, physically supporting your patients, using weights and equipment and massaging for hours a day. Due to this, and to set an excellent example for patients, youll need to be fit, healthy, and coordinated. Your fitness will pay dividends throughout your life. Fortunately, physical therapy cohorts attract people who care about fitness, and a community of like-minded peers can be a massive boon towards maintaining and improving your fitness goals.

Giving Instructions

Technology Skills

Increasingly, physical therapists are making use of health apps, patient-tracking software, and burgeoning technology. Building and maintaining technology literacy is a growing part of physical therapy, and programs that address this will be beneficial to your career.

Reading Comprehension and Research

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Experienced Pt Faculty Who Love To Teach

Our committed, dynamic and diverse faculty offer personalized attention to students to assist them in acquiring the knowledge, skills and professional demeanor of a caring and compassionate health care provider. The full-time faculty consists of three doctorally prepared individuals and four who are completing terminal doctoral degrees. The faculty includes one pediatric, two neurology, two geriatric, two orthopedic and one sports certified specialists. The full-time faculty is complemented by the work of several adjunct faculty.

Obtain A License To Practice

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Licensure looks different within each state. Most states require practitioners not only to pass the NPTE but also to fulfill additional criteria, such as compliance training, background checks, etc. To maintain licensure, physical therapists must meet continuing education requirements every two years in most states. Continuing education courses keep physical therapists current with the health professions standards and trends.

Check with your state board to learn about your licensing requirements.

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What Is Bs Physical Therapy

Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy is a four-year program that produces professionals who promote optimal health and function by providing services that develop, maintain, and restore maximum movement and functional ability, for people at any stage of life, when their movement and function are threatened by ageing

How Much Do Physical Therapists Make

The median salary for a physical therapist was $89,4403in 2019. However, salaries vary widely based on the position, setting, experience level, education level, and geographic location.

At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, we offer an esteemed Doctor of Physical Therapy program that challenges students to be versatile, empathetic, and well-skilled practitioners. Our DPT students learn to assess patients, create treatment plans, and use hands-on therapy techniques in real-world simulations.

The largest PT school in the United States,* the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences offers a hands-on Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Join a collaborative cohort of peers who learn under the mentorship of expert faculty-practitioners. Practice with mock and real patients in our state-of-the-art simulation centers and learn anatomy with our high-tech tools. Prepare for clinical practice with a wide range of patients, as well as for advanced roles in research, practice leadership, and policymaking. Residential and Flex formats are available.

*Based on total DPT degrees conferred, as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System . Data is captured by IPEDS through interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Educations National Center for Education Statistics .

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Whats The Goal Of This Surgery

Ask your surgeon, How is this surgery going to make things better for me? said Margaret Gretchen Schwarze, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Will it extend your life by removing a fast-growing tumor? Will your quality of life improve by making it easier to walk? Will it prevent you from becoming disabled, akin to a hip replacement?

If your surgeon says, We need to remove this growth or clear this blockage, ask what impact that will have on your daily life. Just because an abnormality such as a hernia has been found doesnt mean it has to be addressed, especially if you dont have bothersome symptoms and the procedure comes with complications, said Drs. Robert Becher and Thomas Gill of Yale University, authors of a recent paper on major surgery in older adults.

Learn Your State’s Licensing Requirements

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Though every state requires physical therapists to hold a license, other requirements may vary depending on where you live. For example, some states may require you to pass an exam evaluating your knowledge of laws and ethics before you can practice physical therapy. Review the requirements to become licensed in your state to help you pursue relevant education.


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What Does A Physical Therapist Do

The American Physical Therapy Association defines physical therapists as movement experts. A physical therapist uses specialized therapy techniques, assistive devices, massage, electrotherapy, exercises as well as education and training to help patients of all ages develop, regain, or maintain their physical abilities and improve the quality of their daily lives.

Physical therapists provide patient care as part of the health care team, supervising physical therapy assistants and working in collaboration with primary care physicians, surgeons, medical specialists, and other health care professionals.

About The Doctor Of Physical Therapy Program

The mission of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is to educate you to be highly skilled, evidence-based physical therapist who improves the health of your patients through the application of clinical skills, collaboration with other health care professionals, and commitment to life-long learning and community service.

Program Start Term

Our goal at TTUHSC DPT program is to be nationally recognized for excellence in education, scholarship, and service to the community and physical therapy profession. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program was ranked as the #1 DPT Program in the United States for three consecutive years , based largely on student satisfaction surveys.

The DPT program is offered on three campuses: Lubbock, Amarillo, and Odessa. The physical facilities at the three campuses offer modern, high-tech teaching and laboratory equipment designed to facilitate an optimal learning environment while you are in the program.

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Physical Therapy Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapy is projected to grow by 21 percent from 2020 to 2030. Physical therapists can work in a variety of settings like hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and fitness centers. They can also practice privately. This expands the number of job opportunities available for physical therapists.

What Makes A Pt School Applicant Stand Out

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If you really want to distinguish yourself from your PT school competition, try going a different route other than Exercise Science.

Imagine if you were on the admissions board for your dream PT school. Consider how someone with a degree in Engineering, Marketing, or Teaching stands out from the crowd. Such an applicant will bring unique experiences and perspectives to the table. Sure, they will have completed the same prerequisites as a Kinesiology major, but theyll have so much more to offer.

For instance, during their PT school interview, an applicant with an Education degree might discuss how their training in teaching can help them educate clinic patients and inform learning strategies.

A degree in a different field could provide invaluable, transferable skills which you as a unique applicant can play to your advantage.

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Is It Worth Being A Physical Therapist

This study concluded that PT school is a good investment up to a certain amount of student debt. According to the study, with the average debt level reported by recent US DPT graduates , physical therapys net present value was higher than occupational therapy, optometry, veterinary medicine, and

Best Major For Physical Therapy Faq

How do I become a physical therapist?

To become a physical therapist, you must receive a high-level education. You need to earn a bachelors degree, complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy program from an accredited university, gain hands-on clinical experience, and pass a state licensure exam. This will enable you to practice as a licensed physical therapist.

What is the highest-paying field in physical therapy?

Sports medicine is the highest-paying field for physical therapists. Physical therapists in this field treat professional and amateur athletes. Since athletes are always engaged in physical activities and need both preventive and restorative care, physical therapists in this field are constantly in demand.

What qualification does a physical therapist need?

A physical therapist must obtain a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education . This is a graduate-level program that can only be obtained after completing a baccalaureate or undergraduate degree.

What is the duration of a DPT program?

A DPT program typically lasts three to four years. You will learn about diagnostics and therapeutic treatment, patient assessment, physical examination, and therapeutic exercises. You will be required to complete a full-time clinical practice under a licensed professional to learn experimental skills.

What’s Next?

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How To Set Yourself Apart When Applying To Pt School

If you are applying to PT school having graduated with an unconventional undergraduate degree, dont despair. You can promote yourself in many ways.

In my opinion, there are three key benefits to having a non-science degree when applying to become a PT .

  • You bring a unique perspective and skill set to the field.
  • You demonstrate an ability to pursue things that interest you, instead of completing a biology degree because thats what everyone else does.
  • Youll have options to pursue work outside of Physical Therapy if you happen to change your mind.
  • These three benefits not only strengthen your application, they improve your chance at success in any employment, Physical Therapy notwithstanding.

    Prerequisite Courses For Dpt Programs

    Major in Physical Therapy

    Each DPT program has its own requirements for incoming students to complete before gaining acceptance. Research the DPT programs you’re interested in attending to guide the courses you take during your undergraduate program. While these prerequisites vary among different programs, some common required courses include:

    • Medical terminology

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    Physical Therapy Preprofessional Program

    Physical therapists are committed to meeting the health needs of society through prevention, rehabilitation, public education, and research. They promote optimal human health and function by applying scientific principles to prevent, identify, assess, and correct acute or prolonged movement dysfunction problems.Specialization areas in physical therapy include cardiopulmonary systems, electrophysiology, geriatrics, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, sports physical therapy, and womens health.The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Iowa is a graduate degree and is not offered as an undergraduate major. However, undergraduate students can designate themselves as pre-physical therapy students in order to receive specialized advising and course work in preparation for applying to the DPT program.

    Students interested in applying to Iowa’s graduate DPT program can choose any major for their undergraduate degree. Review our Areas of Study for the admission requirements and application information associated with the major you choose.

    Work As A Physical Therapist In A Variety Of Settings

    Students who complete the program are prepared to work as physical therapists in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sports medicine centers, private homes, nursing homes, schools, private practices, specialized pediatric facilities, and wellness/fitness centers. You also can work as educators, researchers, and consultants in a wide variety of organizations.

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    What Is Physical Therapy

    Physical therapy is a treatment for people who are unable to move and/or have chronic pain. Physical therapists help these patients by creating a treatment plan that will improve their mobility and relieve their pain. This may involve exercises, stretches, and massage therapy. They often work with other health professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to create the best treatment plan for their patients.

    What Kind Of Qualifications Do Physical Therapists Need

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    The health care professionals who deliver physical therapy are called physical therapists. If your doctor has referred you to physical therapy, its important to verify a therapists qualifications before beginning treatment.

    To become a qualified physical therapist, a person must complete a doctor of physical therapy program from a university accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Usually, a student has a bachelors degree in a related field before pursuing their doctorate.

    Along with learning in a classroom setting, 20% of three-year DPT programs involve clinical experience to ensure physical therapists are confident in patient care as they enter the field. In the last semester of a physical therapy program, a university will administer the National Physical Therapy Examination . Once students pass, they can apply to a state physical therapy board to be licensed to work as a physical therapist in the U.S. upon graduation.

    Some students might also choose to complete a one-year post-graduate residency or fellowship to specialize in a specific type of physical therapy, such as orthopedic or geriatric physical therapy. While this additional year isnt a requirement, physical therapists who complete it can then opt to become board certified in their specialty. They dont need to be board certified to focus their practice around a specific type of physical therapy.

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