Doctorate of Physical Therapy

Find your next area of study: Doctorate of Physical Therapy

One of the most in demand, and financially lucrative, sub divisions of the health care career field is physical therapy. Any individual who has sustained a minor or serious injury, or had surgery has probably gone through physical therapy as part of their healing process afterward. Although Bachelor’s programs in physical therapy used to be very popular, they have slowly been replaced as the focus shifts to offering more specialized training in physical therapy at the graduate level. This includes the Master’s level as well as the Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the highest level.

The study of physical therapy is devoted to helping citizens in a society regain, maintain, and improve their range of motion and movement capabilities. The circumstances under which individuals seek physical therapy include but are not limited to:

  • Disease
  • Aging
  • Injury

It is the job of physical therapists to identify and evaluate quality of life and movement abilities of individuals in order to help them enjoy their lives. While the field of study may be entitled physical therapy, treating people through physical therapy can include other elements such as psychological, emotional, and social well being.

Individuals seeking a Doctorate in Physical Therapy are likely already involved in the health care industry in one fashion or another. Some graduates work in advanced positions in the health care field, working directly with patients to diagnose and develop treatment plans. Others will work in non-patient centered fields within health care such as health policy, insurance, health care administration, and health care management.

A doctorate of physical therapy is offered in two different forms, both with different tracks and requirements. These two programs are the direct entry Doctorate in Physical Therapy and the transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy. There are a handful of differences between the two approaches to attaining a Doctorate of Physical Therapy, those being:

  • Direct Entry/Entry Level Doctorate in Physical Therapy: This program is designed for individuals who have not yet entered the practicing work force but have completed undergraduate level training. This program offers students an extensive education in fields related to physical therapy such as behavioral sciences, clinical sciences, foundational sciences, and physical therapy practices. This is the most widely awarded physical therapy doctorate, conferred by 96% of physical therapy programs
  • Transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy: This program is designed for those who already have already graduate from an undergraduate, Master’s, or certification program and are practicing in the work place. These individuals are receiving contemporary knowledge similar to that offered in the Direct Entry program to update their working knowledge of physical therapy and the sciences behind it. Nearly 70 universities offer this Doctorate of Physical therapy through classroom, online, or a mixed program.