Physical Therapy Graduate Schools
A physical therapist diagnoses and treats clients who have lost or are unable to fully perform functional or mobility-related activities. Clients may have been injured, have a physical defect, or simply have grown old. Sports-related injuries are increasing as younger clients train year-round for the same sport. Physical therapists also teach preventative therapy so clients can attempt to avoid a loss of function or mobility in the future.
Physical therapy graduate schools often encourage certain types of people to apply. A physical therapist will need to be optimistic and people-oriented. They will have to be able to provide moral support to clients. A physical therapist needs an abundance of patience. Often clients will return to the same physical therapist for extended periods of time. Progress may be slow at times. A treatment plan may take months or even years for severe injuries. A physical therapist should be able to work in a team setting. A client may need a comprehensive treatment plan from other medical specialists. Physical therapists often consult with other medical professionals to discuss their clients. A physical therapist should have reasonably good physical fitness. They may need to carry, lift, or physically support clients on a regular basis. A physical therapist will also have to demonstrate activities to clients. Sometimes heavy equipment will need to be maneuvered or used by clients.
A physical therapist should choose from physical therapy graduate schools with accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Of the 212 accredited physical therapy graduate schools, 200 had doctorate programs. The remaining 12 only had master’s level programs. A physical therapy master’s degree typically took 2 to 3 years of full-time study to complete. Doctorates required 3 or more years. Most physical therapy jobs required a master’s degree at minimum. Research and teaching positions usually required that applicants have a doctorate. Physical therapy graduate schools often require that applicants have volunteer experience in a medical facility before applying.
All states and the District of Columbia have laws governing physical therapists. State requirements vary, but common requirements include:
- A degree from an accredited physical therapy institution
- A passing grade on the National Physical Therapy Examination
- Adherence to an ethical code of conduct
- Supervised experience in a clinical setting
Additional requirements vary by the state of employment. Similar to other medical-related fields, physical therapists often must submit education credits to renew a license. Attendance at meetings or seminars may be required as well. This helps to ensure that physical therapists are not using old techniques or tools on clients.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job opportunities will grow 30 percent from 2008 to 2018 for physical therapists. This is considerably higher than average compared to other occupations. The BLS believes that the demand will be fueled by the baby boomer generation. As they age, their health issues will increase the need for physical therapists. Medical facilities with significant numbers of elderly clients are expected to hire the most physical therapists.