Physical Therapist Schools & Training

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Physical Therapist Schools & Training

PT is considered a primary care treatment, offered with other medical services, and in some areas, a physical therapist can prescribe mediation. All states require a license to practice, and additional specialty certification is also available. PTs must acquire a doctorate of physical therapy degree (DPT) that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Education (CAPTE). These typically take three years to complete and include classroom and lab instruction where patient evaluation and examination is required. A bachelor’s degree is generally required to begin the CAPTE program though schools do offer combined undergrad and doctoral degrees. Sometimes volunteering within inpatient, outpatient, and rehabilitative settings will be required before admission to a doctoral program is permitted. Advancement in a career as a PT usually includes earning a certificate from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in one of 7 categories:

  1. Orthopedics
  2. Sports
  3. Clinical electrophysiology
  4. Geriatrics
  5. Neurology
  6. Cardiovascular
  7. Pulmonary

Further testing and logged work hours in the specialty is required.

Basic certification to become a working PT:

  • Bachelors degree
  • Volunteering in PT environments
  • Doctoral degree