Important Insights About Finding the Best Physical Therapy Schools – Physical Therapy

As the healthcare industry on a whole has increased in recent years, and continues to do so today, there are more employment opportunities than ever before.One of the only industries that has seen this continued growth despite uncertain economic times, there is no better time than now to make any dreams of becoming a physical therapist a reality.Students preparing to leave high school and considering which colleges to apply to should consider the many physical therapy schools out there if they are interested in a medical career that does not involve actual medicine and surgery itself, but are after a more hands-on position, such as that of a physical therapist or rehabilitation specialist.Educational Requirements for Physical TherapistsBecoming a physical therapist involves extensive training, as well as completion of a postgraduate degree.In order for someone to earn their DPT (doctorate in physical therapy), students must first complete a bachelor’s degree with emphasis on becoming a physical therapist, and then be accepted to – and graduate – a specialized postgraduate program for physical therapists.A few schools still award an MPT (Master of Physical Therapy) or MSPT (Master of Science in Physical Therapy) degree, but those degrees are currently being phased out in many countries including the US, Canada and the UK, so that all physical therapists will then earn the same degree, the DPT.Postgraduate physical therapy programs usually last three years and include professional externships and clinical rotations in order for students to gain actual, on the job experience in the field before they are finished their schooling.In total, students who have completed all necessary courses that have been geared toward becoming a physical therapist (such as taking appropriate sciences during undergraduate study) can expect to spend 7 years gaining their education in most cases. Once having graduated, students may then take licensing examinations anywhere they are required for employment.Choosing the Right Physical Therapy SchoolsThe main concern that any prospective physical therapy students should have when choosing physical therapy schools is that the school is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in the US, by the Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada (PEAC) in Canada, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the UK or their country’s specific accreditation board in order to assure they are getting the best possible education and training.It has become almost unheard of at this point for any physical therapy schools to not be accredited, but students should be sure before enrolling, since earning their degree, obtaining licensure, and future employment will likely be affected if the school attended is not accredited by one of these organizations.Students with questions about a school’s accreditation are recommended to contact their local accreditation board to inquire about the program, and determine whether it is an acceptable one in order for them to achieve their professional goals of becoming a physical therapist.Other than determining the appropriate accreditation when considering the different physical therapy schools, there are other questions students will want to ask if they are particularly motivated to get their education finished as quickly as possible so that they may commence employment.Some schools will accept certain science and health courses that are taken as undergraduates, crediting them toward their postgraduate degree rather than having the student take the same course again.Also, it is sometimes possible to take externship training while still finishing classroom courses, or there are even some schools that will graduate students before their externship, although they may not sit for their licensing exams before they have completed their on the job training.Admission To SchoolsAnother consideration for high school students who are particularly advanced and already know they are going to pursue a career in physical therapy is applying for early admission to a number of physical therapy schools who offer it.Early admission to these programs guarantees a student admission to their physical therapy school once they have completed undergraduate study, with the added benefit that they can have the extra guidance as to which undergraduate courses to take in order to finish their postgraduate study faster than those students accepted through regular admissions.The good news is that there are hundreds of quality, accredited physical therapy schools available where interested students can enroll and get their degree.Becoming a licensed physical therapist will take hard work and dedication, but the profession enjoys one of the highest rates of job satisfaction of any profession, as well as a very competitive salary, making it all worthwhile.