Getting a physical therapy degree takes time, hard work and dedication. It requires 7 to 8 years of college education and clinical experience learning for those wishing to become degreed, licensed professionals who are eligible for employment as a physical therapist.Physical therapy programs or `PT Programs` are a demanding course of study, but the good news is it is also one of the professions that provide the highest amounts of personal satisfaction to those in the field.Not only do PTs enjoy the benefits of ease of finding employment due to an increasing demand, as well as a highly competitive salary, these professionals report the highest levels of satisfaction and self worth in that they have made a difference in other people’s lives, a feeling that is invaluable.Educational Requirements for a Physical Therapy DegreeStudents interested in becoming a PT must first complete four years of undergraduate learning at an accredited college or university.It is recommended to know ahead of time which PT program the student will likely apply to, and understand their prerequisite requirements in order to make the most efficient use of undergraduate time, enrolling in the courses that will help the student gain acceptance into their program of choice.In most cases, prerequisite classes include English classes, maths and sciences, providing the essential base education on which the more specialized sciences and other classes in their physical therapy major will build on.In order to receive a PT degree, students must first earn their Bachelor’s degree, and then graduate a physical therapy postgraduate program to receive their degree of DPT, Doctor of Physical Therapy.Postgradute learning is largely done in the clinical setting, although there are some classroom courses as well. Working externships are a required part of obtaining their degree as well. Then, once graduated, students can take their licensing examination in order to be eligible for employment as a licensed physical therapist.Transitional Physical Therapy DegreeRecently, there have been some changes made to the degree earned by physical therapists, requiring some professionals to update their degree from what has been termed a “transitional” DPT degree to the now accepted professional DPT degree.In the past, there were two degrees offered depending on the physical therapy school, either the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), or the Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) or Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT).With how the profession has grown in the past 10 years or so, and the desire to standardize educational and professional requirements to obtain degrees, most countries now recognize the DPT as the main degree, and most schools have updated their curriculum’s so that they now offer this degree as well.These changes, and this necessity to update degrees, stems from the public perception of the degree of “doctor” as opposed to “master”, and the need to continually update the education of those practitioners who have been in the field for a while, as therapies have gone through great change in recent years.Updates On MSPT DegreesIt has been stated by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) that by the year 2020, all clinicians graduating from physical therapy programs will earn the degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the MPT or MSPT degrees will no longer be recognized. Physical therapy schools are required to offer only a DPT degree by 2015.Those PTs holding a degree of MPT or MSTP, or even DPT degrees which for some reason do not carry the same educational and clinical experience requirements as most others, are being encouraged to take the necessary transitional courses to receive their upgraded, professional DPT degree.As the main governing professional organizations like the APTA in the US and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) in the UK begin to finalize the standardization of degree requirements, it is likely any PTs holding an MPT, MSPT or a t-DPT (transitional DPT, for graduates of programs currently being changed to fit created standards) will be required to take continuing education courses to elevate their transitional degrees to the new, accepted professional DPT.PT School RecommendationsRecommendations for those interested in enrolling in school to become a PT is to find a program that is accredited by their country’s professional accreditation organization, ensure that the degree offered is the professional Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), and then find out which courses should be taken during undergraduate education to increase the chance of acceptance into the program of choice.Most PT degree programs do not have open enrollment, meaning they accept only the best students who are prepared for the demanding clinical work ahead in order to earn their degree.With the right preparation, and making sure to apply to the right schools, a student will have the best chance of success in gaining the best education and then getting the best position as a qualified physical therapist.
A physical therapy assistant degree is required to work as an assistant in the physical therapy healthcare field. A graduate of a physical therapy assistant program earns an Associate in Applied Science Degree. The curriculum has to meet all of the accreditation requirements of the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. There are more than two hundred programs across the United States.Most two year programs are full time. Some schools offer their programs with only five regular semesters, and one summer term which is held right after the first year. Some schools offer a few of their courses online but accredited schools are not allowed to offer all of their classes online.That is because, hands-on training is required and this is done in person in a lab or clinical environment. The two year program typically consists of sixty-nine credits. To graduate, most schools require that students have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher.This healthcare program will prepare students for a career as a physical therapist assistant who works under the guidance of physical therapists, and will know how to performs many functions as a member of the team. This healthcare field continues to expand and the employment opportunities remain good for working in hospitals, out patient facilities, clinics, and home care.Standard Course WorkThe required classes for a degree usually include abnormal psychology, neuroanatomy and physiology, medical terminology, kinesiology and instrumentation for physical therapy, as well as advanced techniques.General education classes are also required such as English, psychology, biology, algebra, and speech. In combination with the above classes, students also receive hands-on training through clinical practice at local area health-care facilities.Other Skills That Are TaughtPhysical therapy assistants learn many types of exercises that will increase strength, coordination, endurance, as well as range of motion for clients. Additionally, they learn how to use different therapy treatments that use electricity, sound, water, cold and heat methods to alleviate pain and also to stimulate muscle activity.Students are taught how to use assistive devices like crutches, walkers, and wheel chairs. A significant part of the program consists of on-site clinical training where students practice their skills while they are being supervised by a licensed physical therapist.Students learn how to work under the direct supervision of physical therapists in a legal, ethical, and professional manner. They will know how to execute comprehensive treatment plans that have been developed by physical therapists.Also, students will be taught how to identify the outcomes for clients in a number of settings. Effective oral, non-verbal and written communications skills are also taught in this healthcare program.Enrolling In A Physical Therapy Assistant ProgramAcceptance into a physical therapy assistant program usually requires a very high grade point average in high school, especially in science courses, such as biology and chemistry. Applicants are expected to have some experience in community involvement such as volunteer work in the healthcare field. Some programs require a licensed physical therapist’s letter of recommendation as part of the application process.After Receiving A Physical Therapy Assistant DegreeAfter graduation, in order to work as a physical therapy assistant, most states require graduates to pass the National Physical Therapy Assistant Licensing examination. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy regulates the National Physical Therapy Assistant Examination.Licensure ExaminationAll accredited programs will prepare students for their licensure exam. This preparatory course will be somewhat different from the actual exam. The real exam has about two hundred questions, and it might or might not be, entirely computer-based.There are multiple choice questions and the scoring system is on a scale from two hundred to eight hundred, where six hundred is the minimal passing score. The licensing exam is administered in all states every year and individuals have four hours to complete it. The subject areas that are generally covered in the exam are standards of care, intervention, ethics and codes.Employment OpportunitiesAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for this career are estimated to increase by forty-six percent from 2010 – 2020, and this is faster than most other occupations. Physical therapy assistant job levels are expected to improve because of the increasing healthcare needs of the growing senior population.
Find Physical Therapy Universities in the United States and Canada. Become an expert in the field of physically therapy by attending one of several physical therapy universities where you can participate in various degree programs. Commonly, physical therapy universities provide 4-year programs in physiotherapy, which may lead to a Doctor of Physical Therapy, or a Masters in Physical therapy.Prospective students must complete a minimum of an undergraduate program in physiotherapy or related sciences prior to entry into physical therapy universities. In some cases, physical therapy universities do extend undergraduate studies so students can complete necessary academics for acceptance into one of these graduate/post-graduate courses.Currently there are over 200 accredited physical therapy programs at physical therapy universities, colleges and schools throughout the United States. Accreditation is important as graduates must attain this formal education in order to earn eligibility to take the national licensing examination. (Licensure is required by all States in the U.S.)Depending on which course of study you choose to pursue, there are at least 31 accredited Master of Physical Therapy programs, as well as over 170 Doctor of Physical Therapy degree programs available through physical therapy universities and colleges today, which makes earning a degree both convenient and readily accessible.The curricula at physical therapy universities includes studies in biology, biomechanics, chemistry, diagnostics, human growth and development, kinesiology, neuroanatomy, pathology and physical therapeutics. Studies are course-intensive and require a fair amount of dedication and willingness to strive for academic excellence. In addition, if you’re currently in high school and are aiming for a degree in physical therapy, it is wise to take associated science courses related to the field like sports medicine; or volunteering as an athletics trainer for the local football or baseball team. Furthermore, some physical therapy universities do provide Associate Degree programs to students pursuing a career as a physical therapist assistant or physiotherapy aide.Once you’ve enrolled in one of a number of physical therapy universities, and you’ve earned your professional degree, you can continue to grow professionally by not only taking required continuing education courses, but opting to attain board certification in several specialized areas of focus, like cardio-pulmonary physiotherapy, geriatric physical therapy, occupational therapy, and orthopedic physical therapy, among others.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, career outlook in both professional fields (physical therapist and physical therapist assistant) are expected to grow over the coming years.If you (or someone you know) are interested in finding physical therapy universities, let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you.Physical Therapy Universities: Earn Your Degree
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A physical therapy assistant is a licensed health care professional that has received special training. These health care assistants work with physical therapists in treating patients who have physical disabilities and injuries. Many treatments are designed to relive pain and improve the patient’s mobility.In the United States there are over two hundred physical therapy assistant programs that are available today. To be considered for one of these programs, candidates need to have a high grade point average, primarily in the main sciences such as chemistry, biology, and statistics.Each candidate will have to volunteer in the health care field, ideally as a aide, and also show community participation by taking part in some service program. It is also important to have recommendations from physical therapists because this is another prerequisite for being accepting into a PTA program.What Does A Physical Therapy Assistant Do?A physical therapy assistant works with a physical therapist in the treatment of patients who suffer from injuries or physical disabilities. All work performed by this type of health care assistant is supervised by licensed physical therapists. They provide a number of techniques when caring for patients, including exercise treatment protocols, deep soft tissue massage, and general mobility training.They also perform physical modalities including ultrasound and electrotherapy. This type of therapy assistant may also apply ice or heat therapy to patients, help them learn how to use equipment such as crutches, or teach them stretches and exercises that improve their range of motion.They may also help physical therapists implement fitness and wellness programs so the patient can enjoy a more active lifestyle. In addition, assistants in this profession have to know how to correctly use various kinds physical therapy equipment. Physical therapy assistants might also have to answer phones, complete insurance paperwork, and order supplies.These types of health care professionals work with individuals of every age group. Injured athletes, stroke victims, children that have cerebral palsy, and patients that have recently undergone a surgical procedure are only a very small sample of patients that may need physical therapy services.An individual that decides to become a physical therapy assistant needs to have very communication skills, along with being able to demonstrate kindness and patience.Because most patients actually see therapist soon after surgery or right after they have experienced an injury, they are often suffering with high levels of emotional stress and pain. It is very important that the physical therapist assistant has a genuine desire to help people, and also has the ability to help patients feel comfortable with their treatment. It is essential that the therapy assistant knows how to work as part of a team, not only with physical therapists, but also with other health care employees.How To Become A Physical Therapy AssistantThis career requires a two-year associate degree from an accredited school. Many areas also require a license. The accredited school needs to have a program that has been approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, generally known as CAPTE accreditation. The accreditation assures the quality of the courses, as well as the instructors.A student that is enrolled in a program to become a physical therapy assistant will have to study many different courses, such as algebra, anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology and psychology. The student has to become certified in CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and also first aid. Along with these requirements, the student will have to acquire some practical experience in the physical therapy field.Once the program is completed, the majority of states require that potential therapy assistants successfully complete a test to become licensed in this specific health care profession. The license usually has to be renewed every couple of years.Employment OpportunitiesJobs for PTA vary and several offer opportunities for advancement. Physical therapy offices, home health care providers, skill nursing facilities, and nursing homes all require the services of physical therapy assistants.Physical therapist assistants also work for rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and school districts. Many of these positions have regular work day hours, but there are also opportunities to work evenings and weekends. Some assistants get to travel for their jobs, and different types of therapy facilities offer this.Benefits of Becoming A PTAPTAs have very high job-satisfaction levels according to several studies. Job security is another benefit of this career because there is a soaring demand in this field. The average median annual salary for this position is over $46,000. Of course, this will vary by area and state. This type of career is very rewarding because PTA get to work with patients one-on-one, watch them make progress, and also be a positive influence their lives.