Graduate and Professional Degrees

Physical Therapy

What degrees are available in physical therapy?

A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is recognized as a broad, undifferentiated degree requiring the acquisition of general knowledge and basic skills in all applicable domains of medicine.  In order to practice physical therapy, it is necessary to acquire accreditation by the American Physical Therapy Association Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.  This national professional organization ensures that graduates become highly skilled Doctors of Physical Therapy, who are recognized by consumers and other health care professionals.

Some universities with departments in rehabilitation medicine may also offer a Phd program in rehabilitation science.  This degree is intended to prepare researchers, educators, and leaders in the area of rehabilitation science to contribute to the development of rehabilitation practice, research, and policy.

Who is an ideal candidate for a physical therapy program?

In addition to a Bachelor’s degree, the most successful candidates to a physical therapy program have gained extensive observational exposure to physical therapists who work in a broad variety of service environments.  The education of a physical therapist requires assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills and development of judgment through patient care experience in preparation for independent and appropriate decisions required in practice.  The current practice of physical therapy emphasizes collaboration among physical therapists, other allied health care professionals, the patient, and the patient's family.

What is required for admission into a physical therapy program?

Admission to most physical therapy programs is based not only on academic achievement, but also on non-academic factors which ensure that candidates can complete the essential functions of the academic program required for graduation.  Most programs require the submission of GRE exam results. In addition, effective applicants are able to obtain strong letters of reference from the physical therapists with whom they have interacted. Students are expected to arrange their own PT-related work or volunteer experiences. Volunteering in the physical therapy department of a hospital or private clinic is a good place to begin.

What options are available in the field of physical therapy?

The profession of physical therapy typically appeals to those who enjoy physical activity, service to others, and one-on-one therapeutic relationships. Physical therapists work with individuals with movement or mobility problems in order to prevent, restore or resolve the dysfunctional condition.  Physical therapists find work in hospitals, private clinics, public schools, health maintenance organizations, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and home health agencies.

Related Degrees

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