An online physical therapy degree program is ideal for those enjoy the challenging and physically demanding job of restoring health to those who have been injured or sick, as well as promoting physical fitness.
An online degree in physical therapy is particularly ideal for those who are compassionate, enjoy helping others, and possess strong interpersonal skills.
Physical therapy is the practice of helping people improve their physical fitness and bodily functions. Physical therapists provide services to injured victims, as well as those suffering from certain debilitating diseases.
They work to ease pain, prevent permanent physical disability, improve mobility, and restore function to a patient's affected areas. Patients who require physical therapy often include accident victims, as well as those who suffer from back pain, arthritis, burns, stroke, heart disease, fractures, and cerebral palsy, or who are otherwise disabled.
Physical therapists help these patients perform simple exercises, perform tissue massages, apply hot packs, cold compression, and electrical stimulation, and work to relieve pain and reduce swelling. They also teach disabled patients how to use assistive devices such as wheelchairs and crutches to move around. In addition, physical therapists assist in developing rehabilitation and home therapy routines that their patients can employ at home. Physical therapists may also specialize in sports therapy, orthopedics, or pediatrics.
With a degree in physical therapy, one can work as Physical Therapist (PT), Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) or Aide, Chiropractor or Recreational Therapist in a hospital, clinic, nursing home, private home, or school, as well as private offices that have specially equipped therapy facilities.
A physical therapy degree online program is rigorous. While some physical therapy colleges offer three to four year degree programs, online certificate and diploma courses in physical therapy can be completed in as little as two years.
Online physical therapy degree programs also require students to undergo a supervised hands-on practical training, lasting several months, in a local hospital or clinic before completing their program. The online school you choose to attend will assist you in making arrangements for this type of practical training. In addition to graduating from an accredited school for physical therapy, all states require physical therapists to pass national and state licensure exams before they can practice. You will also be required to take continuing education classes to retain your license, although such requirements vary from state to state.
The demand for physical therapists is expected to rise as the elderly population increases and baby-boomers reach the age where they may require more ongoing physical care, due to increased health problems and the need for rehabilitation.
If you have a bachelor's degree in physical therapy, you can go on to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or aide. To become a professional physical therapist (PT) or chiropractor, you will need to have a master's or PhD degree in physical therapy.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 08-09 Edition, the mean annual wage for physical therapists in 2007 was $71,520, with most employed by home health care services and nursing care facilities. Assistants and aides, working under the supervision of a physical therapist, earned mean annual wages of $44,340, with most being employed in hospitals and the offices of other health care practitioners. Chiropractors earned $81,390 on average during the same period.
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