Online physical therapy doctoral programs provide practicing physical therapists with a convenient and flexible way to earn what will soon become the primary degree in the field.
By 2020, all licensed physical therapists in the U.S. will be required to have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, as outlined by the American Physical Therapy Association.
If you are already a licensed physical therapist with another certification or degree, a physical therapy doctorate will complement your existing clinical skills and prepare you for the realities of modern clinical practice.
Physical therapy is an extremely patient-centered and hands-on field. Physical therapists are mainly concerned with helping patients work through physical issues, from injuries to normal wear and tear from aging, so they can move easier, experience less pain, or learn to live with a disability.
As transitional programs for working professionals, online physical therapy doctoral programs require you to have prior clinical experience in the field. At a bare minimum, you will need a U.S. physical therapy license, and a bachelor’s or master’s degree in physical therapy. Some programs require you to have additional professional experience if you have less education.
Practicing physical therapists must be licensed in all states, with the license renewed on a regular basis. Most states require you to complete continuing education courses for renewal of the license. Licensure involves passing an exam, such as the National Physical Therapy Examination, or similar. Physical therapists can, with enough experience, also become board certified in areas like pediatrics or sports physical therapy. Board certification requires you to pass an exam for your specialty area.
As number eight on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Jobs of 2012, physical therapy is a job with a great outlook. Physical therapists work in clinics, hospitals, and private offices. Throughout their career, they spend much of their time interacting with patients, as well as with coworkers in the medical field, including physicians, occupational therapists, and social workers. In addition, there are many opportunities to work part-time, making this a flexible and fast-growing field.
Physical therapy is one of the fastest growing professions, with an expected job growth of 39 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that time, 77,400 additional jobs will be added. Much of this rising demand is a result of the increased need for physical therapy services by an aging population. The median salary in 2010 was $76,310, with higher wages paid in physician’s offices and hospitals.
Online bachelors degree in Biology or Pre-Med: Bachelor’s degrees in Biology or Pre-Med provide you with many of the prerequisites needed for graduate physical therapy degree programs, including anatomy, physiology, biology, and chemistry.
Online masters of business administration (MBA): A business degree can expand your credentials in the job market, enabling you to combine business training with your physical therapy degree.
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