How Long Does It Take To Become A Physical Therapist?

Physical therapists assist patients in gaining more mobility and reducing discomfort. It’s critical to understand what physical therapy comprises if you’re considering this career path. 

Making an educated choice about your schooling and the future job can be made easier if you are aware of how long it takes to become a physical therapist. 

In this post, we’ll talk about how long it takes to become a physical therapist, go over the duties, qualifications, and abilities needed for the position, and look at the many degree options available.

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What is a Physical Therapy School like?

You must graduate from a recognized physical therapy program with a bachelor’s and a doctoral degree in order to work as a physical therapist. 

Biology, exercise physiology, and pathology are a few key courses you might take while you’re a student. 

You learn a lot for this career in addition to degree-related coursework from clinical practice. 

Take the requirements for clinical experience into account when choosing a program. 

Other DPT programs can demand more time than the 38 weeks that certain programs ask you to put in.

You must pass national and state licensing exams to work as a physical therapist. 

Both provide you your certification, but only the latter enables you to work as a physical therapist in your state. 

You have the option to become certified as a specific therapeutic specialization as a physical therapist. 

Programs at certain colleges for physical therapy are tailored toward a specific certification. 

To make sure you’re preparing for the correct certification, research each school you’re considering.

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Is Attending a Physical Therapy School Worth It?

An excellent profit potential

You can make a lot of money as a physical therapist. 

The annual income for a physical therapist is about $91,010. 

Even six figures have been earned by some of the top earners in this sector! 

You would be able to enjoy many lifestyle pleasures if your income potential is so high. 

For instance, you may purchase a lavish car, a gorgeous suburban home, or even go on lavish trips around the globe.

You must decide if the initial cost of your study outweighs the salary you will receive in the long run when weighing the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a physical therapist.

You’ll be in high demand. 

Physical therapist jobs are predicted to increase by 21% between 2020 and 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Compared to all jobs combined, this growth is significantly more rapid. 

One of the biggest benefits of being a physical therapist is that there are always jobs available thanks to the profession’s quicker-than-average career growth. 

Due to an aging population and higher retirement ages, the employment of physical therapists is expected to develop significantly more quickly than that of other occupations.

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Traveling can earn you money

You can take paid trips to many locations. 

Many people long to live somewhere else, but since most employment requires you to remain in one area, this frequently seems impracticable. 

However, working as a physical therapist gives you the freedom to relocate almost anywhere. 

Working as a traveling physical therapist is one of the advantages of being a physical therapist if you like to travel. 

Being a mobile physical therapist entails visiting various locations and working in various medical facilities. 

The best of both worlds will be yours. You’ll be able to traverse the nation and make money.

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You have a wide range of workplace options

Physical therapists can be found working in a variety of places such as schools, clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, and private practices. 

One benefit of being a physical therapist is that you can work in a variety of settings. 

If you do not enjoy working in one setting, you can probably find somewhere else that you will enjoy. 

There are settings where all of your patients are children if you’d like to work with them more frequently. 

There are further choices if you like to work nearly exclusively in a clinic or private practice. Basically, you can create the environment you want.

You’ll be assisting other people

Becoming able to assist people in regaining their life is one of the greatest benefits of being a physical therapist. 

Physical therapists work with their patients to help them develop the movement skills they need for daily life, like walking or getting up from a chair, as well as their range of motion, balance, and coordination. 

But what’s even better is that you get to watch your patients succeed. 

You improve their independence, make their life easier, and assist them in overcoming obstacles they previously believed to be insurmountable. 

Few people can make that claim. That must feel wonderful.

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You can get a really nice work-life balance

You will be able to enjoy an excellent work-life balance as a physical therapist. 

Due to the fact that you will be able to attend weddings, baby showers, and a variety of other significant occasions, you won’t ever have to sacrifice your social life. 

Your calendar will allow for all of your life activities, so you will have time to spend with your kids and family. 

One of the greatest advantages of becoming a physical therapist is having the ability to balance all facets of your life.

You might start a solo practice 

It seems quite attractive to be your own boss, right? 

Who wouldn’t want to go their separate ways and manage their own business? 

You will have unlimited freedom to start your own practice if you choose to become a physical therapist, which is one of the benefits. 

There are no restrictions on the patients you can see or how frequently you can see them per week; you can set your own hours. 

Other than yourself, no one else is directly in charge of you.

Your reputation as an exceptional and knowledgeable resource will increase

Within your workplace, people will regard you as an exceptional and informed resource. 

People will respect your expertise in your profession and how well-versed you appear to be in matters pertaining to the human body. 

One of the benefits of working as a physical therapist is that you are such a vital and informed member of the healthcare team. 

You’ll frequently be sought for guidance, and as you help people with their problems, you’ll feel good about yourself. 

Also, you’ll feel wonderful about your employment after this.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Physical Therapist?

You must complete a doctorate in physical therapy, which usually takes three years to accomplish, in order to work as a physical therapist. 

You must complete some science courses, such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, statistics, and psychology, in order to be admitted to this program. 

A bachelor’s degree is required. 

It can also be necessary for you to obtain some expertise in physical therapy. 

Once accepted into this graduate program, you’ll take pathology, pharmacology, radiography, and neuroscience classes. 

Additionally, you gain clinical skills like how to conduct physical exams, make diagnoses, put interventions into practice, evaluate results, and manage a practice. 

Acute care, outpatient, or inpatient settings may be where you conduct clinical work.

You must have a license to perform physical therapy. 

The National Physical Therapy Examination, passing a state’s jurisprudence exam, and graduating from a recognized program are all possible prerequisites for licensure, which varies from state to state (NPTE). 

Many states require continuing education to keep your license.

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Physical Therapist in 2023?

To become a physical therapist, you need to complete six to seven years of school. 

Graduate school for physical therapy normally lasts three years, compared to four for undergraduate courses. 

If you choose an expedited physical therapy program, you can finish in as little as six years.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Physical Therapist in 2023?

For the 2.5-year master’s degree in physical therapy, in-state residents pay around $12,500 in tuition, while out-of-state students pay $32,000. 

Private school tuition can be substantially more expensive; for instance, the University of Southern California charges $75,000 for its three-year doctoral program. 

Many public colleges also offer doctorates in physical therapy, frequently for less money than private institutions.

For example, the University of Illinois in Chicago charges $35,000 for a physical therapy doctorate. 

The price tag for out-of-state students can be on par with private universities. 

For instance, the cost of the 2.5-year doctor of physical therapy degree at the University of Delaware for in-state students is $28,871, while the cost for out-of-state students is $75,156.

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy exam, which costs $350, is necessary for physical therapist certification.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Physical Therapists after Study

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of physical therapists was anticipated to grow by 21% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. 

The trend indicates an increase in persons with physical disabilities as a result of an aging population, advancements in medical technology that extend the lives of trauma victims and children born with birth defects, as well as an increase in chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. 

The BLS also stated that physical therapists made an average yearly salary of $91,680 in 2020. 

It was anticipated that rural areas and places where the elderly are frequently treated, including nursing homes and orthopedic offices, would offer the finest employment opportunities.

10% of physical therapists in the U.S. who are paid the highest make more than $108,580 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Physical therapists make an average salary in Oregon of $90,470, which is a little less than the national average of $91,680. (2020).

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In conclusion, people from all areas of life can receive assistance from physical therapists, who can work in a range of fields. 

If you want to help people manage their pain, heal from injuries, or improve their general fitness and wellness, you should think about obtaining a PhD in physical therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long is the physical therapy residency program? 

While the typical DPT program lasts three years, there are some that condense the academic requirements into a shorter time frame. 
This could help you control the overall cost of your education and enable you to start working in the field sooner. population and environment. Your education in physical therapy will cost a lot of money.

What is the role of a physical therapist? 

When someone is impacted by an injury, sickness, or handicap, physiotherapy aids in regaining movement and function. Additionally, it may aid in lowering your future risk of disease or damage. It adopts a holistic strategy and actively incorporates the patient in their own care.

What academic disciplines are required to become a physical therapist? 

Anatomy, kinesiology, physiology, and pathology courses are all included in the modules of study since they are crucial for comprehending the human body and its processes. 
Due to this training, many physical therapists opt to earn a master’s degree in addition to their undergraduate degree.

What makes physical therapy good for me? 

Physical therapists build relationships with patients as they guide them through the healing process. 
This may make the workplace enjoyable and aid in building patient trust. 
A career in physical therapy may provide increased job satisfaction for extroverted people.



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