Health Guide USA
America's Online Health Resource Guide

Physical Therapist Training


Physical therapists typically need a doctoral degree in physical therapy. All states require physical therapists to be licensed.

Physical therapists are required to have a postgraduate professional degree. Physical therapy programs usually award a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, although a small number award a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree. Doctoral programs typically last 3 years; MPT programs require 2 to 3 years of study. Most programs, either DPT or MPT, require a bachelorís degree for admission, and many require specific prerequisites, such as anatomy, physiology, biology, and chemistry.

Physical therapy programs often include courses in biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, and pharmacology. Physical therapy students also complete clinical rotations, enabling them to gain supervised work experience in areas such as acute care and orthopedic care.

Physical therapists may apply to and complete residency programs after graduation. Residencies last 9 months to 3 years and provide additional training and experience in advanced or specialty areas of care. .

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition




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