Due to the vast array of physical therapy colleges from which one can choose from, choosing the right one may appear to be a daunting task. However, there are ways to narrow down one’s choices and make the selection process a bit easier.
Certain aspects such as the area of the country where one lives will certainly factor into the decision, as will the amount of money a person can set aside for their education. Initially, however, one must understand the educational requirements associated with the profession before beginning to review the various physical therapy schools to choose from.
Physical Therapy Colleges
The minimum education required for a person who wishes to become a licensed physical therapist is a Master’s degree in physical therapy; however, some students choose to pursue a doctorate. Most colleges that offer Master’s degree programs require a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, athletic training, biology or a similar subject. These requirements will vary from one learning institution to the next, but almost all schools require a bachelor’s degree in one of the above subjects.
From the time one first enters college, it will take the student six to seven years to complete their education in order to work as a physical therapist. Those who choose to pursue a doctor in physical therapy can anticipate approximately eight years of schooling. Certain colleges also require that one have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater to be considered for admission.
Almost all physical therapy colleges are accredited, but one should still inquire about this aspect during the research process. Accredited colleges offer programs that have undergone extensive evaluation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy or the United States Department of Higher Education. Such accreditation ensures that a student will receive a high quality education from qualified instructors. In addition, to be deemed eligible to sit for the national licensing exam, one must have graduated from an accredited college.
Although there is a vast array of schools from which one can choose from in the United States, some top choices according to educational experts include: the University of California and the University of Pittsburgh.
Those who are interested in undergraduate programs should consider colleges such as Connecticut’s University of Hartford or the University of Evansville, which is located in the state of Illinois. These two schools offer combined bachelor of health science and doctor of physical therapy programs.
The American Physical Therapy Association offers up-to-date information with regard to the accreditation status and entrance requirements of various physical therapy colleges. The Association can also assist potential students with selecting the school that is most appropriate for their needs and budget. As the field is predicted to grow at an impressive rate, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, those pursuing an education with the intention of joining this field are making a wise investment in their future.