No matter which level of physical therapy job you’re considering, there are many colleges for physical therapy education to choose from. Physical therapy practices have three essential levels of positions: aides, assistants and Physical Therapists. Each of these positions requires a different level and focus of educational study and there are physical therapy colleges which offer career certificates, and Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees which prepare individuals for working in the distinct positions found in physical therapy medical practices.
Career Certificate Colleges for Physical Therapy
While the majority of physical therapy aide jobs to be found in the employment market only call for a high school diploma or equivalent as the minimum education requirement for working in a physical therapy office, those students who complete a career certificate program with one of the many trade schools or physical therapy colleges are seen more favorably by employers. Earning a career certificate can often be done in less than one year and there are many programs with accelerated schedules which allow students to finish their studies in as little as three months.
These colleges for physical therapy focus on training aides to perform the clerical and technical responsibilities that come with working as a physical therapy aide. There are also programs for career certificates in medical clerical work that will serve job candidates quite well in the physical therapy field.
Associate Degree Programs for Physical Therapy
Those who want to work as physical therapy assistants within a clinical setting will need to complete at least an Associate Degree with one of the colleges with physical therapy programs found throughout The United States. Though physical therapy assistants are only required to complete an Associate Degree program, some students decide to go on and complete a Bachelor’s Degree.
If you wish to pursue a career as a physical therapy assistant, then you will want to choose from the many colleges for physical therapy which are accredited by proper authorities such as CAPTE which stands for Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. It is responsible for reviewing and approving the degree programs in physical therapy colleges and universities in The United States.
Colleges that offer physical therapy and provide CAPTE accredited programs for physical therapy assistants are usually junior or community colleges. Programs typically consist of four to six semesters of courses for a total of 71 to 110 credit hours. Degrees from these physical therapy colleges are a mixture of standard classroom study, laboratory exercises, and practical application of learning in a clinical setting.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Physical Therapy
Some people who want to work as physical therapy assistants will complete a Bachelor’s Degree; however, the majority of students that pursue an undergraduate program do so with intentions of entering a physical therapy college for a Master’s or Doctorate Degree in order to become a clinical practitioner of physical therapy medicine (Physical Therapist).
An undergraduate degree program at one of the nation’s colleges for physical therapy will include many courses in the physical sciences. These may include physiology, chemistry, biology, and anatomy, among others. Mathematics, communications, ethics, statistics, and English will also be included in the curriculum of a sufficient preparatory undergrad degree for physical therapy.
Graduate Programs for Physical Therapy
A Master’s Degree is the minimum education required to become a Physical Therapist; however, most students today decide to complete a Doctorate program at one of the top colleges for physical therapy in order to be as marketable as possible in the employment arena. Master’s Degree programs typically last two to four years beyond a bachelor’s program. Doctorate degrees may take up to six years to complete.
When choosing from the colleges for physical therapy, you should keep in mind that any program you select should be accredited by CAPTE. You’ll want to choose a program with a strong reputation and a dynamic curriculum, as well as a school that appeals to you personally. Remember that not all your time will be spent in class, especially during a graduate program, which makes the right fit in terms of school location and community character very important.
Some schools, universities or colleges for physical therapy offer flexible classroom schedules (day / night). Some schools even offer classes that can even be completed online from the comfort of your home or even while traveling.
Choosing Schools and Colleges For Physical Therapy
In order to find the right school for you, you’ll want to review information about the college or university, including class sizes, and success rates for alumni, as well as the course load and schedule for the degree or certificate you’re interested in. CAPTE offers information on all of the accredited physical therapy programs in the country; however, for information about the specific colleges for physical therapy, you will need to contact the schools themselves or review their literature.
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