Question – How to become a physical therapist in USA? What are the college course and degree requirements? Is there additional licensing exam requirements?
- How to become a physical therapist in USA (this post)
- Average GRE Scores Required for Physical Therapy Schools
How to Become a Physical Therapist
Here is a quick overview of steps on how to become a physical therapist in USA
- Complete Bachelors degree (with required courses)
- Complete Masters or PhD in Physical Therapy
- Complete PT Residency
- Pass National Physical Therapy License Exam
- Complete State Level license requirements
- Find a job as physical therapist
Now, lets look in detail about 6 steps to become a physical therapist.
Bachelors Degree Requirements
Most physical therapist degree programs require students to complete bachelors degree with certain course retirements.
Some of the pre-required courses include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Human Anatomy, Physiology, College Math, Statistics, etc.
In addition to courses, some hours of volunteer work is also required by few universities.
Physical Therapist Degrees
Students after completing bachelors degree can apply for Masters or Doctor of Physical Therapy
- Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Degree
- Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) or Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) Degree
Doctor of Physical theraphy
The length of professional DPT – About 3 years.
Course curriculum – Biology/anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, communication,
biomechanics, kinesiology,, pharmacology, pathology, behavioral sciences, finance, sociology, clinical reasoning, cardiovascular and pulmonary, management sciences, neuroscience, endocrine and metabolic, and musculoskeletal.
- 80% of the DPT curriculum comprises classroom (didactic) and lab study
- 20% of DPR – clinical education and experience.
Master of Physical Therapy
- Takes about 2 to 2.5 years to complete.
I’m not sure why someone who do Masters in Physical Therapy when they can complete PhD in 3 years.
Both DPT and MPT prepares students to take the NPTE License exam.
You can learn more about PT here.
The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy develops and administers the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for both physical therapists and physical therapist assistants
These high-stakes exams assess the basic entry-level competence for first time licensee or registration as a Physical therapist or Physical therapy assistants.
After completing NPTE, next step is to get state license.
Foreign-trained applicants must have acceptable scores on TOEFL (220); TSE (50); and TWE (4.5) in addition to NPTE exam to get State physical therapy license.
Hope above steps gave a short overview of how to become a physical therapist in USA.