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Factors to Consider When Selecting a Physical Therapy School

Higher Education Articles March 16, 2016

The health industry division that focuses on maximizing mobility is physical therapy. Patients will work with physical therapists to increase or restore physical ability and strength, which may have been lost due to injury or illness. State-licensed physical therapists require a graduate degree.

Selecting a Physical Therapy School

Not many schools offer physical therapy master’s degree programs. Aspiring physical therapists can, however, enroll in doctoral degree programs in the field, which are more commonly available. 4-year universities offer graduate physical therapy programs through their human services and health departments. In this article, we take a look at some important factors to consider when you select a physical therapy school:

Choice of Programs

When selecting a school for a Master of Physical Therapy (M.P.T.) program, students have a small number of choices. In 2009, the Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree was offered in only 12 out of 212 physical therapy programs in the United States. A doctoral degree in physical therapy was available through all other programs (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Licensure Norms

A master’s degree in physical therapy that carries accreditation of the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education must be completed by physical therapists. Since licensure is a compulsory requirement for those seeking to practice as physical therapists, the program chosen by a student must train the graduate for licensure eligibility.

Duration of Program

Individuals keen on beginning their careers would want to complete an MPT degree program as early as possible. They may need about three years to complete some physical therapy programs while needing only two years to complete some others that may include summer semesters.

Admission Criteria

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in any major from an accredited school. Prospective students should consider prerequisites when they select a program in physical therapy. Students are typically expected to have basic experience in physics, chemistry, statistics, and anatomy.

However, students may have to complete prerequisite courses in social behavior, psychology, biology and higher levels of physics, chemistry, and anatomy. Extensive physical therapy observation hours, several references, an essay, an aptitude test, and an application fee may also be necessary. An incoming student is typically required to have a grade point average of 3.0. Students seeking admission may also consider the admission rate of prospective schools; only a few students are admitted every year to some relatively selective schools.

Internship Choices

Different schools offer different Internship opportunities. The internships offered by prospective schools may be researched by students looking for specific physical therapy careers.

Master of Physical Therapy

Enrollees in the Master of Physical Therapy (M.P.T.) program need to gain a background in physics, chemistry, and anatomy. Program coursework is a combination of studies in many bodily aspects. Thirty weeks of clinical experience and supervised internships are typically available. Some institutions may substitute large projects in place of thesis work. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:


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