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What education did you get for Physical Therapist?

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Nija’s Answer

Hi Char-Lee,

If you have a desire to be a physical therapist, you can pursue a four degree in physical therapy or a related field such as biology, kinesiology, exercise science, excercise physiology, psychology, allied health and health sciences. Most jobs want you to have a graduate degree in Physical Therapy after you obtain an undergraduate degree.

Nija recommends the following next steps:

Continue to do your research on the internet or go to the library to find out about the field of physical therapy
Volunteer at a rehab program at a medical facility along with physical therapists.
Schedule to go to college tours and speak with the faculty pertaining to physical therapy
Refer to this website (occupational outlook handbook) and it will provide more information about being a physical therapist: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/mobile/physical-therapists.htm
Conduct an informational interview with physical therapists in order to obtain information about being a physical therapist.

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Kathy’s Answer

Both of my kids have health degrees- one graduated from PT school about 3 years ago and one is currently working in college athletics. I have learned a lot from them and from being part of their college experiences and career journeys. I hope the information below is helpful to you .

Since about 2015 physical therapists (PT) are required to earn a DPT or Doctor of Physical Therapy. This will require you get a bachelors degree followed by a 3 year graduate program. PT’s diagnose and treat everything from sports injuries to back pain to concussions and post surgical rehabilitation. Getting into PT school is very very competitive so you will want to get excellent college grades to get into a program of your choice. 

You can also consider a career as a PT assistant or aid or an athletic trainer which do not require a doctorate. 

Other interesting jobs are Occupational and Speech therapists. These are important health professional roles, they pay nearly as well as PTs, and only require a Masters degree. 

Kathy recommends the following next steps:

Do some research on each of these jobs. Often there is a professional association that you can find on line.
Focus on the similarities and differences to identify which one matches your skills and interests best.
The college you attend does not necessarily have to have the graduate program you are interested in. Wherever you go to school, just study hard and keep your grades up to give yourself a good chance of getting into grad school.
If you are undecided when you start college just take core science classes that you will need for any of these degrees. That way, even after 3 semesters, you won’t have wasted any credits.

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