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If you wanted to be a physical therapist, how many years of schooling past high school are required?

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I am interested in becoming a physical therapist for athletes #medicine #sports #physical #therapist

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Jaclyn’s Answer

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To be a physical therapist, a total of 7 years of schooling past high school is required. You will have to obtain a 4 year college degree and then apply to physical therapy school. My roommate while I was in law school attended and graduated from physical therapy school in May 2017. Her focus was primarily on being a physical therapist for children with disabilities or premature infants that needed to gain muscle strength before being sent home. However, there are several rotations that encourage people to work with individuals who were injured while playing sports but keep in mind, most of these were individual practice offices and not affiliated with a professional sports team.

In addition to completing physical therapy school, there is also a state licensing examination that you must successfully pass before becoming a physical therapist. My roommate also passed this exam and most schools will teach you everything you need to know in order to be successful.
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Kelly’s Answer

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So much has changed from the 80's when I earned my bachelor's degree in speech pathology. Most of the allied services I worked with, occupational therapy, physical therapy, audiology, only needed bachelor degrees then it went to master degrees in the 90's to today being a doctorate degrees. However, the doctorate in OT, PT and Audiology shouldn't be mistaken for doctorates (Ph.D) as they are professional based and not research based that is required for Ph.D.s. Even speech pathologist now have a professional doctorate, the SLP.D.

I might also add that a close friend of mine that is a physical therapist and adjunct facility with the UTHSC informed me that physical therapy programs are actually harder to get into than getting into medical school.

With that said, entry level for a physical therapist is an earned degree in Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Again it is not like a Ph.D. where you earn a bachelor degree (4 years), master degree (2 years) and then doctorate (generally 4 years). Most study plans are a bachelor's degree in physical therapy or pre-physical therapy and then 3 additional years for the DPT. You must attend a program that is CAPTE certified.

After graduating, you must pass a state licensing exam to become eligible to practice. During the course of your work experience, you may choose to take an exam to become certified in speciality area such as Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports PT, etc.

Good luck on your endeavor. When I was going to college I was going to graduate in four years and cure the world. I did graduate in four years and started working but continued in graduate school earning a master degree. I changed jobs being close to another university, I worked and earned a second masters. I then grew tired of that job going back to post grad to earn my Ph.D. I then went on working going back to school to earn my SLP.D. You will never stop learning and that is what makes the fields so wonderful and never boring.


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