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Is vocational school required or recommended to become a physical therapist?

I am in 12th grade and I am interested in the health department. #physical-therapist #therapy #medicine

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Donna’s Answer

To be able to practice physical therapy, extensive education is required usually totaling around 7 years post high school.
To become a PT, you will need to complete an undergrad degree, usually taking 4 years. Then you can apply to PT schools that will then be an additional 2.5-3 years finishing with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. A DPT is the "entry-level" degree needed to practice physical therapy. Some schools that have DPT programs have "bridge" programs for those who get undergrad degrees at the same school that may decrease the time by a semester or two but often a student has to pre-qualify for those programs and adhere to GPA requirements to keep that pre-qualification.
After successfully completing this graduate degree, you must pass a state licensure exam to practice in the state in which you live.
Please refer to the American Physical Therapy Association website to increase your understanding of this demanding career.
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Katrina’s Answer

To become a physical therapist, there is now the requirement to do a Doctoral degree or a DPT to practice. There are some programs where you are able to qualify for the program right out of high school and go straight through and get your bachelor's degree and the doctorate all at the same school. Other times, students will opt to go to one school for their bachelor's degree (usually in biology or health sciences) and then apply to a graduate program to get their DPT. All in all these programs usually take about 7 years to complete.

Another option for people is to pursue a degree as a physical therapy assistant (or PTA). The PTA role is more of a treatment role, and they practice under a physical therapist who evaluates the patient and sets up the treatment plan. These programs are an associate's degree and take about 2 years to complete (though the school may require additional classes prior to qualifying). There are also programs to bridge from PTA to becoming a fully licensed physical therapist.

Both PT's and PTA's much complete a state licensure exam to practice, and most states require continuing education credits to renew your license each time. (Most employers will pay for this.)

Best of luck!
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