So you want to become a physical therapist but are in doubt about how long does it take to become a physical therapist? Let this article give you the answers and help you understand the importance of each year you spend in preparation for this professional job that requires high level of knowledge and skills.
In order to become a licensed physical therapist, one is required to undergo both strict education and actual training which can span six to seven years. This is because in order to be eligible to enter into a physical therapist education program, one should have finished a four-year bachelor’s degree, preferably in any of the health sciences courses offered in colleges and universities. Some community colleges even offer a pre-physical therapy training course which you can take in place of a four-year degree. This can also make you eligible for a master’s education in this field.
Taking up a master’s degree in physical therapy can take up to two to two and a half years to finish. This stage in your education and training will be focused on the theories and methodologies of physical therapy. In the final semester, a student should have gained clinical experience under the able supervision of professional physical therapists in different types of settings. This degree program should be taken from any of the CAPTE-accredited educational facilities; otherwise you may have to do it over again when the licensure state regulatory boards reject your application to take the licensure exam.
The answer to the question of how long does it take to become a physical therapist can also vary depending on the educational requirements of a particular state.
A master’s degree is often enough to make you eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination which you should pass in order to get your license to practice as a professional physical therapist. Some choose instead to take a doctorate degree program which can last for three years, which is really just the same as a master’s degree but provides more extensive training in the field. Whatever you choose to take, just be sure to take a proactive approach to your education. What you learn from books may not be enough to get you through the profession so make a point to observe and ask the questions when something seems confusing.
A career in physical therapy opens up a lot of opportunities for employment as the need for physical therapists is expected to increase even more in the coming years. So instead of losing focus over thinking about how long does it take to become a physical therapist, try to take each day at a time and make it through your coursework with flying colors.