Physical therapy education is offered in many colleges across the United States especially now, with its increasing popularity continuing to rise. There are different types of programs offered catered to meet the different needs of students all over the world. For example, there are colleges that are mindful of the needs of working students and so these institutions decide to offer online or distance education. Other colleges decide to implement a six-year doctorate program for students straight out of high school.
So what college you go to really depends on your needs and the circumances surrounding you. The factors you need to look at which may affect your needs include location, tuition fees, school reputation and affiliates (if any), size of the PT department, college ranking, professors, and the overall quality of education offered in that institution. The more meticulous you are with this decision early on in your career, the better off you can start your career when it's time to do so.
Currently, the American Association of Physical Therapist requires a minimum of a master's degree in physical therapy before you can start a career as a therapist, in agreement with the rules of the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. In the coming years, these rules may change to require a doctor degree in physical therapy instead, as an entry-level requirement for practice. Despite this, the popularity of physical therapy as a career continues to soar among students and even those looking for a career change.
One thing of note is that physical therapists are only allowed to see patients who are referred by other medical practitioners.However, with a doctorate degree, therapists can be independent practitioners, that is, they can diagnose and treat patients who are afflicted with disability, mobility, and motor function problems and do not need referrals from other doctors first to treat patients.
School rankings are a good way to help you choose where you want to go for your PT education. In 2008 the University of Southern Carolina (USC) topped the usnews.com list. The following schools were listed among the top 10 schools for Physical Therapy Program: Washington University in St. Louis. Louis, Northwestern University in Chicago, MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, University of Pittsburgh, University of Delaware, US-Army-Baylor University, University Of Iowa, Arcadia University Pennsylvania and University of Miami.
USC offers a three-year Doctoral for Physical Therapy Program, which requires completion of 115 units in six semesters and two summer courses. The curriculum also requires participation in clinical exposure and experience through the three-year program. Finally, the dPT designation is awarded to students who finish with a GPA of 2.75 and who complete all coursework, requirements, and clinical clerkship in the three-year allotted time.
At the time of writing, the estimated tuition fee for this doctorate program in USC is around $ 120,000. However, this amount is subject to future increases. There are other options available as other mid-sized schools' tuition per year is pegged at around $ 20,000. This fee does exclude books, allowances and other course supplies though, but an education from a reputable institution does pay off in the long run.
So start your career in physical therapy off on the right foot by choosing among the best colleges around. It may take a bit of sacrifice, but the rewards are more than worth the early sacrifices.