The choice to become a physical therapist can be a challenging, yet quite rewarding career choice. The best way to choose a school to complete your degree is to understand what the necessary educational requirements will be for this job. Once you have this information, it will be important to consider other factors, such as location, costs, and curriculum offered.
If you are fortunate enough to know what you want to do while still in high school, there are some classes that you can take to get you prepared for your college education. In addition to taking the necessary classes for high school graduation, you should look to include extra classes in the area of biology. However, if you don’t know while in high school, don’t worry; you will definitely get the education a need while in college. It is important though to maintain an excellent GPA, as the better your grades are, the better chance you have getting into the college of your choice.
It is an absolute necessity to obtain your bachelor’s degree (4 year degree), in either science or math. It is important here as well to continue to get excellent grades, as the next step is to obtain your Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. This is typically a 3 year course, with some of the focus now not only on classroom learning, but also includes learning in a clinical setting, or internship. During your internship, you will be required to rotate between a variety of functions in a physical therapy setting, all while under supervision.
There are a few options on this road to completing the above degrees. The first option is to complete your bachelors at one particular school, and then apply at another school for your Doctorate. A more practical option being offered now is the combination program of both degrees in the same school setting. A plus to this option is that it is typically a 6 year course, which shaves off 1 full year of schooling compared to the first option. Whichever route you choose, rest assured that you are getting the same curriculum and challenges in either option.
After you complete both degrees, you will required to become licensed in the state that you intend to practice. To do this you must take what is called the National Physical Therapy Examination. Upon passing this examination, you are free to begin practicing! Some people also choose to begin a residency, and then be accepted into a fellowship. These options are available to you to assist you in continuing your career and training, but at this time they are not requirements.
When choosing the school that is right for you, it is important to look at factors such as the cost and the location. By choosing a school in the state in which you reside, you can be saving yourself thousands of dollars. Also, if you are lucky enough to live within driving/commuting distance of a good school, you can also save on room and board as well. You can learn quite a lot about a school by sending away for brochures, as well as actually physically visiting the school, and also maybe sitting in on a few classes that you would be looking to take. Since you will be in school for a while in order to complete this degree, it is important that you choose a school that is convenient as well as affordable, but also offers comfort as well as a good faculty so that you can concentrate solely on doing the best job you can while in college.