What is a physical therapist?
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA):
"Physical therapists (PTs) are highly educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility—in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects.
"Physical therapists can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
“Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.”
- Time to Degree: A doctorate is required and typically takes three years to complete. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree to be earned prior to applying for a doctorate.
- Clinical Requirements: About 80% of a DPT curriculum is classroom work, and about 20% is clinical work. The average DPT student spends about 30 hours per week in a clinical setting in the final clinical rotation.
- Certification Requirements: “After graduation, candidates must pass a state-administered national exam. Other requirements for physical therapy practice vary from state to state” (APTA).
- Median Indiana Salary: $84,200 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015)
- Projected Job Growth: 34% between 2014 and 2024 (OOH 2017)
- Minimum GPA: Minimum GPA for applicant varies from program to program, but the average GPA of students admitted to a DPT program is 3.52 (APTA).
- Tuition: In 2013, tuition for in-state programs averaged around $15,000, and tuition for out-of-state programs averaged around $30,000. That did not include living expenses or other fees.
- Application Deadlines: Every program has a different application deadline. Make sure to finish testing (the GRE) and all prerequisites at least six weeks before the application deadlines for your target programs.
- Prerequisite Courses:
- Anatomy/A&P 1 with lab
- Physiology/A&P 2 with lab
- Biology 1 (not botany or zoology)
- Biology 2 (not botany or zoology)
- General chemistry 1 with lab
- General chemistry 2 with lab
- General physics 1 with lab
- General physics 2 with lab