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If a person wants to help others with physical problems, he or she may want to start a career in physical therapy. By doing so, you can learn to assess physical problems, develop plans for patients, and oversee the implementation of those plans. A career as a physical therapist can be professionally rewarding.
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The average physical therapist is between 25 and 54 years old and earns $50,000 to $60,000 in full-time salaried employment. Many of them started out with a bachelor’s degree, but the trend is now to hire people with a master’s or doctoral degree to start a physical therapy career.
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If a person is considering a career in physical therapy, the degree he or she has earned is important. Physical therapists can earn an entry-level degree at a university, community college or technical school. This is a two-year degree. Upon graduation, a physical therapy assistant will work under the supervision of a physical therapist and will do much of the work of treating patients.
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To begin a professional physical therapy career, a master’s or doctoral degree is required. For master’s degree programs, people may need to enter the program while attending college. In other places, people are only required to attend school for about three years after their bachelor’s degree. PhD degrees have similar requirements.
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There are specific requirements that need to be met before entering a physical therapy degree program. Various life science courses need to be completed, such as biology and anatomy. Equally important are courses in areas such as psychology and social sciences.
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To choose a school to prepare for a physical therapy degree, it is wise to consider whether the school offers clinical experiences as part of the training. It is also important to know the degrees available and the length of the program of study.
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The final step before getting your first job and starting a physical therapy career is certification. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is tasked with ensuring that physical therapists are fit to take the licensure exam. At that time, the licensure exam must be taken and passed. Employers are impressed by the high scores on the licensure exam. Once the exam is completed, you are ready to begin your physical therapy career.
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Once you begin your career, there are several things to consider. One is that many states expect a person’s education to be routinely updated. This can be done through seminars and continuing education courses. You will not be able to maintain your license if you are not up to date throughout your physical therapy career.
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In addition, you may want to consider a specialty. Specialties in physical therapy careers include geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, neurological disorders, and sports medicine, just to name a few. By choosing a specialty, you will make yourself more valuable, which will earn you a higher salary and often more respect. Beyond that, you can choose a field that is most important to you.
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You can start your physical therapy career by researching schools and finding which ones have the best programs for you. If you do become a physical therapist, you will find both financial and personal rewards waiting for you.