If your asking yourself the question “Should I pursue a physical therapy degree” then you are in the right place. If your looking at becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), there are many things you will need to consider. While being a physical therapist has one of the highest job satisfaction ratings in the nation, it can still come with many challenges. The greatest challenges for many are education, cost, and understanding your own personality. Before we dive into all the challenges let’s start with a standard definition of a physical therapist…
A physical therapist (PT) works with patients who have suffered physical disabilities as the result of an accident or other medical related issues. Physical Therapists consult with medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, and occupational therapists in order to create a patient’s rehabilitation program. A PT works with the patient over a period of days, weeks, and in some cases months to bring them as close as possible back to their normal state of mobility and function.
So while a simple definition gives some insight to the role of a PT, there are many things to consider if you decide you want to embark on the journey to becoming a DPT. The road to getting your Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is not an easy one, and will require that you have patience, the determination to learn and stay the course, while also enveloping the unwritten personality traits that help you shine as a leading physical therapist in your area. So let’s take a look at the major impact points of becoming pursuing a physical therapy degree.
A full DPT degree will require these items:
- 4 year Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. A science degree is preferable as it will help to meet the requirements for the DPT Program
- 3 years Post Graduate degree from an accredited school. These programs are direct hands on training for what a DPT will need to know as a full time practitioner.
- Passage of the NPTE Exam: This exam is designed to assess basic entry-level competence of the licensure candidate who has graduated from an accredited program or from an equivalent non-accredited program
The transition between 1 and 2 can require a considerable amount of time and effort if you’re not using the correct resources to evaluate your school. This is why sites like PhysicalTherapyGraduate.com can really help you accelerate your school research and help you find out which school is right for you!
Apart from the costs of your 4-year Bachelor’s degree, you can expect to pay anywhere between $30k upwards of $200k for your schooling pending you don’t have any scholarships, grants, or additional funding. These calculations include living costs and the difference in the price of in-state and out-of-state tuition. One thing to keep in mind is that private schools tend to cost a bit more. While this is not always the case in some health care industries, a higher ranking school can slightly increase your job acceptance rate.
The Unwritten Rules
Beyond the education and paying for school, you will also need to have the right mindset to become an outstanding Doctor of Physical Therapy. The very best physical therapists are those who have a great temperament, patience, compassion, kindness, and sympathy. Without these internal characteristics, it can be difficult to work with patients who have experienced extreme trauma or medical setbacks.
It’s also important that you understand these unwritten rules and how they can affect you on your day to day job before entering any program. This is why it’s important to look for schools that require observation hours. Without spending some serious time in this profession, you could easily find yourself frustrated in a career that is not exactly what you expected.
If any of these physical therapy requirements seem excessive, or feel like “deal-breakers” to you, then possibly earning a physical therapy degree just simply isn’t something you should pursue. If these physical therapy requirements sound like something your willing to tackle, then you should look into the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Just remember beyond the actual time, cost, and education, you will still need to make sure that personality is the ultimate fit to really get the most out of a career in physical therapy. If becoming a physical therapist is something you what to pursue, take look at the next article in the “Getting Started Series” tilted:
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