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What degree do I need to be a physical therapist?

Physical therapists do a lot more than simply help their patients recover from injuries: They can provide hope to those who might otherwise be forced to live in pain. These medical professionals can help people from all walks of life to gain strength, increase mobility and relieve pain after illness or injury. Physical therapists work in a variety of settings; they can be found in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient care facilities, schools and other medical practices. Because of their diverse applications, unique skill sets and the aging population, the number of physical therapists working in the U.S. is increasing rapidly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of physical therapists to rise 39 percent in the next decade.

The BLS suggests that physical therapists have an important role in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients who have injuries and chronic conditions. It takes skills and experience to fulfill this role, so physical therapists must receive applicable training and education. Physical therapists are required to have a post-graduate degree, according to the BLS. Most programs award a Doctor of Physical Therapy, or DPT, degree, but the Master of Physical Therapy, or MPT, degree is also an option. DPT degree programs usually take about three years to complete, while MPT degrees can usually be completed in two or three years. Both programs generally require a bachelor's degree for admission, and some may require specific prerequisites including biology, anatomy, chemistry and physiology. In addition to classroom work, physical therapy students will likely complete clinical rotations, giving them hands-on practice in the increasingly popular field.


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