Today people are living longer thanks to more and more Americans who are eating correctly and exercising. Those are good lifestyle changes; however, the occasional mishap can pull a back muscle or cause an injury that a trained physical therapist can help you resolve, often through rehabilitation. PTs can help improve mobility and manage the pain.
But are you confused about what type of doctoral degree in physical therapy you need in this profession? You’re not alone, for there have been some changes in recent years that dictate what type of degree experienced PTs have and which kind of degree newcomers to the profession should strive to achieve. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has determined that by the year 2020, all practicing professional physical therapist must own a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.
So, perhaps you worked hard to earn an associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree to become a licensed physical therapist. Well, rest assured, you did not waste your time, although, you should plan on earning your online Doctor of Physical Therapy degree as soon as possible. Fortunately, for students who need to fill in the gap, you can earn an online Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT) degree. This program was designed for working PT professionals who need to meet the updated requirements of owning a doctoral degree in physical therapy.
Now, what about students who are just beginning their educational journey to become a licensed physical therapist? Of course, you must go through the proper channels to get there, such as earning your associate degree and then your bachelor’s degree, just like everyone else. But the next logical step of obtaining a master’s degree is not applicable in your pursuit of becoming a physical therapist.
After earning your bachelor’s degree, you may enter directly into an online Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program to finish your education. This program can take up to three years to complete, in addition to, one-year participation in a residency program. Upon graduation, you can sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
For some, the path to becoming a physical therapist will be the usual process; however, for practicing therapist, they will need a transitional degree program to get them to the finish line. Please see our list of the Top 5 Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Programs if you are interested in this field.