There is an increasing need for physical therapists in many different working environments. This has resulted in a constant growth in their salaries and more job availability than ever before. As a result, they can also rest assured as they have considerable job security and competition is not a major concern in most cases.
Physical therapy is also a very rewarding career. You are working with patients that may have injuries or pain issues. You will be providing them with the advice or actually applying techniques to heal the issue as best as possible. This will be very satisfying on your end, but there will also be the issue where you end up having to treat patients that will not actually see major improvements or recovery. Although, being able to follow a client as he or she rehabilitates a serious injury will definitely be rewarding once you have fully completed this process.
The end goal will be to become certified as a PT. This can be achieved by getting state license through your state’s exam. This is conducted by providing graduates with the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). If this is passed, then the graduate will receive their certificate and be qualified to practice as a licensed physical therapist in their state. This is the necessary credential for you to truly be qualified for most positions. Some entry level positions may be obtained with a lesser degree, such as through vocational training programs, but the full achievement is definitely preferred.
The requirements to sit for the PT certification exam will vary depending on your particular state. Typically, you will need to have gone to an accredited physical therapy school and successfully completed a program that was approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Make sure that you know of all the particular requirements and take the time to plan out your education path so you can reach certification in the shortest time possible.
How to Find the Right Schools?
As just mentioned, completing an accredited program is essential if you want to be able to sit for the physical therapy exam. As a result, you will want to make sure that you only choose from schools that are CAPT approved. This will verify that you are putting your effort and money towards a degree that can be applied to the qualification requirements for getting licensed as a physical therapist in your state. As a side note, you should not solely consider PT schools based on the cost of enrollment as the quality of their teaching will have a much greater factor in the true value of the course.
You can do some more research online for the various school options in your area. You should look on discussion forums to see what previous students have said about the schools that you are interested in. This will give you a better idea on which schools have the most to offer and are recognized for having very helpful or not as helpful teachers.
There is an abundance of information that you may discover, so at least take the time to research each prospective physical therapy school before applying for enrollment. Also, make sure that you properly educate yourself on the licensing process and all those requirements so you do not end up falling short of qualifying once it comes time to apply to sit for your exam.
Career, Salary and Jobs Outlook
Physical therapy is a career path that can lead to a decent job with a relatively high salary. There is a variety in the amount that physical therapists make though. Starting out, many therapists will make around $55,000 to $70,000 per year. This amount can easily increase to $90,000 or more per year after a couple years of experience. If you are working in your own office, then a salary of well over $100,000 is also very achievable.
Another important variable is the particular workplace in which they are employed. For example, you may start out at under $50,000 a year as a PT in a pediatric working environment but easily see a starting salary of over $70,000 when working in an outpatient clinic environment. As a result, it is important that you prepare yourself as much as possible and receive certification as a physical therapist and then pursue the most appealing career options in physical therapy.