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Physical Therapist Certificate

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To become a licensed physical therapist there are two essential legal requirements that remain true nationwide. The first is that the person must have a graduate degree from an accredited school in physical therapy. The second requirement is to gain your state licensure which requires you to take the National Physical Therapy Examination as well as fulfilling any necessary state requirements. Once you have achieved both of these feats, you can legally practice in your state of choice. This may seem like an arduous process to go through for a profession but it is worthwhile given the daily benefit granted from helping people in such a way that only a physical therapist can.

The Degree

The group that provides accreditations to schools is the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) which is governed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). They have currently only granted accreditation to 212 different institutions according to the bureau therapist getting her certificationof labor statistics. Of those, only 12 are master’s degree programs while the remaining 200 are doctorate programs. For the person who is applying to these programs, they must have an undergraduate degree, usually a degree heavily weighted towards courses in the sciences. That undergraduate experience also usually needs to contain some experience volunteering for a physical therapy department in a local hospital or other healthcare facility. Once you have gained access to the program of your choice, you will then have to spend approximately two and a half years on a master’s program and three years on a doctorate program. This graduate degree will be where you earn most of your experience with physical therapy that allows you to provide the quality services you will eventually grant patients in your profession. This is also where you will learn most of the skills you need to pass the necessary requirements to gain the state licensure that allows you legally practice physical therapy.

The License

Every state in the country regulates the practice of physical therapy. It may be a good idea to research the state that you would like to practice in prior to looking for schools as a school in the same state will provide you with the most information on what it is like to practice in that state as well as what is necessary to become licensed in that state. All states require that you pass the National Physical Therapy Examination as a baseline for all physical therapist licensures. After this basic requirement has been achieved, each state may have its own specialized examinations or other requirements depending on the states’ laws. Also, many states will require continuing education once you have been licensed. The continuing education will be necessary to maintain and update your license while practicing.

The license is the culmination of the physical therapy education process. Any school should put you in a good position to get your license once you have graduated but those schools that are in certain states will have a better understanding of how that state works regarding the licensing process.