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Rhode Island Physical Therapist Training

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You may think that there would be few opportunities for physical therapists in the smallest state in the union, but that is not the case. There are many opportunities in this state of just over one million residents. The states proximity to large metropolitan areas in both Massachusetts and New York help to stimulate economic activity and create jobs in many fields. So while Rhode Island is small in size and population, there are schools that offer physical therapy programs and jobs for those individuals licensed to practice in the state.

In fact, if you visit the Rhode Island APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) website, you can read that "these are exciting times for physical therapists in Rhode Island." It is the job of the Rhode Island association to expand the demand for therapist services, see that insurance coverage extends to therapist services and to lobby elected officials to support and introduce measures favorable to the physical therapy community.

A recent study concluded that approximately 870 physical therapists currently practice in Rhode Island. While that may sound like a low number, the good news is that the number is expected to increase by about 25 percent over the next five years. This will still put the state below the national average, but the increases are a favorable sign for individuals looking to make a career of physical therapy in Rhode Island. The city of Warrick offers access to educational outlets that can help physical therapy students build a strong academic foundation on which to support their careers.

There are two schools less than 30 miles from Warrick where students can prepare for physical therapy careers. One of these institutions offers both a master's degree and doctorate in physical therapy. The minimum level of education required for a therapist is a master's degree. Earning a two-year master's degree, including four years worth of undergraduate work, will take about six years. The academic load will be heavily based in sciences such as biology, physics and other sciences that focus on the movement and design of the human body.

It is important for potential therapists to get practical experience as early as possible. In Rhode Island there are programs within high schools that encourage students to volunteer and that help place students in volunteer programs. Some of these programs include working in healthcare and nursing facilities. The opportunity to work with elderly residents, especially those who are receiving physical therapy, is good experience for future therapists. The perfect scenario would be for students to volunteer and work directly with practicing therapist as they aid patients. This volunteer work will be even more beneficial for students who pursue programs online and are less likely to receive vital practical experience through their school.

Even thought it lacks size and a large population, Rhode Island has the academic services to accommodate the students interested in becoming physical therapists; and with the already mentioned expansion in the field, students will have a better chance of finding a job in state when they graduate.