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Tennessee regulations on becoming a Physical Therapist

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The University of Tennessee is a member of the South Eastern Athletic Conference. This organization is formed by a group of south eastern schools where football is almost as important as breathing. Whatever their professions and hobbies, it is a safe bet that many of the 6.2 million inhabitants of Tennessee will spend Saturday afternoons in the fall seated in front of TV sets or at the football stadium watching their beloved Volunteers on the grid iron. In addition to football, this southern state is known for the presence of the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River within its borders.

To become a physical therapist in Tennessee, or any state for that matter, one must get a solid education that meets the requirements for licensure in the profession. Before entering a physical therapy program or obtaining a degree from a college or university, students should check that the program and school meet national accreditation standards and the standards of the state in which the student wishes to practice. While the guidelines for most states are similar and reflect the standards set nationally, there can be subtle distinctions worth noting.

In Tennessee, a physical therapist candidate must have an undergraduate degree in a health care related field. There are many colleges and universities in the state from which individuals can earn such a degree, which will form the foundation for their quest to practice physical therapy. There are also online programs that can be combined with practical experience gained from volunteering in hospital, clinics and other environments in which therapist provide services. Regardless of which path a student follows, he or she should be sure that the chosen school and program meet all requirements established at the national and state levels.

Once the undergraduate work is completed, the next step is finding a graduate program that meets Tennessee state guidelines. The number of options available for the graduate degree will be far smaller than the one representing undergraduate options. However, there are numerous master's and doctorate level degrees to choose from in state, and more are available from out of state institutions online. After, at least, a two-year master's degree in physical therapy is completed, students can apply to take the National Physical Therapy Exam, which when passed will allow potential therapists to apply for licensure in the state of Tennessee. However, many students will choose to seek doctorate degrees because this will increase their potential earning power as they enter their profession.

Before taking the national examination, students will be required to present information regarding their qualifications along with a fee for taking the test. Once the information is verified and all fees are paid, students will be allowed to sit for the exam. A passing grade means that students can move to the next step and apply for licensure. Again candidates will have to provide all pertinent information and pay a fee. When licenses are granted students are ready to begin their careers as practicing physical therapists.

Tennessee is a great place to work and live. On top of the already mentioned attractions, the state is home to two of the country's leading music cities, Memphis and Nashville.