Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
All States require physical therapists to pass a licensure exam after graduating from an accredited physical therapist educational program before they can practice. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, there were 189 accredited physical therapist programs in 1999. Of the accredited programs, 24 offered bachelor’s degrees, 157 offered master’s degrees, and 8 offered doctoral degrees. By 2002, all physical therapist programs seeking accreditation will be required to offer degrees at the master’s degree level and above, in accordance with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Physical therapist programs start with basic science courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and then introduce specialized courses such as biomechanics, neuroanatomy, human growth and development, manifestations of disease, examination techniques, and therapeutic procedures. Besides classroom and laboratory instruction, students receive supervised clinical experience. Individuals who have a 4-year degree in another field and want to be a physical therapist, should enroll in a master’s or a doctoral level physical therapist educational program. Competition for entrance into physical therapist educational programs is very intense, so interested students should attain superior grades in high school and college, especially in science courses. Courses useful when applying to physical therapist educational programs include anatomy, biology, chemistry, social science, mathematics, and physics. Before granting admission, many professional education programs require experience as a volunteer in a physical therapy department of a hospital or clinic. Physical therapists should have strong interpersonal skills to successfully educate patients about their physical therapy treatments. They should also be compassionate and posses a desire to help patients. Similar traits are also needed to interact with the patient’s family. Physical therapists are expected to continue professional development by participating in continuing education courses and workshops. A number of States require continuing education to maintain licensure.