How Much Training Do Physical Therapists Have?

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is the accrediting body of

academic physical therapy programs, which have all been moving toward

awarding doctorate degrees. As of 2009, there were only 12 programs left in the

United States that awarded master’s degrees, while the remaining 200 programs

awarded doctoral degrees. The full education course includes a bachelor’s

degree (at least four years of school), followed by a three year doctorate degree.

Passing the national licensure examination is required after graduation to

practice as a licensed physical therapist. Each physical therapist is held to a

standard of care and a code of ethics, preventing differences in levels of care.

After obtaining their degree and license, a physical therapist may choose to

complete a residency, fellowship, or specialty certification in specific area, such

as geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, aquatic therapy, manual therapy, etc.