What You Should Know About This Degree
Physical therapists and occupational therapists have similar roles in that they both help those with injuries, illnesses, or chronic conditions. However, occupational therapists’ roles differ in that they incorporate therapeutic use of everyday activities to optimize clients’ quality of life. This career also requires only a master’s degree versus a doctorate for physical therapy.
The demand for physical therapists is expected to rise by 18% between 2019 and 2029 due to factors such as people staying active later in life and the increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Rural areas are expected to see the greatest demand for physical therapists over the coming years.
To become a licensed physical therapist, you must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. The NPTE is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, which provides tips on preparing for the exam, scheduling the test, and what to do if you don’t pass.
Here are some questions to ask when researching online doctorate in physical therapy programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Qualifications for enrolling in a doctorate program in physical therapy vary by school. In some cases, you may need to have a master’s degree in a related field with minimum GPA requirements or have a certain number of physical therapy volunteer hours. Contact your school’s admissions department to find out more about program-specific requirements.
- Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? If you’re enrolled in an online degree program, there are two possible course formats. If the course is synchronous, there are scheduled class sessions that you attend remotely. If it’s asynchronous, the work is self-paced with no designated meeting times. Find a program that fits your schedule and learning preferences.
As you’re taking steps to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy, it’s important to consider factors that affect the time and financial commitment of earning your degree. In some cases, as few as 24 credits are required to earn a degree, while other programs require over 100 credits to graduate. The cost per credit hour also varies, with fees as low as $186 and as high as $2,300. To find out your financial aid options, begin by filling out a FAFSA application.
It’s also necessary to pay attention to application, course selection, and financial aid deadlines. Forgetting to note these dates, which may vary from school to school, can delay your ability to earn your degree.