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Doctoral Degrees in Physical Therapy / Respiratory Therapy

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Earn a degree in physical therapy / respiratory therapy from an accredited college

One of the best ways to prepare for a career in physical therapy / respiratory therapy is through a college education. A Doctoral Degree will help you develop entry level skills, general physical therapy / respiratory therapy know how and the basic physical therapy / respiratory therapy experience you need to start your career off right. You may also consider a Post-doctoral Certificate in Physical Therapy / Respiratory Therapy to help you take your education and career to the next level. Please select physical therapy / respiratory therapy school below.

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Why would I want a physical therapy degree?

A degree in physical therapy would allow you to work in a variety of settings and work with a wide variety of patients. It would give you the opportunity to help the lives of others while earning a very good living. If you have an interest in rehabilitation and helping others to overcome difficult physical challenges, then a degree in physical therapy would be a good fit for you.

What do physical therapists do?

Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who help people of all ages, from newborns to elderly people, overcome mobility and functionality problems. These problems my stem from a variety of things, including back and neck injuries; sprains, strains and fractures; arthritis; burns; amputations; strokes; multiple sclerosis; conditions such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida; and injuries related to work and sports.

Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. The exams usually include going over medical histories and then testing and measuring the patients’ strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. Therapies and treatments often include exercise, electrical stimulation, deep-tissue massage, hot packs or cold compresses, and ultrasound to relieve pain and reduce swelling. They also work with their patients to develop plans and fitness programs which will help to prevent the loss of mobility before it even occurs.

Often times after physical therapists diagnose the problems and set forth treatment plans, they will turn the patients over to their assistants or aides. The assistants are the ones who generally do the exercises with the patients, apply the cold packs, and help to perform other treatments in which assistance is needed. The assistants cannot work independently, though. They must always do their work under the supervision of licensed physical therapists.

Some physical therapists have their own offices. Those who don’t are usually employed or work at one of the following types of facilities:

  • Hospitals
  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners
  • Nursing Facilities
  • Home Health Care Services
  • Physicians’ Offices

How much to physical therapists make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary for physical therapists in 2008 was $72,790. The middle 50 percent earned between $60,300 and $85,540. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $50,350, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $104,350. Unless physical therapists are employed by a company that gives them a steady salary, they can generally set their own rates for services rendered.

How popular are physical therapist jobs?

Jobs in physical therapy are quite popular, and they will continue to be popular into the foreseeable future. They have an expected growth rate of 30% through the year 2018, which is a much faster growth rate than the average rate among all jobs.

Like with many of the professions in healthcare, the job growth in physical therapy will be spurred on by the needs of an aging population. Another key factor spurring growth is the changes in restrictions on reimbursements for physical therapy services by third-party payers (i.e. insurance companies), which will increase the demand for their services.

How do I become a physical therapist?

These days, in order to become a licensed physical therapist you must have a post-graduate degree in physical therapy, either a master’s or a doctorate. Once you have your degree, you must then pass the national and state exams in order to receive your license.

If you are interested in physical therapy, but you don’t want to make such a long-term commitment for education, then you can become a physical therapist assistant. Many schools offer associate and bachelor degrees in physical therapy, which would allow you to get a job as a physical therapist assistant.

Salary and career outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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