How Many Years To Become A Physical Therapist?

If you are interested in becoming a physical therapist, you need to know how many years to become a physical therapist. It’s an extensive process that goes on for 7 or 8 years. You have to get your high school diploma, then a bachelor’s degree at university, and finally a doctorate in physical therapy. The good news is that there are plenty of online degrees available!

They also need to pass exams and get licensure before they can work as a physical therapist. This article will explain everything you need to know about how long it takes to become a physical therapist!

What Are The Initial Steps To Becoming A Physical Therapist?

Being a physical therapist is a very interesting and rewarding career path. It’s no walk in the park though, as it requires several years of higher education to become eligible for this profession.

  • The first step towards becoming one is graduating from an accredited physical therapy program (preferably CAPTE-accredited) which can either be at your university or online;
  • You must also pass the NPTE examination provided by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
  • Once all that has been done, then comes applying into PT schools through PTCAS–the central application system used by 90%+ percent of institutions offering DPT degrees.
  • PTCAS stands for “Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service”. If anyone wants to apply to any public/government-funded PT program, they need to go through this system.
  • After getting accepted into a physical therapy school, you will have to complete the curriculum and pass all your courses which take another two years or so;
  • Once that’s done and dusted, then comes passing the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). The final step is applying for a license through your state’s physical therapy licensing board.

Explanation Of How Many Years To Become A Physical Therapist

To become a physical therapist, one has to go through a long journey of achieving different degrees and having a licensed. In this long process, each degree requires a different time. That’s why the answer to how many years it takes to become a physical therapist, depends on the duration of the total physical therapist degree. The most important degrees that have to be completed by a physical therapist are:

Bachelor’s degree: The Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy, or BSPT program, can take anywhere from three to four years to complete.

  • The study of PT is an undergraduate four-year program. The first two years are spent in the classroom, where students take courses in biology, chemistry, toxicology, biodynamics, and anatomy.
  • Core competencies taught are human structure and function, sports medicine research methods, orthopedics of back problems and running injuries treatment etcetera.
  • Besides pursuing clinical opportunities on campus for observation and practicum we also provide clinical rotations to meet the needs of prospective graduates.
  • For those individuals who wish to work as a clinical physio right after graduation,we also offer correspondence education programs with the University of Western States (UWS).
  • Some candidates will pursue further studies beyond their bachelor’s degree if they plan.

Doctorate degrees: The Doctor of Physical Therapy, or DPT, is a post-professional doctoral degree in physical therapy that takes three years to complete.

  • The initial education for this field requires an undergraduate degree in the physical sciences, which generally takes four years to complete.
  • There are three levels of professional training in physical therapy for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
  • These include, in order from entry-level certification to the most rigorous post-licensure education and fellowship certification, a diploma or transcript recorded in a state or provincial regulatory authority confirming completion of either an accredited PATH® program in the United States, Canada, South Africa with formal registration recognized by CRPO® with specialty approval in orthopedics (SPA), cardiopulmonary (APC), neurology (NLA) or geriatrics (AGX);
  • Possession and successful passage of 54 credits at an undergraduate level toward successful completion of an accredited graduate program;
  • And having completed two years post-licensure, full-time clinical practice under the supervision of a physical therapist with board certification or an individual holding an equivalent degree.
  • Students can pursue degrees at institutions across the United States including DPTs from institutions such as Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Saginaw Valley State University’s College of Education, and Liberal Arts Department of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Programs at UW- UW-Whitewater or UW-Eau Claire; Udacity; Columbia; CCNY; New York University (NYU); Case Western Reserve (C.

Finally, it takes four years of completing a B.S.c in physical therapy and three years of completing a Ph.D. in physical therapy in a total of about seven years to become a physical therapist. This time isn’t always the same, it sometimes varies depending on different institutes. For example, any physical therapist school can offer their bachelor’s of science program with 5 years rather than 4 years. In the same way, they can offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree for 4 years in spite of 3 years.

Physical Therapy School: A proceeding Education

A good PT program always includes education on nutrition and exercise. Going to a PT school with a curriculum on these topics is the best option because it will prepare you for all aspects of your future career, not just what you might learn in clinical placements.

Many schools offer an elective “Healthy Living” course that covers both nutrition and exercise, however, the student must be required to have this knowledge throughout their time at the school during their lectures so they can apply their skills directly in real-life settings. If this information is only provided through electives or one-off study sessions during schooling, graduates won’t be as sought after due to many other hospitals/clinics providing free resources via seminars. Institutions that require attendance and application of this information during the school year will produce more competent graduates who are prepared for their future careers.

Who Needs To Become A Physical Therapist?

The PT profession is an excellent choice if you are someone who thrives on helping others, like the medical field, and wants to make a difference in people’s lives–especially those recovering from accidents or injuries. It is also great for individuals who don’t want to work under pressure and in fast-paced environments.

Some other career options worth considering if physical therapy isn’t your thing: are occupational therapist, athletic trainer, physician assistant, and chiropractor.

A physical therapist is only required to have a bachelor of science degree, which typically takes four years. They need to be certified by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The Association says that most states require physical therapists to be licensed.

What Is The Career Outlook Of A Physical Therapist

The outlook is good for full-time, part-time, and temporary positions in the profession.

Physical therapists help people solve problems concerning movement and use of their muscles as a result of injury, illness, or aging. Becoming an occupational therapist will require additional training in psychology.

Opportunities for physical therapists are projected to grow 33 percent through 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand is driven by population growth and efforts to promote good health outcomes among older people, who have the most disabilities related to mobility loss which leads them to seek out services from medical professionals like physical therapists. The Bureau estimates that 10 jobs will turn over every year because there are always jobs available but a turnover by retirement or other reasons free up space for new graduates to take advantage of opportunities.

Physical therapists can earn $79,590-$106,610 annually, or $13.13-$17.87 an hour, with the median salary being $88,630. With PTs making an average of 2-3 times more than U.S. jobs in general, there is a stable outlook for this sector for the coming years if you want to start your career now!


How many years does it take to become a physical therapist? If you think, “It depends on the school,” then rethink. According to an article from a renowned report, most people who want to be physical therapists need at least 7 or 8 years of schooling. The first six years are spent in high school and college, and the next few are spent working as a licensed physical therapist (LPT) before one can work independently.

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