*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physical Therapists, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
Generally speaking, most bachelor's degrees in Physical Therapy take approximately four years for full-time students to complete. Traditional programs usually consist of 120 credit hours of coursework, or approximately 40 college courses. It is important to note that some institutions offer accelerated degree programs, often designed to help students earn a bachelor's and master's Physical Therapy degree simultaneously and in less time. Some high schools also offer college credit for certain courses, which can shorten the graduation timeframe.
It is important to realize, however, that students enrolled part-time are unlikely to graduate within four years. Those taking only a few classes per semester typically graduate within five to eight years.
Before choosing a major there are some important facts you should know about.
When you know that you want to major in Physical Therapy, you should find out if the colleges and universities you're most interested in carry this major. You should check the academic catalogs of each university to verify which ones do carry an Physical Therapy major and verify with your state's department of education that the colleges you're considering offer the appropriate Physical Therapy education program you need for your field.
If a university you're considering doesn't carry a Physical Therapy major, then it's time to cross that school off your list. Keep checking the other schools. For those that do have an Physical Therapy major, begin looking over their programs so you get a better idea which university interests you the most.
A Physical Therapy degree will certainly require to consist of some really particular training courses. Generally, a bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy looks like an associate level doubled, but associates courses (the first two years) focus more on general studies. While the 3rd-5th years focus more on specific studies related to Physical Therapy. Below is a sample of online bachelor's degree courses so you can see the kind of curriculum that will be typically found. Universities will differ in their specific studies needs. Compare colleges very carefully on the courses they will require you to take to gain your bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy. Sample courses you may need:
Only 41% of students actually manage to finish their Physical Therapy degree on time. There are a variety of factors that could potentially play a part in unexpectedly extending your college career, such as:
Work. Working over 25 hours per week can get in the way of academics.
Credit Hours. Most colleges will define a full course load as 12 credit hours per semester. If you do the math, you will see that you actually need to take 15 credit hours per semester in order to graduate on time.
Transferring. Many students end up transferring during their college career. Many times, there are hiccups with transferring credits. This can put you behind, or even cause you to end up losing your credits altogether.
Be aware of these common mistakes, so that you don't make them yourself.
Accreditation is an important part of selecting a school for Physical Therapy education. Much depends on accreditation and the type of accreditation. There are two main types of accreditation; regional and national. Regional accreditation agencies work with research-based schools, private schools, public schools, and some for-profit schools. National accreditation works primarily with for-profit and career-related education.
There are two types of regional accreditation; they are Physical Therapy program accreditation and institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation uses a group of states as the base to compare the school with other colleges and universities; the group of states comprises the region assigned by the Department of Education.
Programmatic Accreditation looks at specific programs or parts of a college or university. This type of accreditation has the same type of respect and acceptance as regional accreditation for institutions. Regional employers and other educational institutions regard regional accreditation as proof of high-quality education.
National accreditation has a Faith-based branch and a career- related education branch. Faith-based institutions have a different set of standards that recognize the role of faith in instruction. The for-profit branch of national accreditation covers the special purpose and non-traditional schools such as vocational schools. The career-related education requires standards that place appropriate weight on general knowledge and education. Some regionally accredited schools do not accept credits from career-related schools.
Did you know that your salary is not always just based on what level of degree you received, but it also could be based on what school you attended? Many employers actually have their own rankings and rating systems of schools. That is to say, if you received your degree from a college that was accredited by a low rated agency, your salary may actually be decreased by a certain percentage where a high-ranked, well-known, accredited school, can raise that mark significantly.
Colleges and universities generally charge per credit hour for Physical Therapy courses. Multiply the cost by the number of credits you're taking for your total semester's financial commitment. Program fees may not be included in the stated tuition rate. If a university charges $331 per credit hour, multiply this by 12 or 15 (the number of credits you're taking per semester). For 12 credit hours, this is $3,972; for 15 credit hours, it's $4,965.
The College Board's Trends in Higher Education Series reported that the average cost of a four-year public Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy program was $9,970 if taken in-state. It was as much as $35,260 if taken at a private university or college. And be aware that, even if you are comfortable with the per credit hour cost of the program you are looking at, there will be other costs for fees, textbooks, and room and board if you live on campus.
If you are going to spend a lot of time and energy to attain an Physical Therapy degree, you will certainly want some job placement assistance as you near graduation. Discuss this with your admissions counselor when you are considering the right program. In fact, you might want to broaden that discussion by asking about how your school handles internships and if co-op programs are available. Experiential learning can help you not only gain the skills needed to land a job, but you can also cultivate a professional network that will help you build the career you deserve.