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What to Look for in a Physical Therapy Graduate Program?

Millennial Magazine - physical therapy

Physical therapy (PT), also known as physiotherapy is one of the most renowned allied healthcare professions. These health care professionals aim at maintaining and restoring health through physical examination, diagnosis, and rehabilitation of patients with limitations in functional mobility. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to help patients to reduce pain, and stiffness, and improve mobility and strength. 

The techniques include therapeutic exercises to aid patients to gain a range of motion in affected areas. Also, the use of physical agents such as heat, ice, electrical stimulation, etc, depends on the patient’s condition. The need for a physical therapist in healthcare is increasing with each passing day and that is why physical therapists rank 10 among the best healthcare jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there would be a projection of 20.5 percent growth for physical therapists between 2020 and 2030 and it’s not surprising. 

Physical therapists can initiate their career as PTs by earning a bachelor’s degree to enter a physical therapy program. As it is the prerequisite to be considered for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. DPT prepares individuals for clinical practice and research. On the other hand, a Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT) is for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in physical therapy to advance the clinical practice and research area. 

What are Graduate Programs for Physical Therapy?

Graduate programs of physical therapy include Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Graduate Certificates in Physical Therapy. The physical therapy graduate programs help practicing therapists broaden their horizons in terms of clinical practice, research, and leadership qualities. In this way, they can provide effective and efficient care to the community and ensure their health and well-being. 

Why Choose Graduate Programs for Physical Therapy?

If you want to practice in the United States, you must have a Doctor of Physical Therapy(DPT) degree to have a license to practice. Initially, there was a Master’s degree in physical therapy but it’s no longer available. So, if someone wants to excel in their physical therapy field, going to physical therapy graduate programs could be beneficial. 

Individuals who are new to the field should opt for DPT as it can be a wise start. Those who already have a license should go for a transitional doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT) degree as it allows them to continue to practice and at the same time increase clinical practice, polish leadership skills, and research areas so they can excel in their field. 

Graduate programs of physical therapy help licensed therapists to have a better approach to patient care with clinical practice. Here are a few ways it can benefit patients to maintain and restore their mobility. 

  • Helps in the Reduction of Pain through therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques 
  • Improve mobility in patients with restricted mobility by practicing stretching and strengthening exercises. 
  • Helps recover from a sports injury for athletes 
  • Helps in healing from an injury and prevents surgery 
  • Recovering functional mobility after a stroke in patients 

Career Options for Physical Therapists

There are many options who want to further specialize and continue their education. There are many options for specializations within physical therapy and you can choose what interests you most after you are done with your physical therapy degree. Here are some careers you can opt for thanks to your wide variety of transferable skills. 

1. Geriatric Physical Therapist

Geriatric physical therapists work with senior citizens to help them maintain and restore a high level of physical health. They help with chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, etc to help elderly patients gain mobility and recover from surgery. 

2. Orthopedic Physical Therapist

An orthopedic physical therapist specializes In the musculoskeletal system. They help patients with orthopedic injuries to relieve pain and regain mobility. They offer customized treatment plans that involve therapeutic exercises and techniques to improve patients’ movement. 

3. Pediatric Physical Therapist

Pediatric physical therapist deals with children and improves their physical well-being. In children, physical therapists help with developmental issues and work on improving children’s motor function. Also,  they can indulge children in physical activities or games to improve their movements and recover from certain musculoskeletal injuries. 

4. Neurological Physical Therapist

Neurological physical therapists help individuals who have neurological problems such as injuries or diseases that have affected the normal function of the brain, spinal cord, or nervous system. Neurological injuries or disorders can affect a patient’s mobility to a great extent. Neurological physical therapists help them to recover from the loss of function through physical activity. 

5. Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists specializes in restoring motor skills and movement in a patient by incorporating everyday activities into their treatment plan. They work in a similar fashion to a physical therapist with the difference that they develop a plan by seeing the patient’s occupation and incorporate physical activity accordingly. 

What do you think?

Written by Dallas Dorrall

Dallas Dorrall is passionate about music and is living her dream managing and promoting Nashville/Muscle Shoals based Country Music Artist, Johnny Collier, currently touring the US. While traveling, she enjoys reviewing new artists, restaurants and nightclubs. Dallas is crazy about her family and friends and attributes her enthusiasm for life to a quote by Marianne Williamson (which she still reads every day) entitled “Our Deepest Fear”.

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