Helping people to cope with the rigors of injury, disability, or other mobility-related health problems can be incredibly satisfying – however, to achieve this sort of fulfillment through a career as a physical therapist, students must first graduate from physical therapy schools. Easing suffering and assisting patients in leading better lives are often key reasons why physical therapists report high degrees of job satisfaction; however, only the best physical therapy schools will give student the “toolkits” they need to become effective, caring and proactive members of the medical community. With the right physical therapy schools, students will build the foundations they need to achieve their career ambitions.
Candidates for Physical Therapy Schools Must Be Studious…and Compassionate
Self-discipline and a studious nature, along with a humanistic sense of compassion for others, will assist students in excelling at their coursework as they attend physical therapy schools. In some cases, the demands of the curriculum can be quite significant. For example, students may need to achieve masters or doctorate level educations in order to practice as licensed physical therapists. Some typical course topics for a degree program in physical therapy schools include professional practice, human development, and exercise physiology.
Typically, before graduating from physical therapy schools, students must also prove themselves by participating in clinical education modules that are held at local hospitals. At this point, a student’s hard-won knowledge of the human body (and the principles of physical therapy) will combine with the practice of hands-on patient care, which is also taught as part of the curriculum in physical therapy schools. Known as practicums, clinical education modules (organized by college or universities, and held in a range of community health care settings) offer students the chance to begin using their skills to help patients. The best aspiring physical therapists will devote themselves to their patients, using the information and processes that they’ve learned in physical therapy schools.
Choosing the Right Physical Therapy Schools
The first step in choosing the right physical therapy schools is to compare academic rankings for a wide variety of physical therapy schools. The best post-secondary educational facilities (featuring physical therapy degree programs) will always have superior rankings that set them apart and make them more prestigious. Top-ranked schools may be featured in media reports on the best colleges and universities, or they may be featured on websites devoted to ranking schools according to specified criteria – one popular (and current) online resource for ranking post-secondary schools is the 2011 QS World University Rankings website. Books which rank physical therapy schools for prospective students may also be available for loan (at a public library) or purchase. If you’re still in high school, and you’re thinking about attending physical therapy schools in the future, your high school guidance counselor may have plenty of information about which physical therapy schools are the most reputable and impressive.
Another important factor in choosing the right physical therapy school is whether or not the potential school offers accredited programs that will help their alumni to get the credentials and licensure they need after they’ve completed a degree program in physical therapy. Choosing a highly-rated school that is also fully accredited is really a failsafe way to get the most from your post-secondary education. Knowing which prerequisites you will need to pursue an education at physical therapy schools is also very important. In most cases, you will be able to find prerequisites simply by visiting a college or university’s physical therapy department web pages; these web pages will almost always list mandatory prerequisites for degree programs at physical therapy schools. Since masters or doctorate-level education is required to become a licensed physical therapist, common prerequisites for masters programs may include Bachelor of Science degrees or the equivalent. Doctorate programs at physical therapy schools will require Masters level education as a prerequisite.
Career Prospects after Graduating From Physical Therapy Schools
With an aging Baby Boomer population facing more and more mobility-related health issues, the need for new physical therapists (ones that are fresh out of physical therapy schools) is rising. This smart career choice is definitely a sensible employment pathway for students with the right traits, abilities, and attitudes. Hospitals, whether publicly or privately run, will always be looking for competent physical therapists, and they will always require proper licenses for their staff members. Specific health care departments, such as Pediatrics or Rehabilitation Services, may hire physical therapists that must specialist in these subtypes of health care delivery – luckily, degree programs from good physical therapy schools offer a range of courses in all facets of physical therapy.
Generally, aspiring physical therapists who have just received degrees from physical therapy schools will enter the job market at a salary level of about fifty thousand dollars per annum. Salaries for physical therapists that are experienced, well-educated and properly licensed may go up to about seventy-five thousand dollars per year. It is also possible to move into administration or management of a health care department of facility, after beginning a career in a typical physical therapist role. In such a management position, salaries may hit one hundred thousand dollars per year or more; however, in an administrative role, the pressures of the job will be high and responsibilities will be many. To begin your career in physical therapy, learn about the best physical therapy schools, choose one that works with your specific needs, and then apply yourself to studying, learning, and becoming the best physical therapist you can be.