Having a quarter-life crisis revolving around a career has become a norm in the USA for every young adult. The main cause of this is that they pick careers without researching them well beforehand. So, if you are about to pick physical therapy as a full-time career for yourself, then there are some critical things that you should know prior to beginning your education.
The general question that many people have is, ‘How long does it take to become a physical therapist in the USA?’ However, there are other important questions as well, such as the cost of education and the job outlook after completing the studies. Not knowing even a single one of these can lead to a crisis.
To offer you some help and guidance to avert these common crises, I did some research and took the help of my friends to find out information about physical therapy. Therefore, all your questions regarding the timespan, earnings, and expenditure of becoming a physical therapist in the USA will be answered in detail below.
Education Requirements to Become a Physical Therapist
The time span of becoming a physical therapist in the USA is generally 7 to 8 years. The Bachelor’s or undergrad degree takes approximately four years, after which 3 to 4 additional years are allocated to the Master’s degree. In addition to that, if a person desires to switch to DPT from simple PT, then they need to complete an additional 3 to 4 years of education.
However, this time can increase or decrease depending upon the state where the person is studying. Some can get enrolled in an accelerated program and earn the title of a physical therapist in merely six years. Accelerate programs in physical therapy take a lot less as a Bachelor’s is completed in 1 to 3 years, and a Master’s takes one year while a Doctorate takes 2 to 3 years.
After the completion of a Master’s degree, an individual can jump into the job field. However, they need to pass the NPTE exam to gain their license. It is critical for the candidate to score 600 or higher in the NPTE exam to pass it and gain their license, as without the license they can not practice as a physical therapist in the USA.
However, if an individual desires to continue their education, they can get a specialization. There are multiple specialization courses in the field of physical therapy that a person can take.
Cost of Education
The cost of pursuing physical therapy in the USA is not as high as in many other fields, but it is still higher than some. Generally, a Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy costs around $32,000 in the USA, and the degree of Master’s in physical therapy costs generally $25,000. These costs are general and can go higher with time and with a specific program in a reputable university.
However, if a person desires to shift to DPT and complete a degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy, then the cost of that is pretty high in the USA. Generally, a DPT degree costs $120,000 to $220,000, depending upon the state in which the person is studying and the fact whether they are studying in-state or out-of-state. The table below has summarized the entire above-stated paragraphs.
|General Cost in the USA
|Bachelor’s in Physical Therapy
|Master’s in Physical Therapy
|Doctor of Physical Therapy
|$120,000 – $220,000
Institutes Offering The Best Programs in the USA
Now that you are aware of the length and cost of pursuing a degree in physical therapy, allow me to introduce some of the universities in the country offering the best programs. The following list includes the top 15 institutes across the USA that are the best choices for those who wish to pursue physical therapy as a full-time career.
|Name of the Institute
|University of Delaware
|University of Pittsburgh
|Washington University in St. Louis
|University of Iowa
|University of Southern California
|MGH Institute of Health Professions
|Ohio State University
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|University of Alabama
|University of Colorado
Salary and Job Outlook in the USA
To become a physical therapist in the USA, one has to devote nearly a decade to acquiring the degrees of this field. After that comes a hectic exam of NPTE that needs to be passed with a great score to get a license; however, all of this struggle becomes worth it when you find out about the average salary of a physical therapist in the USA.
On average, a physical therapist in the USA is making $95,620 per year, so their monthly salary is approximately $7970. However, those who have been in the job field for quite some time can also score salaries as high as $101,920 per year, which makes their monthly income $8494.
This salary range can increase for different reasons and factors, such as the state and institute of employment. Moreover, the educational and work background also plays a role in the earnings of a physical therapist in the USA. There are a few states and areas that offer the best packages to physical therapists in the USA, and they are shared below.
|Area and State
|San Jose, California
|San Francisco, California
|Carson City, Nevada
Career Advancement Opportunities
The last detail that I would like to touch on this topic is the career advancement opportunities for physical therapists in the USA. An individual can complete their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and get a license to practice physical therapy. Moreover, as you are already aware of it now, there is also the field of DPT and getting the degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy.
However, the career advancement opportunities do not end here. If an individual would like to proceed further in this field, they can do so with the help of education in the field. They can get a specialization degree in physical therapy.
There are different types of specialization courses in physical therapy. The list includes Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Pediatric Physical Therapy, Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Specialist, Geriatric Physical Therapist, Neurology Clinical Specialist, Oncology Specialist, Women’s Health Specialist, Electrophysiologic Clinical Specialist, Sports Clinical Specialist, and Wound Management Specialist.
These are some of the best areas of specialization in the field of physical therapy that an individual can take. These specializations will open the doors to better and higher-paying job opportunities.
Is a physical therapy career worth it?
Yes, a career as a physical therapist in the USA is worth all the years of hustle and struggle. It leads to a very well-paying job in the country.
What is the difference between PT and DPT?
A PT is an abbreviation of a physical therapist, which is a title acquired after completing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the field. On the other hand, a DPT is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, which requires the individual to complete a medical program based on a couple of years.
Are physical therapists in demand in the USA?
Yes, the demand for physical therapists is quite high in the USA. According to statistics, in the upcoming years, the demand for physical therapists in the country is going to grow even more.
How much does it cost to become a physical therapist in the USA?
The cost of becoming a physical therapist in the USA varies depending on the university where the individual is studying and the specific course they’re taking. However, the general range is between $70,000 to $120,000 to finish the 7 to 8 years of education in physical therapy.
Is a physical therapist a doctor in the USA?
If a person becomes a physical therapist after completing the degree of DPT, then they earn the title of a doctor. However, they are not medical doctors, but they are the doctor of physical therapy, as the title indicates.
With that last bit of information, I conclude my topic of ‘how long does it take to become a physical therapist’ for today. I hope the information shared above helps you in making the right decision. I would like to express my gratitude to my friend, Johanna, who is currently a licensed and practicing physical therapist in the USA.
She helped me with the salary as well as educational cost stats of this article. Moreover, she also cross-checked the facts, and without her help, I would not have been able to bring you all the knowledge that I have shared in the article above.