FAQ: Becoming a Physical Therapist

Patient Noel Edwards at Performance Physical Therapy.
Patient Noel Edwards at Performance Physical Therapy.

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What does a physical therapist do?

Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat people of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs also help prevent conditions associated with loss of mobility through fitness and wellness programs that achieve healthy and active lifestyles (from American Physical Therapy Association Web site: www.apta.org).


What kind of education do I need to become a physical therapist?

You will need to have a graduate degree, a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.


How many years of study will I need?

You will need to complete a four-year Bachelor’s degree and an additional two to three years in a graduate program.


What major should I choose for my Bachelor’s degree?

Any major will qualify you to apply to a graduate Physical Therapy program, but you will need to take certain courses to prepare you for this course of study. Different graduate programs require different courses. Brenau University’s physical therapy program will require two chemistry courses, two physics courses, three biology courses, including a physiology, a statistics course and two psychology courses.


How much do Physical Therapists earn?

According to the APTA Web site, the median salary (meaning half earn more and half earn less) for a Physical Therapist is $68,000 a year. This varies by years of experience, specialty area and the location.


What kinds of places do Physical Therapists work?

Physical therapists may own their own clinics, or work in hospitals, clinics, homes, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools and fitness centers, among many possibilities.


What is the current employment forecast for Physical Therapists? 

There is a high demand for physical therapists in the workforce.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Physical Therapists is expected to grow by 39% from 2010 to 2020.

Filing a Complaint with CAPTE:

CAPTE considers complaints about programs that are accredited, or are seeking accreditation by CAPTE, and complaints about CAPTE itself. This process is described on the CAPTE web site by clicking the “Complaints” link. For more information regarding the process of filing a complaint with CAPTE, please contact the:

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, VA 22305-3085
Phone: 703-706-3245
Email: accreditation@apta.org

Department of Physical Therapy
College of Health Sciences
Contact Tiffany Wilson at twilson3@brenau.edu or +1-678-971-1832