Physical Therapist Education Requirements
Physical therapist education requirements set the bar high, reflecting the challenging nature of the field and the trust clients place in them during a vulnerable time in their lives. After all, physical therapists help people recover from injuries or other conditions that limit their movement, so they need top-notch skills and education.
- Bachelors Degree: Although an undergraduate degree will not qualify you for a career in physical therapy or satisfy license requirements, most people need a bachelor's degree to gain admission to a physical therapy education program. Some programs do admit students straight from high school, but they still require completion of undergraduate courses and a minimum college GPA.
- Post-Baccalaureate Degree: Physical therapists need at least a master's degree to meet state license requirements and begin their careers, but many pursue doctorates as well. Choose a program accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association's Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Otherwise, your program might not satisfy licensure requirements and your education dollars and time will go to waste.
- Continuing Education: Prepare to embrace lifelong learning. Physical therapists must complete continuing education courses to maintain their licensure. Some physical therapists pursue clinical specialties as well. Earn continuing education units by taking courses through the American Physical Therapy Association.
- For a list of CAPTE-accredited physical therapy education programs, visit the APTA website at apta.org and click "Prospective Students."
- For a list of continuing education courses and conferences offered by APTA, visit apta.org and click "Careers & Education." Choose "Courses & Conferences."