According to a 2007 study by The University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, 78 percent reported job satisfaction, as compared to the average of 47 percent across all occupations. Becoming a PT also requires an advanced degree. As of this year in the U.S., all accredited programs to become a physical therapist are Doctor of Physical Therapy programs.
Whether a current or prospective PT, it's important to have a grasp on the doctoral requirements when considering pursuit of this advanced degree. With that being said, currently licensed PTs who hold professional baccalaureate, masters, certificate or doctoral degrees are able to, and will be able to, practice without a DPT.
There are two variations of DPT programs: professional and postprofessional. Here's information about both:
Professional DPT program basics
Professional, or entry-level, DPT programs are designed for aspiring PTs who do not have a PT license.
- Professional DPT programs are typically three years.
- The program is broken into classroom and lab study and clinical work. Classroom and lab study accounts for 80 percent of the curriculum, while the remaining 20 percent is allotted to clinical experience. The average time spent in clinical work is 27.5 weeks per student, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
- Most programs require a bachelor's degree for acceptance. However, some programs allow a 3+3 curriculum acceptance, where three years of undergraduate and pre-PT classes will be accepted as a base for beginning a three-year DPT program.
- Professional DPT programs can be accredited by only the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Program accreditation by CAPTE is voluntary and designed to guarantee the quality level of the respective PT or PT assistant program.
Postprofessional DPT program basics
Postprofessional DPT programs are designed for licensed PTs who essentially want to upgrade to a DPT degree, according to the APTA. At their core, these programs work as a supplement to cover PT-related advancements throughout the past five to 10 years. The standards of postprofessional programs are analogous to that of professional programs.
- The length of postprofessional DPT programs varies based on school and curriculum.
- The program is broken into classroom and lab study and clinical work.
- Postprofessional DPT programs are not accredited by the CAPTE, as it grants accreditation to only entry-level programs.
- The curriculum of postprofessional DPT programs can be customized to reflect the prior experience and knowledge-base of students, reducing the chance of learning material and concepts with which they are already familiar.
- The program is composed of only experienced PTs, leading to a learning environment unique from the professional DPT program.
Read the full article for more on finding the right DPT program.
About Aureus Medical Group:
Aureus Medical Group is a national leader in healthcare staffing specializing in the successful placement of Nursing, Advanced Practice, Cardiopulmonary, Diagnostic Imaging, Medical Laboratory, Neurodiagnostics, Radiation Oncology, and Rehabilitation Therapy professionals, as well as Physicians, in hospitals and medical facilities nationwide. With more than 30 years of experience, Aureus Medical offers a full range of staffing options, including national contract (travel), local contract, and direct hire. Aureus Medical is the largest affiliate of Omaha-based C&A Industries, a leading provider of human capital management solutions for more than 45 years.