Online Masters Degree in Physical Therapy

Are you interested in helping people regain their health after injury or illness, improving the way they move or how they manage pain? As a physical therapist, you would be part of a highly trained health care team creating wellness and fitness programs to promote better mobility.

Curriculum for master's degrees in physical therapy

Candidates need a solid background in science and math. Master's degrees in physical therapy may cover these topics:

  1. Biology, anatomy, physiology and neuroscience
  2. Communication and ethics
  3. Examination techniques and therapeutic procedures
  4. Kinesiology, exercise physiology and biomechanics
  5. Management, finance and evidence-based practice
  6. Sociology and behavioral sciences

Specialties include cardiovascular, pulmonary, clinical electrophysiology, geriatrics, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, sports physical therapy and women's health.

Earning master's degrees in physical therapy

Various paths can lead to a physical therapy graduate degree, for example:

  1. A bachelor's degree in physical therapy plus a Master of Physical Therapy
  2. Combined programs that award a bachelor's degree and a graduate degree
  3. A 3+3 program: Specific undergraduate coursework plus a professional physical therapy program
  4. Direct entry master's program: a bachelor's degree in another subject plus a year of core physical therapy concepts

A few programs recruit high school graduates for combined undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Physical therapy career options

The American Physical Therapy Association reports that you can practice as a physical therapist with a license and a graduate degree. According to the Department of Labor's O*NET website, more than half of practicing physical therapists have a master's degree, and over one-quarter hold a doctorate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the doctoral degree is becoming typical in this field.

Most physical therapists work in outpatient clinics, private offices and hospitals. In addition, they are found in rehabilitation facilities, extended care centers, hospices, schools, businesses, private homes, and sports or fitness centers. Some are employed in research and education.

Physical therapy career growth and salaries

The BLS reports excellent job growth at 39 percent for physical therapists between 2010 and 2020; the median annual salary in 2010 was $76,310.

Physical therapy training usually requires on-site clinical work and coursework, which may be available online. Hybrid programs combine web-based studies and practical experience. If you wish to provide a better quality of life for others, look into degrees in physical therapy or related fields like exercise science and rehabilitation science.

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