• Physical therapists diagnose and treat people of all ages, including newborns, children, and elderly individuals to improve mobility. Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.

    Blending science with inspiration, physical therapists teach patients how to prevent or manage a health condition for optimal movement function, and help motivate them during their treatment. Physical therapists examine patients and develop a plan of care using a variety of treatment techniques that help patients move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also help prevent loss of mobility and motion by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs tailored to each patient’s specific needs.

    Education Required to Become a Physical Therapist

    All physical therapists are now required to receive a clinical doctorate from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. They are trusted health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, diagnose, and then prevent or treat conditions that limit the body's ability to move and function in daily life.

    All physical therapist students now graduate with a doctor of physical therapy degree (DPT), and all 218 accredited academic institutions offer only the DPT degree to new students.

  • Last Updated: 1/18/2017
    Contact: advocacy@apta.org