A master's degree can launch students into a physical therapy career

Students who earn a master's or a doctoral degree can have careers in physical therapy.
Students who earn a master's or a doctoral degree can have careers in physical therapy.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physical therapy will be one of the fastest-growing fields through 2018, with an expected 30 percent increase in employment opportunities. In order to enter this rapidly expanding industry, students should consider higher education, as a post-baccalaureate degree is required.

In order to become a physical therapist, students are advised to pick an undergraduate major such as biology, anatomy or chemistry. After graduation, students can either enroll in a master’s degree program, which lasts for two to two and a half years, or a doctoral course of study, which runs for about three years.

During graduate programs, students can expect to study topics such as neuroscience, biomechanics, pharmacology, cellular histology, physiology and anatomy, according to the BLS.

Some schools offer master’s degree programs in physical therapy, such as California State University. However, many more institutions have doctoral courses of study in the discipline, such as Ohio’s Walsh University, the University of North Carolina and Massachusetts’ Northeastern University, according to their websites.

While students must complete a great deal of higher education to enter this field, they can expect large paychecks once they graduate. According to PayScale, a physical therapist typically earns up to $75,978 per year.

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