Physical therapists, also called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. They’re an important part of rehabilitation and treatment of patients with chronic conditions or injuries. Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from back and neck injuries; sprains, strains, and fractures; arthritis; amputations; neurological disorders; injuries related to work and sports; and other conditions. They can also work at preventing loss of mobility by developing fitness and wellness programs to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles. The work of physical therapists varies by type of patient.
Physical therapists typically work in private offices and clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. They spend much of their time on their feet, actively working with patients.
All states require physical therapists to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state but all include passing the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Several states also require a law exam and a criminal background check. Continuing education is typically required for physical therapists to keep their license.
After gaining work experience, some physical therapists choose to become a board-certified specialist. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties offers certification in a few clinical specialty areas, including orthopedics and geriatric physical therapy. They may also advance to positions as supervisors or directors; or gain experience and then open their own practice or join a group practice. Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 36 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come from the aging baby boomers, who are staying more active later in life than their counterparts of previous generations.
Also, older persons are more likely to experience heart attacks, strokes, and mobility-related injuries that require physical therapy for rehabilitation. In addition, the incidence of patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, is growing. More physical therapists will be needed to help these patients maintain their mobility and manage the effects of chronic conditions. The median annual wage for physical therapists was $79,860 in May 2012.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA
Physical therapists spend seven years attending school. Students earn their bachelor’s degree during the first four years, followed by three years of physical therapy education In-State Expenses
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
The curriculum is an 8 semester plan of study which incorporates 32 weeks of full time clinical internship. Students enter the program after completing a bachelor’s degree. This means that a total of 6 to 7 years of university-level education is required.
Cost of tuition: Current annual tuition and fees are $22,632.78 for Florida residents and $31,872.78 for non-Florida residents.
Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine on a team under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They are educated to examine patients, diagnose injuries, illnesses, and provide treatment. Their specific duties differ from state to state. Physician assistants work in all areas of medicine, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. The work of physician assistants depends in large part on their specialty and what their supervising physician needs them to do.
Physician assistants work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and other healthcare settings.
Physician assistants typically need a master’s degree from an accredited educational program. Earning that degree usually takes at least 2 years of full-time postgraduate study. Most applicants to physician assistant education programs already have a bachelor’s degree and some healthcare-related work experience. All states require physician assistants to be licensed. To become licensed, they must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination from the NCCPA. A physician assistant who passes the exam may use the credential “Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).”
To keep their certification, physician assistants must complete 100 hours of continuing education every 2 years. Beginning in 2014, the recertification exam will be required every 10 years. Some physician assistants pursue additional education in a specialty. Postgraduate educational programs are available in areas such as surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. To enter one of these programs, a physician assistant must be a graduate of an accredited program and be certified by the NCCPA. As they gain greater clinical knowledge and experience, physician assistants can earn new responsibilities and higher wages. For example, experienced physician assistants may supervise other staff and physician assistant students.
Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 38 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for healthcare services will increase because of the growing and aging population. More people means more need for healthcare specialists, and as the large baby-boom generation ages, it will require more healthcare. This, and some several chronic diseases such as diabetes, will drive the need for physician assistants to provide preventive care and treat those who are sick.
The median annual wage for physician assistants was $90,930 in May 2012.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA
PA programs typically take between 24 and 27 months to complete. So, it will take you about two years to become a physician assistant.
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
The average PA program takes 26.5 months to complete. The first year generally is composed of classroom studies — the essential medical sciences such as microbiology, anatomy, and physiology — followed by a year of clinical rotations in private practice and institutional settings. Estimated cost for a full-time undergraduate student per semester: $12,030.00
At the end of this research I most likely would become a Physician Assistant. I know it requires a number of skills and competencies. With my determination I feel I’m ready to learn all I need to succeed in this profession. To be organized, efficient, self-motivated, and IT literate are assets required to be a knowledgeable PA. This field requires the ability to work well with particularly difficult personalities and to work in very stressful environments, but unlike the leading Physician a PA have a more indirect responsibility since his/her work is always supervised and approved. In comparing the two universities, the University of South Alabama would be my first choice due to the expense of the University of Alabama.