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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Physiotherapist and Research Scholar, ESIC Model Hospital & PG Research Institute- ESICPGIMSR (Under Govt of India),Rajaji Nagar, Bangalore and General Secretary of Bangalore Physiotherapist Network (BPN) 2017-2020

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6 Jun 2015

An article on USA Job Market and Doctorate Programs in University of Texas Medical Branch at and Texas Woman's University :

USA:  No matter what's happening with the economy, Physical therapy continues to thrive.

In order to become a physical therapist, candidates must obtain a graduate degree, usually a doctorate in physical therapy. College programs in physical therapy typically involve a combination of coursework and clinical rotations. Additionally, states require individuals to be licensed to legally work as physical therapists.

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs train students in the procedures of diagnosis and treatment. Coursework covers topics in anatomy and procedures in physical therapy, such as therapeutic applications and exercise, as well as integration and assessment courses.

Besides graduating from an accredited program, states typically require a passing score on the National Physical Therapy Examination as part of the licensing requirements.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston offers primary entry-level DPT, post-professional DPT and bridge physical therapy assistant (PTA) to DPT programs. The bridge program, to be introduced this summer, is a special hybrid program with in-person and online classes. UTMB also has a transition DPT program.

"A doctorate of physical therapy is relatively new in this profession," said Steve Fisher, PT, Ph.D., associate professor, department of physical therapy, UTMB. "As time goes on, the pool of physical therapists without a DPT gets smaller because nationwide, that's the requirement."

UTMB physical therapy students do field work at sites around the state and around the country. They have their first clinical experience in their second year, then do three clinical rotations in their final year that are eight or 12 weeks long.

Hiring outlook for Houston-area physical therapists is great, with most UTMB graduates having jobs lined up either before they graduate or soon after, Fisher said.
Jobs for physical therapists were expected to grow 36 percent from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is significantly faster than the national average of 11 percent for all occupations.

"The job market is currently very strong. Most new physical therapists earn salaries in the upper $60,000s or low $70,000s; if you go to work in a more rural area, you likely could make more than that," Fisher said. "A good PT candidate would be someone who wants to work with people but also has analytical skills, is creative, and has good approach to rehabilitation to suit an individual need."

Texas Woman's University's Houston campus offers an entry-level DPT, DPT for practicing licensed physical therapists, and a transitional DPT (tDPT) Ph.D. program for already practicing physical therapists. Entry-level DPT candidates have to do five different clinical rotations from one half-day a week to 12 consecutive weeks. Transitional and Ph.Ds are already licensed, so there are no internship requirements for them.

"By May of their graduation year, one-third of students likely have already committed to a position, and after their licensure exam in July, 90 percent have likely accepted a position and with the rest likely considering how they want to spend their last free summer," said Peggy Gleeson, associate director, School of Physical Therapy at Texas Woman's University's Houston campus. "By August, essentially all new graduates have jobs or multiple job offers. In recent recessions, none of our graduates lost jobs or faced reduced hours. There is excellent job stability."

"The ideal PT candidate is someone who is hard-working both in their studies and profession. They also need to want to continue to learn throughout academic career and after they graduate," said Carolyn Da Silva, coordinator of entry-level study, TWU School of Physical Therapy. "We give students the basic skills they need for their exams and getting a job, but it's up to them to pursue extra education and work to improve the care they give to patients.

"Lifelong learning is important; as we're able to diagnose more conditions and learn more how the body functions. There always is more information out there; it's up to PTs to stay up on literature and changes in health care administration. PTs need to be critical thinkers and have to be able to figure out what a patient's problem is with whatever resources they have available."

Flexibility of profession is what sets physical therapy apart in some ways, Gleeson said. It's fairly easy to change your focus, such as going from outpatient orthopedic to pediatrics or geriatrics, and maintain your standing without losing momentum. There also are opportunities for part-time work if PTs want to get another degree, raise a family, etc. If someone moves to different state or city, it's fairly easy to find a job in another area because PTs are in such demand.

Compiled for Information purpose by Physiotherapy Jobs Portal: www.physiotherapyjobs.co.in
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