Physical Therapist in California

According to BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) there is an average of 14,000 physical therapists in California out of 167,000 in the whole nation. That is a sizeable amount of physical therapists in California, yet you can command an impressive salary as a qualified PT.

As a certified PT you could evaluate a patient but cannot provide the PT treatment unless you have received the diagnosis from the physician, chiropractor, dentist, podiatrist or the other licensed health practitioners. In California, you will be required to wear an identification tag with the name on it. You could also supervise the licensed physical therapist assistants or the physical therapy aides (who do not need to be licensed but can only provide care if you are nearby the patient).

Physical Therapist in California Education Requirements

The Physical Therapist in California required education is to complete a master’s degree in physical therapy and to pass the California state licensure exam in order to be able to practice in this state. Several of the physical therapy programs are moving into a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) status and it takes 3 years for its completion after accomplishing the undergraduate studies. There are still programs that are in the master’s degree level in physical therapy, but several programs plan to shift into the DPT level.

Very few undergraduate programs are specific to physical therapy. Several undergraduates aspiring to be physical therapists should choose a program related to science, kinesiology, exercise physiology or biology as a major.

To become a physical therapist in California you must apply for your license from California Department of Consumer Affairs. If you have recently graduated from the accredited Physical therapy program and you hold the Physical Therapist in California certification and certificates in a sealed envelope, you must then pass the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Examination) and the CLE (California Law Examination). It will only take you an hour to complete the CLE multiple choice exam.

If you have acquired your Physical Therapy license with another state, you can apply for your license in California by having your NPTE scores transfered with an endorsement. You still have to take and pass the CLE. There is a $125 fee to process the application. You also have to pay $100 if it is your first time to be licensed. For the non-residents of Californica, you have to submit the finger print card and you must pay $51 for its processing fee.

You are also required to submit your latest photograph. If disabled, you should submit your request form for disability accommodation to the state so that the exam proctor will provide you with reasonable accommodation in taking the test.

What courses count towards Physical Therapist in California

Each program for physical therapy may be different but there are common courses being taken. These courses includes exercise physiology, biomechanics, anatomy, human development and growth, patho physiology, orthopedics and neuroanatomy. Several schools includes courses such as therapeutic procedures specific to ultrasound and electrical stimulation. There are also specific courses like examination techniques, geriatric physical therapy and pediatric physical therapy.

Clinical experience is also one of the physical therapist in California requirements in completing the PT graduate programs. The clinical rotations are as long as 4 to 8 weeks and includes various rotations that enables students to gain the experience of multiple PT settings. The rotations include outpatient settings, hospital settings, sports rehab clinics and pediatrics.

What levels of degrees are available for Physical Therapist in California

3 schools in the State University System of California offers physical therapy programs. California State University in Long beach has the biggest student enrollment. The Physical Therapy Department hosts the MPT (Master of Physical Therapy) program certified by CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education).

Master of Physical Therapy

The program provides the students with clinical training, theoretical education and the technical competency needed for entry-level positions for physical therapists in California. This 3 year program focus on the foundational science courses that is offered with didactic instruction with clinical rotations and on the field internship. The students should complete the Physical therapist in California education requirements to be eligible to take National Physical Therapy Exams and to gain their license upon graduation.

Entry-level DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)

The program is designed for the aspiring physical therapy students who have a bachelor’s degree. This requires 3 years to complete with the incoming students completing no less than 150 hours of volunteer or paid experience within a physical therapy setting. Aside from the didactic scientific and theoretical courses, the program will require that the doctoral students must complete the 24 weeks in full time clinical experience fefore they graduate and get their license.

Doctorate in Physical Therapy Science

This doctorate program offered in San Fransciso State University is in conjuction with University of California. It is programmed for students with a complete physical therapy Master’s degree or for the sutdents with clinical experience seeking to further their education. The program helps the students expand their knowledge and skills as specialists, educators and specialists. It is completed in 27-36 months and its completion will be the highest academic study level for physical therapists.

What are the financial requirements to become a Physical Therapist in California

The financial costs to complete the Physical Therapist in California degree may vary depending on the school the student has chosen to enrol in, the degree they are taking, their residency and the other costs added to the tuition. For example, the average tuition cost in University of Southern Califormia is around $38,600 per year. That does not include additional fees amounting to $700.

What are the continuing education requirements for Physical Therapist in California

Recently, there have been changes in the California law regarding the licensure of physical therapists. If the renewal of our license is before the 31st of October, 2010, you will not need to take the physical therapist in California continuing education classes. After that date, you will be required to renew your license every 2 years by taking 30 hours of continuing education courses. This will be pro-rated in the next expiry date of your license.

Two hours should be devoted to ethics, regulations and laws. 4 hours is focused on life support for health professionals. You can earn the hours by publishing one journal article, a book chapter or a case study, presenting a college or the continuing education course initially, by serving on the California Physical Therapy Board or by attending a board meeting, or by attending the conference on physical therapy.

What are the skills necessary to become a Physical Therapist in California

A professional must have these Physical Therapist in California qualifications in order to succeed in their career:

  • Must have excellent judgement and abilities in problem-solving
  • Must have tact, compassion, patience and flexibility
  • Must enjoy working with people and makes every patient’s rehabilitation goals their priority
  • Must win confidence, commitment and trust of patient
  • Must have good written and verbal communication skills

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: