A physical therapist (PT) is a healthcare professional. Physical therapists commonly provide non-invasive treatment for musculoskeletal injuries and diseases, but may be involved in treatment of other body systems as well. In addition to treatment of existing problems, they may also provide therapies and strategies to maintain function and/or prevent future injury from occurring. Most PTs are found in primary care settings, such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes. There are also options to specialize in a variety of subspecialties such as orthopedics, pediatrics, geriatrics, cardiology, sports medicine, and neurology. The PT field is rapidly growing as demand steadily increases and interest in the profession expands. Many people are attracted to the ability to provide healthcare and earn a good salary (average salary ~$79,000).
Physical therapy programs award the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The professional program takes 3 years to complete. Following graduation from an accredited program, all states require passing a state licensing exam before a physical therapist can begin practice within that state. Regular continuing education is usually required to maintain a valid license.
There are currently 6 fully accredited PT programs in North Carolina:
High Point University has announced plans to offer a DPT program.
Wingate University plans to offer a DPT program beginning in January, 2014.
Campbell University plans to offer a DPT program beginning in January, 2014.
UNC Charlotte does not offer a professional-level DPT program.