Different states may have different standards for physical therapists. Consequently, if you want to practice as a physical therapist in Colorado, you need to attend one of the accredited physical therapy programs in Colorado. This is because you are more likely to follow a curriculum that will be approved by your state if you attend a program within that state. Choosing the right program is of paramount importance for your career and the school you choose now will affect your opportunities in the years to come.
How To Become A Physical Therapist In Colorado
Colorado State has a direct access care policy. Essentially what this means is that physical therapists can work with patients directly without referral from a physician. To be a physical therapist in this state:
- You must possess a post-baccalaureate degree from an accredited physical therapy program.
- You must pass a national exam (the National Physical Therapy Examination or NPTE) administered and developed by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
- You must be licensed by the state of Colorado (physical therapist assistants are not licensed by the state and are not required to take an exam).
Consequently is may be easier for you to begin your career as a physical therapist by first becoming a physical therapy assistant and working your way up from there. You can earn valuable experience in this way.
The program you attend must be accredited by the appropriate bodies or else your hard work and education will count for nothing. In the state of Colorado the ‘appropriate body’ is the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). There are physical therapy programs in Colorado that offer qualifications of this kind. In order to be eligible to enter either program you must have the following:
- A bachelor’s degree
- Prerequisite coursework
- A minimum GPA
- Knowledge of the field
- Letters of recommendation
Once you have completed your training program you will still be required to become licensed in the state of Colorado. Remember that different states have different licensing requirements and you will need to adhere to the specific requirements for your specific state. Once you have graduated from the accredited program you must apply for licensure from the Colorado Office of Licensing – Physical Therapy, which is a section of the Department of Regulatory Agencies. The application for licensure will cost you $50 and the application process requires that you provide the following:
- Personal information
- Where you have been licensed as a physical therapist before if applicable
- Proof and details of your physical therapy education
- The name of the school where you studied for the career
- The degree that you earned
- Answers to screening questions about your past
To be licensed in Colorado as a physical therapist you are required to take as well as pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. This exam is, unfortunately, not free and there are a number of fees involved. These fees include:
- $80 for the score transfer to the state
- $55 for the individual score report
- $150 for exam score verification
Passing the exam means the applicant is authorized and licensed to practice physical therapy by the Colorado Division of Registrations.
List Of Physical Therapy Programs In Colorado
There are two main physical therapy schools in Colorado that offer programs in this discipline. They are:
Location: Denver, CO
Program Homepage: http://www.regis.edu/
3333 Regis Boulevard Denver
Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit
Institutional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Location: Denver, CO
Program Homepage: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/
13001 E 17th Place
Type: 4-year, Public
Institutional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Higher Learning Commission
There are a number of things to keep in mind when selecting one of these two physical therapy programs in Colorado. Because your choice is limited you will not take long to make a decision. However it is important to note that your personal preferences will play a big role in your happiness in the program as well as in your chances for success. Remember that you are going to struggle to complete a program and work successfully as a physical therapist if you are unhappy during your training. Because your choice is limited in Colorado, most students simply apply for both programs at once and see whether or not they get accepted. If you are accepted at one program it is highly likely that you will also be accepted at the other. This means that you need to have a clear idea in your mind regarding which schools is better for you. This means considering the reputation and accreditation status of the schools as well as your personal needs and preferences. For example, if one school is closer than the other you may choose that one.
In the state of Colorado there are about 3290 physical therapy jobs available each year. The hourly rate for physical therapists in this state is about $33.55 and they can earn around $69,780 a year.
- In Aurora you can expect to earn in the region of $72,002 a year
- In Golden you can expect to earn in the region of $ a year
- In Boulder you can expect to earn in the region of $63,735 a year
- In Grand Junction you can expect to earn in the region of $63,967 a year
- In Centennial you can expect to earn in the region of $72,002 a year
- In Greeley you can expect to earn in the region of $61,095 a year
- In Colorado Springs you can expect to earn in the region of $72,727 a year
- In Greenwood Village you can expect to earn in the region of $72,002 a year
- In Denver you can expect to earn in the region of $72,002 a year
- In Longmont you can expect to earn in the region of $63,735 a year
- In Englewood you can expect to earn in the region of $72,002 a year
- In Loveland you can expect to earn in the region of $58,487 a year
- In Fort Collins you can expect to earn in the region of $58,487 a year
- In Pueblo you can expect to earn in the region of $78,023 a year
When considering a career in any industry it is useful to have an idea of how much you can expect to earn once you have that career. In short it is useful to see what salary your physical therapy training program is preparing you for. It is important to note that the actual salary that you can earn will depend on a number of different factors, including the employer that you work for as well as the specific sub-industry of the medical profession in which you work. Your level of education can also play a very important role in this regard.
According to http://careerplanning.about.com: “Physical therapists (PTs) held about 185,500 jobs in the U.S. in 2008. Some physical therapists held two or more jobs, which makes the number of jobs held higher than the actual number of PTs. Most PTs work in hospitals or in offices of other health practitioners“. Consequently there are a large number of job openings for individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field. Colorado has a large number of job openings itself making it one of the better states to seek employment in.
The occupation in general is expected to see faster growth than many other industries in the same category. This category of industries is made up of those jobs that require at least a master’s degree in order to work in them.
In Colorado specifically there are about 3290 physical therapy jobs available each year, meaning that there are a great many opportunities for people with a qualification in this field. In addition there is a growing acceptance of physical therapy as a treatment for a wider variety of ailments, meaning that the demand for trained professionals in this sector of the health care industry is projected to increase significantly.
When choosing from among the several physical therapy programs in Colorado it is important that you consider your own personal preferences. Create a list of criteria that you need your ideal school to meet. However you also need to keep in mind that sometimes you may have to sacrifice your ideals in order to attend a school that has a good reputation for producing excellent physical therapists. In the long run the decision you make at this point will heavily affect you career outlooks and opportunities.