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California Physical Therapy Schools.

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings and conditions, from private offices and clinics to large hospitals or even sport teams. As part of their job, they are required to help people conduct therapeutic exercises so they can recuperate from accidents, injuries, or surgeries.

Physical therapists are in charge of deciding an action plan that includes specific exercises, help with posture, and resolving issues of pain and muscle performance. Some physical therapists specialize in a particular area of rehabilitation, such as cardiopulmonary, neurologic, or pediatrics, while others work more on diagnostic and follow-up than on the procedural treatment.

Becoming a physical therapist requires a certain attitude and personality. Aside from compassion and a desire to help others, therapists should also have excellent interpersonal communication skills, as they will act not only as medical professionals but also as educators, teaching both patients and their families the necessary techniques to improve their current condition and avoid problems in the future.

Geting a Degree in Physical Therapy

1. Basic Courses

No matter where the study is chosen and through which methods (online or full-time), there are some basic courses that must be taken by anyone interested in getting a degree in physical therapy.

  • Anatomy
  • Physics
  • Human growth and development
  • Kinesiology
  • Chemistry
  • Human neurobiology
  • Therapeutic procedures

All courses include both theory and practice and most states require an internship period with a local hospital or clinic as a requirement for graduation.

2. State License Exam

Once graduated, you are required to pass a state license exam before being allowed to practice physical therapy. Requirements vary by state and may be simpler to begin working as an assistant physical therapist. Otherwise, look up rules and regulations online at sites like HealthGuideUSA.org.

Most coursework required to become a physical therapist cannot be completed online, unless the educational institution can provide some kind of local link where students can take the necessary practicum courses to become proficient at their job. Still, there are lots of online degree options for those looking at a career in physical therapy.

Penn Foster College, on the other hand, offers a physical therapy aid course, which is officially a certification rather than a degree, but can still be useful to those looking to get started in the field. More common are master's and doctorates in physical therapy, which can be obtained online because they require less practicum coursework.

Physical Therapist Assistant

If time or budget restrictions make it difficult to pursue a career as a physical therapist, look into becoming a PTA (physical therapist assistant) as another option. Anyone with an associate degree and a number of training hours can become a PT assistant. Because coursework is similar to that required by a physical therapist, graduates can eventually decide to go back to school to complete their education. PTAs always work under the guidance of a licensed therapist and may have to take on clerical duties and secondary issues, such as helping patients get fitted with support devices.


List of Physical Therapy Schools in California



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            Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program
            • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
            • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
            • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
            • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
            • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
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            Massage Therapy
            • At American Career College, we provide hands-on training for students who are ready for change.
            • The diploma and associate programs offered at ACC can change the direction of your healthcare career.
            • 5 campus locations in Southern California and 13 programs in healthcare fields.
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Massage Therapy

            About Brightwood College

            Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

            About Education Corporation of America

            Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

            Respiratory Therapy (AS)
            • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
            • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
            • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
            • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

            Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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            Platt College , Ontario
            • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
            • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
            • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
            • 3 campuses in Southern California.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
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            Massage Therapy
            Mayfield College , Cathedral City
            Good for Working Adults
            • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
            • Computer Support Technician program is based on guidelines set by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and Microsoft.
            • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
            • Accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 locations in Cathedral City and Twentynine Palms, California.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Massage Therapy
            Start your career with training from Blake Austin College - Beauty Academy. We offer programs in cosmetology, massage therapy, and holistic health, plus a combination esthetics/massage program.
            Degree - Respiratory Therapy
            • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
            • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
            • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
            • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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            Massage Therapy/Therapist
            • One of the largest massage therapy schools in the nation teaching since 1979.
            • First massage school in California to be nationally accredited.
            • Has a successful job placement record— 86% of graduates get placed into work in massage therapy.
            • Provides massage therapist education with multiple methods to ensure every student learns the material.
            • Offers lifetime career placement assistance and holds partnerships with a variety of employers.
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