Becoming a Physical Therapist in Colorado – CO
Opportunities as well as salaries appear on the upswing for physical therapists in Colorado for 2010 and 2011. Health services is one of three sectors posting gains in the number of new jobs in Colorado last year, according to Jeff Thredgold, economic futurist, and that trend is expected to continue. Colorado has strong long-term economic potential when factoring in population growth, a solid work ethic, reasonable business and living costs, high-quality universities and world-class recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike, Thredgold says. In the area of salaries, physical therapists in a variety of settings from hospitals to the offices of private physicians are earning $60,000 to $64,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How to Become a Physical Therapist in Colorado
Colorado is a direct access state, which means that physical therapists can care for a patient without having a referral from a physician. Physical therapists need a post-baccalaureate degree from an accredited physical therapy program, must pass a national exam and be licensed by the state of Colorado. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy develops and administers the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The state of Colorado requires physical therapists to be licensed, however, physical therapist assistants are not licensed by the state and are not required to take an exam. Starting as a physical therapist assistant might be a way to initially learn about physical therapy as a career and eventually become a licensed physical therapist.
Steps to Become a Physical Therapist in Colorado
The American Physical Therapy Association’s accrediting body, called the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), accredits academic programs in physical therapy. In Colorado in 2009, two accredited physical therapist education programs were offered and both programs last three years. Admission to each program requires a bachelor’s degree and prerequisite coursework, minimum GPA, GRE, knowledge of the field and letters of recommendation.
Upon completion of an accredited program, graduates must apply to the Colorado Office of Licensing – Physical Therapy, part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies. The application includes personal information, where you have been licensed if applicable, your physical therapy education, the name of the school and the degree, and screening questions about your past. The application fee is $50.
To receive a Colorado license, physical therapists must also take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. Fees for the exam include $80 for the score transfer to the state, $55 for the individual score report and $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.