Becoming a Physical Therapist in New Jersey – NJ
Physical therapists in New Jersey are well trained and educated. A Masters degree with clinical hours is required to practice. Physical Therapists working in New Jersey, will find their work personally and financially rewarding. According to Indeed.com, physical therapists in New Jersey make, on average, $95,000, which is well above the national average annual wage for Physical Therapists of $74,410 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Although it is not necessary, individuals pursing a career as a physical therapist may want to become a physical therapist assistant first, as only a two-year Associates degree is required to sit for the Physical Therapist Assistant licensing exam. Also, some postgraduate schools require physical therapy experience, so individuals possessing Physical Therapy Assistant experience would have an edge on other applicants without experience.
How to Become a Physical Therapist in New Jersey
Individuals pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy in New Jersey must apply and gain admission to an accredited postsecondary school in Physical Therapy. Although a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPT) Education and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is not required to practice in New Jersey, individuals who obtain this degree will be valuable to future employers. Additionally, a degree from a APTA or CAPT accredited school may be required to practice in other states. To find an accredited Physical Therapy institution visit the American Physical Therapists Association's website.
After researching Physical Therapy programs that are good possibilities on the APTA website, go to the schools' websites. Look at the admission and Masters program curriculum requirements of potential schools. Contact school admissions counselors and Physical Therapy graduate program directors to find out more about the program under consideration. Apply to a few programs by submitting all the required documentation by the school's admission deadline.
Admission requirements for Physical Therapy master’s programs vary from institution to institution, but generally a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in the liberal arts including coursework in the social sciences (particularly, psychology and sociology) and (natural sciences (particularly, biology, chemistry and/or physics) are required. Additionally, letters of recommendation, minimum GPA, a personal statement, a minimum GRE score, and extracurricular or work experience may also be required of applicants.
Once admission has been granted to a Physical Therapy Master’s program one can expect to complete extensive physical therapy coursework, research statistics, and a clinical internship experience. The number of course credits and clinical requirements varies from school to school, but generally the program takes about three years to complete.
Another postgraduate option is to obtain a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT), which takes about a year longer than the master’s degree. Some schools may offer a master’s and DPT concurrently. After obtaining a master’s degree or Doctorate in Physical Therapy individuals are eligible to sit for the license exam in New Jersey.
A license from the New Jersey Board of Physical Therapy Examiners is required to practice as a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapists Assistant. The Board administers the license examination. An initial application fee, license fee and renewal fee are required for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapists Assistants. Guiding laws and regulations for the practice of Physical Therapy are on the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners website at: http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/pt/pt_rules.htm
Board of Physical Therapy
PO Box 45014
Newark, NJ 07101
In order to obtain a license in Physical Therapy an applicant must....
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be of good moral character
- Obtain a master’s degree or Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from an accredited institution. (This requirement is waived for applicants who prior to Jan. 1, 2003, graduated from an accredited physical therapy program and received a bachelor’s degree and a certificate in physical therapy)
- Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the New Jersey Board of Physical Therapy Examiners.
- Submit a sworn statement that the license (or renewal) applicant has not had their license revoked in New Jersey or any other State.
- Complete at least 30 credits of continuing education requirements (for license renewal)
- Pay initial and annual fees for licensure.