Physical therapy education

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Physical therapy education varies greatly from country to country. Worldwide, physical therapy training ranges from basic work site education in hospitals and outpatient clinics to professional doctoral degree programs.

Physical therapy education in the 1980s

Africa[edit]

Egypt[edit]

In Egypt physical therapy is a vital form of professional patient care that can be applied in most disciplines of medicine. A total of 190 credit hours are to be completed through eight semesters and two summer sessions before graduation. These are followed by a 12-months training at the university and other educational hospitals. New applicants are required to have an interview with the college dean.

Nigeria[edit]

In Nigeria, Physiotherapy training is a 5 year Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPhysio) or Bachelor of Medical Rehabilitation (BMR) degree programmes.[1] A 1-year clinical intership program under the supervision of senior and experienced clinician physiotherapists is required upon graduation from an accredited University before the new graduate can be licenced to practice as a physiotherapist. The first training program in Nigeria was started at the University of Ibadan in 1966, followed by the University of Lagos in 1971. A training program was also started at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1978, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus in 1987, Bayero University, Kano in 1989, University of Maiduguri,Maiduguri in 2003. Other training programs are also available at University of Maiduguri and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi. Advanced Masters and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Physiotherapy (MSc Physio and PhD) are available at the University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University and the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. Presently, the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy (Professional body representing Nigerian physiotherapists) and the Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Registration) Board (the Government body that regulates the training and practice of rehabilitation therapy professionals in Nigeria) are making plans to transit the Nigerian entry level Bachelors programs to entry level Doctorate programs.[2][3]

South Africa[edit]

In South Africa the degree {B.PhysT, B.Sc.Physio or B.Physio,Ph.D. in (Physio)} consists of four years of general practice training, involving all aspects of Physiotherapy. Typically, the first year is made up of theoretical introduction. Gradually, time spent in supervised practice increases until the fourth year, in which the student generally spends about 80% in practice. In the fourth year, students are also expected to complete Physiotherapy research projects, which fulfills the requirements of an Honours degree. Professional practice can only be entered into after a state governed, compulsory year of community service is completed by the student after graduation.

All physiotherapist are First line practitioners (i.e. a health professional who can autonomously diagnose and treat), can refer patients to medical practitioner specialists and Imaging (e.g. for X-Ray, MRI, ultrasound and prescribe Certain medication and blood test relevant to their scope of practice) and issue a certificate of illness.

Are required to be trained in Advanced Life support for emergencies in their departments and private practices/surgery.

In the general public and to some medical practitioners and other health professionals physiotherapist are regarded as doctors, the statutory body (HPCSA rules and regulation are not clear on whether physiotherapist can use the courtesy title Dr, but Medical Practitioners though not qualified as such they do use the courtesy title Dr. most people feels that HPCSA is biased to medical and Dental professionals, they feel that is not Constitutional)

All practising physiotherapists in South Africa are required by law to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa,[4] the registering body for physiotherapists being the Professional Board for Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Biokinetics.[5]

Asia and Oceania[edit]

Australia[edit]

In Australia, a few different programs are available at both undergraduate and post graduate level. The physiotherapy degree can be undertaken over a four-year period as an undergraduate or two to three years post graduate with the early components being predominantly theoretical including basic anatomy, biology, physics, psychology, kinesiology, goniometry and physiology. In the latter half of the degree students partake in practical components focusing on musculoskeletal physiotherapy, neuromuscular physiotherapy, paediatric physiotherapy, geriatric physiotherapy, cardiothoracic physiotherapy, and women's health. The program generally progresses with an increasingly clinical focus and usually the final year involves practical placements at clinics, and research. Australian programs offer either the B.Physio, B.App.Sc.Physio, B.Sc.Physio, M.Physio, or D.Physio degrees.

Bangladesh[edit]

In Bangladesh, the Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy (BPT) course is provided by the Medicine Faculty of University of Dhaka and University of Rajshahi. There are Seven affiliated institutes: Bangladesh Health Professions Institute (BHPI),National Institute of Traumatology Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation (NITOR),The People's university of Bangladesh, the Institute of Health Technology (IHT)- Dhaka, Institute of Health Technology (IHT)- Rajshahi, State College of Health Sciences (SCHS) and the Saic Institute of Health Technology, which provide five years of professional education including a one-year mandatory internship.

The BPT curriculum includes: Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Kinesiology, Electrotherapy, Therapeutic Exercise, Community Medicine, Psychology, Pathology & Microbiology, Biomechanics, Radiology & Imaging, Orthopedics & Rheumatology, Paediatric, Pharmacology, Neurology, Cardiopulmonary, General Surgery, Research Methodology, Geriatric, Psychiatry, Sports Physiotherapy, Orthopedic Medicine, Professional Ethics and Management, Teaching Methodology, Rehabilitation Medicine (Disability & Development), Prosthetics & Orthotic and Research Project. This curriculum has designed so strongly that, a graduate physiotherapist can practice Independently and Autonomously in their Clinical field.

Recently two institutes are offering Masters of Physiotherapy (MPT) and Masters of Science in Physiotherapy (M.Sc.PT). Bangladesh Physiotherapy Association is only internationally recognized professional body. The Bangladesh Physiotherapy Association has received international recognition from WCPT (2007) in Vancouver.

India[edit]

In India, universities offer a 4 year - undergraduate program in physiotherapy (BPT) with 6 months of mandatory clinical internship; that is typically rotatory.They also have almost similar subjects like BPT course in Bangladesh and have strong syllabus as they can practice either in contact of Physician or independently however due to lack of unanimous National Government controlling body the degree programs and standard of practice are quiet different throughout country. After the graduation Physiotherapist(PTs') could go for further specialization in Neurology, Orthopaedics (Musculoskeletal), Sports, Obs-Gynae, Cardio-Thoracic or undertake Research. PTs in India use the title 'Doctor' & prefix it before their name with a suffix P.T. (Physiotherapist) so as to make their stand clear they are not medical doctors. However, the use of the title 'Dr' according to the IAP (Indian Association of Physiotherapist) is by tradition and convention & is used in the same manner as it is used by the MBBS/MS/BDS/MDS/BHMS/BAMS/BNYS/BUMS degree holders. PTs argue that they are not breaching any law prevailing in India as legally only one who has earned a degree in MD/DM or Phd is justified to use & prefix the 'Doctor' title.

There are well over 250 colleges offering undergraduate program in physiotherapy (BPT) and more than 50 colleges offering masters in Physiotherapy (MPT) with two years' duration. MUHS (Maharashtra) & some other universities in India run a 3-year MPT post graduate degree. PhD in Physiotherapy is also offered in some selected universities of the states Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu & Delhi.

A.M.U. Aligarh started Diploma in Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation very early but they did not upgrade it yet.

Jamia Hamdard took the lead in starting Post-Graduate course in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy in North India in 1998. The courses were very well received and are in great demand. The Faculty receives help and active support from the renowned hospitals in Delhi for training the students, besides utilizing Majeedia Hospital. The Jamia is in the process of constructing a separate building for the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences with the help of generous grant from the UGC.The Faculty offers Masters and Bachelors programmes of study in Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy.

Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped is an autonomous organization under the administrative and financial control of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India. The Institute for the Physically Handicapped came into being when the erstwhile Jawahar Lal Nehru Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and other allied institution run by the council for the Aid of crippled & handicapped were taken over by the Government of India on 22 May 1975 and converted into an autonomous body in the year 1976. It was renamed after Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya in the year 2002. The institute provides Bachelor of Physical Therapy, Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and Bachelor of Prosthetics & Orthotics, 4 ½ years duration course in affiliation with University of Delhi.

The Amar Jyoti Institute of Physiotherapy (affiliated to University of Delhi) opened its doors to the first batch of students in the year 1999, with an aim to serve health-care needs of the community through education and training of Physiotherapy practitioners. The mission of the Institute is to: "Provide leadership, management and resources for the advancement of education, scholarship, public service, and the practice of physiotherapy" The B.Sc. (H) Physiotherapy degree course at Amar Jyoti is especially designed to produce graduates who will be competent and confident physiotherapy practitioners who will be able to provide evidence-based physiotherapy to their patients and community at large.


Singhania University, Rajasthan and Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi are taking lead to offering PhD in Physiotherapy.

New Zealand[edit]

In New Zealand, there are currently two schools of physiotherapy offering four-year undergraduate programs. Many New Zealand physiotherapists work in the private health care system as musculoskeletal physiotherapists and the curriculum reflects the need to prepare graduates for autonomous practice. Students follow an educational program similar to Australia with an emphasis on biomechanics, kinesiology and exercise. Postgraduate study typically involves three years of subject specific learning. The New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists Incorporated (NZSP) is the professional body that physiotherapists may optionally be a member of in New Zealand.

Pakistan[edit]

In Pakistan there are 20 colleges offering DPT, 3 universities are offering t-DPT, 2 universities are offering M.PHIL in Physiotherapy and 1 university offering PhD in Physiotherapy.Physiotherapists have a good scope in government and private hospitals and they are awarded 17 grade pay scale.In this way Pakistan has become the third country offering DPT in the world.

Sri Lanka[edit]

In Sri Lanka, Physiotherapy is available as a Diploma course for two years in School of Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy, which is affiliated to the National Hospital of Colombo from 1957. After the six months of classroom training students are sent to hospitals for clinical practice. During the 1980s foreign students from Australia, Belgium have studied at the Physiotherapy School. From the year 2006 Allied health sciences faculty of University of Peradeniya and Medical faculty of University of Colombo[Visit http://www.cmb.ac.lk/academic/medicine/ext_pages/ahsu_web/index.html OR "Physio-MFC" ON FACEBOOK] have started the undergraduate course for four years.2011 is the remarkable year in Sri Lankan physiotherapy field.first ever physiotherapy graduate batch is to pass-out in this year.they are from both university of colombo and university of peradeniya.at the moment BSc.physiotherapy degree program has been a one of the most favourite course among Sri Lankan students.it is necessary to get more than 1.8 Z-score marks to be selected to this course.

Taiwan[edit]

In Taiwan, Physical Therapy is available as a four-year undergraduate course in 14 universities. There are also three junior colleges to provide a five-year program. Clinical practice is required in the final year of the both programs mentioned above. Once a student graduates from the PT program, he/she is then required to pass a national licensure exam administered by the Ministry of Examination, Taiwan, R.O.C. Many universities also offer graduate programs in physical therapy, rehabilitation, or related disciplines at the masters or doctoral level.

Europe[edit]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

In the Republic of Ireland, Physiotherapy is available as an undergraduate course in four universities, Trinity College, University College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons and University of Limerick. Courses are four years in length with clinical practice in the final two years. Students are required to complete 1000 hours of clinical practice before graduation.

Italy[edit]

In Italy, known as "Laurea in Fisioterapia (abilitante alla professione sanitaria di Fisioterapista)", it is a three-year full-time degree taught in the Faculty of Medicine of many Italian Universities. The course is an intensive mix of class time and mandatory internship right from the first year. Internship is such an important part that the number of hours dedicated to practice progressively increases reaching half of the program by the third year. There are no special requirements to be admitted to the Bachelor's degree; students from various backgrounds can access the program, previous passing an 80 question pre selection test. This test is implemented to all those courses known as "numero chiuso" or close access to limit the number of participants. Depending on the Faculty and course between 30 to 400 positions are available each year. To be selected one has not only pass the examination but finish in the top positions required to enter. For all para-medical degrees each Institution can select its own test which it held simultaneously in all Universities, whereas for Medicine the test are administered by the Ministry of Education.

Importance is given to the initial exam and a "close number" is paramount. This maneuver is intended to control the job market, hence providing secure occupation to those who finish.

Yet between 2010 and 2011 the public funds to national health care were cut drastically, resulting in a national wide job loss and impossibility for newly formed students to be hired, contemporary to a large portion of the population in need of medical care yet unable to pay for the private service, which is regulated with minimum fees by imposition of law, therefore not allowing that portion of unemployed physiotherapists to lower their own fees so to offer their services and provide that portion of the population with the needed assistance.

Malta[edit]

In Malta, Physical Therapy B.Sc. (honours) is available as a course which can be obtained after finishing a four-year course at the Institute of Health Care of the University of Malta. This course involves all aspects of Physiotherapy. Students have an intensive three-year theoretical course after whom s/he spends the last year doing clinical placements (in total = four years). Students learn how to assess and treat patients. To be able to secure a license to practice as a physiotherapist, one must be able to pass some practical exams which involves both assessment and treatment. In the fourth year, students are also expected to complete a physiotherapy research project, which fulfills the requirements of an Honours degree.

Spain[edit]

In Spain a physiotherapy student is required to complete 3 years of training after having passed a university entrance exam. After completing a physiotherapy program, another exam can be taken to work for the public health system of an autonomous community, or a graduate can work for private hospitals, clinics, etc. There are 43 universities with physiotherapy faculties in Spain. Since 2009 physiotherapy had become a 4-year career. Physiotherapists who have finished their 3 years of training can also take one more year.

Middle East[edit]

Iran[edit]

In Iran, the Physical therapy degree is offered in bachelor level and master and PHd level with one university in DPT which usually takes 4 years for BSc and 2 year for MSc,4 year for Phd and 2 year for tDPT.

Iraq[edit]

The Physical therapy degree is a master part of orthopaedic surgery board that given by the medical school after the B.Sc. degree, it requires a full B.Sc. degree in medicine (six years) and is not a separate allied health field. The Physical therapy degree is B.Sc. College of Medical and Health technology-Baghdad has a graduate program in physical therapy, 4 year period after high school. Summer training courses in many hospitals (graduation requirement). The only college in Iraq is located in the medical city in Baghdad, in front of Ministry of Health. The students receive a B.Sc.degree in physical therapy.

Kuwait[edit]

In Kuwait, Physical therapy B.Sc. degrees can be obtained after graduating from Kuwait University (4-year program). Students learn to assess patients and document their progress in their second year of study and start going on to hospitals to have their practical learning beginning at the start of their third year. After graduating further training in hospitals is available. There are no formal post-graduation programs.

Turkey[edit]

In Turkey, the Physiotherapy (BPT) education is provided by physiotherapy schools in universities (Hacettepe University, Dokuz Eylül University, Istanbul University, Baskent University, Pamukkale University, Dumlupınar University, Süleyman Demirel University, Bezmi Alem University, Acıbadem University, Medipol University,Yeni Yuzyil University) after high school education. Education takes four years or five years with prep classes. M.Sc. and Ph.D. education is given by institutes of medical sciences.

United Arab Emirates[edit]

In the United Arab Emirates the Bachelor Of Physiotherapy (BPT) consists of a four-year undergraduate degree program. In the first year of the program they are introduced to pre-clinical subjects such as Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Human Behaviour & Socialisation & Basic Medical Electronics & Computers. The students also get hands-on experiences in cadaveric dissections while learning Human Anatomy during the first year of the program. The students progressively are introduced to supervised clinical practice and the integrated curriculum offers the best learning experiences in addition to extensive in-house elearning programs. The course offers Case Based Learning experiences and focuses on Evidence Based Practices. The program culminates with a six month internship ending with a research project work.

North America[edit]

Canada[edit]

In Canada, entry-level physiotherapy education is offered at 14 universities. All of these university programs are at the Master's level, meaning that applicants must have already completed an undergraduate degree prior to applying. Many universities also offer graduate programs in physiotherapy, rehabilitation, or related disciplines at the masters or doctoral level. Many physiotherapists may advance their education at these levels in such Clinical Practice Areas as cardiorespiratory, geriatrics, neurosciences, orthopaedics, pediatrics, rheumatology, oncology, sports physiotherapy, and women's health.

Quebec[edit]

In the province of Quebec, physiotherapists are required to complete a master's degree specializing in physiotherapy to meet the eligibility criteria to gain membership with the Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec. However, physiotherapy students must first obtain a bachelor's degree majoring in physiotherapy to submit their application to the master's program, which will provide them with several internships in hospitals or rehabilitation centers. Some students may even have the opportunity to be trained in European countries. Following the completion of a master's degree, most often named "Master of Science" or "Master of Physical Therapy," one may pursue studies at the doctoral level in such fields as rehabilitation, kinesiology, or exercise science. universities offer physiotherapy programs. The Université de Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke offer a joint bachelor's and master's degree program that leads to the obtention of a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science. McGill University's School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and the Université Laval both offer the Bachelor of Physical Therapy at the undergraduate level and the Master of Physical Therapy at the graduate level.

United States[edit]

In the United States, curricula for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). While currently 226 of the 227 programs offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree,[6] there are still many physical therapists currently practicing in the US who were trained with a Bachelor of Science (BSPT) or Master of Physical Therapy degree. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the number of DPT programs offered in the US rose from 19 out of 212 accredited programs (along with 184 MSPT and 9 BSPT programs) in 2000, to 222 out of 227 programs in 2011.[7]

Physical Therapist Assistants typically graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree. As of August 2011, there were 276 accredited two-year (Associate degree) programs for Physical Therapist Assistants In the United States.[8]

After graduating an accredited program, PTs and PTAs are required to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) before they can obtain a license to practice.[9] Each state regulates physical therapy licenses independently, so precise requirements for licensure and renewal vary from state to state.

Physical Therapist education includes clinical internships that normally occur toward the end of the professional degree. During this time, the doctoral intern will rotate between different settings for a given time period of a month or more. For example, a doctoral intern may have a rotation in orthopeadics during one month and then in wound care the next month. This would continue in different settings for a predetermined amount of time, which is usually around a year.[10] After graduating from an accredited program and becoming licensed, a Doctor of Physical Therapy may continue his or her education by entering a residency and then fellowship. Residencies and Fellowships are not required at this time, but are becoming more common in physical therapy education. Currently there are 162 residencies and fellowships in the United States.[11]

Residency[edit]

A residency is usually undertaken after the student completes a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and passes the initial licensure exam. A Residency continues physical therapy education with evidence based training to better equip the resident to be able to help the patients that they will serve. A residency is a specialty designed to advance the residents knowledge in evaluation, examination, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and management of patients within the given subset of patients. Residencies for a Doctor of Physical Therapy are between 9 and 36 months and must be completed within a minimum of 1,500 hours.[12] Residencies may involve community service, research, patient education, teaching opportunities, and the supervision of other health care providers. Residencies are currently offered in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports, Women's Health, and Wound Care.[13] Residencies prepare the Doctor to become a board-certified clinical specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).[12]

Fellowship[edit]

A fellowship is designed to provide greater evidence based knowledge in a speciality or subspecialty. To gain acceptance to a fellowship a physical therapist must have one or more of the following qualifications 1) Completion of a Residency 2) Board Certified Specialist Certification 3) Demonstrate clinical skills within a particular speciality area. Fellowships must be completed between 6 and 36 months and completed with a minimum of 1000 hours. Fellowships are currently offered in Hand Therapy, Movement Science, Neonatal, Orthopeadic Manual Physical Therapy, and Sports-Division 1 Athletics.[13] Those individuals who complete post doctoral residencies and fellowships are more marketable as specialized practitioners.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Registration) Board of Nigeria (2009). Harmonized Curriculum of Studies for the Bachelor of Physiotherapy (B.PT) Degree Programme in Nigerian Universities (PDF)[1]
  2. ^ Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Registration) Board of Nigeria (2009). Harmonized Curriculum of Studies for the Transitional Doctor of Physiotherapy (T-DPT) Degree Programme in Nigerian Universities (PDF)[2]
  3. ^ Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Registration) Board of Nigeria (2009). Harmonized Curriculum of Studies for the Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) Degree Programme in Nigerian Universities (PDF)[3]
  4. ^ South African Society of Physiotherapy
  5. ^ Health Professions Council of South Africa
  6. ^ "Directory of Programs". Capteonline.org. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  7. ^ "2010-2011 Fact Sheet: Physical Therapist Education Programs". American Physical Therapy Association. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  8. ^ "2010-2011 Fact Sheet: Physical Therapist Assistant Education Programs". American Physical Therapy Association. 2011-08-25. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  9. ^ The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (January 2008). "For Consumers - Physical Therapy". The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  10. ^ "SHRS: Physical Therapy". Shrs.pitt.edu. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  11. ^ List of Residencies and Fellowships
  12. ^ a b c "Residency vs. Fellowship". Apta.org. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  13. ^ a b "Directory of Residency & Fellowship Programs". Apta.org. 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 

External links[edit]