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How to Become a Physical Therapist in Washington

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Did you know that the state of Washington has over 1000 dams? This western state is also home to Mt. Rainier and Mount St. Helens, which became infamous over 30 years ago when it erupted and the world watched via the television as the volcano put on a show. Other points of interest in the state include Whitman Mission, Fort Vancouver National Historic Sites, the Pacific Science Center and the Space Needle. Washington is home to major forests of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa and white pine, spruce, larch and cedar. These resources have contributed to the state becoming one of the top lumber produces in the country.

Washington is a top producer of apples, lentils, peas, hope spearmint oil and numerous other fruits and vegetables. Live stock production and sales account for a significant portion of revenue as does commercial fishing. This is a good place to pursue a career in physical therapy; that is if you believe the recent numbers put forth by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency says that Washington is a great place for physical therapists and healthcare workers in general because jobs in the physical therapy field within the state are projected to increase by 25 percent during this decade.

Not only are positions expected to increase in number—and this alone is incentive enough for many people to pursue a physical therapy job in the Pacific Northwest—but salaries for this profession in this region are high and expected to increase. Starting therapists fresh out of school can expect to earn $60,000 or more in their first job after leaving school if they are employed in Washington. For experienced therapists, a salary of $90,000 or more is an attainable goal in the state.

In Washington, physical therapists must complete a four year undergraduate degree in physical therapy (However, since the Board of Physical Therapy requires that program be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, which does not approve of four-year programs solely, a graduate degree will be necessary to practice physical therapy.) or complete an undergraduate degree and then complete a master's program. While there is some room for variation in the choice of undergraduate degree, when it is followed by a graduate degree in physical therapy, the degree should be science based. A major in biology or chemistry is a good place to build from. While a two-year master's degree will suffice, many students are choosing to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy.

Licensure in the state falls under the jurisdiction of Washington State Department of Health Board of Physical Therapy. Applicants for licensure in the state must score 100 percent on the state's examination for physical therapists before being allowed to receive a license and practice in the state. Applicants will also have to complete an aids awareness program that covers transmission, prevention and treatment of the disease.

Washington offers great opportunities for play and entertainment, and work for physical therapists. Seattle has been repeatedly listed as one of the best places to live in the U.S. Of course, it may take some time to get accustomed to the inordinate number of rainy days.