Obtaining a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree can lead to an impactful career in healthcare. The path typically includes completing a four-year undergraduate degree followed by a three-year DPT program. Classroom and clinical experiences equips graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in a profession dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals of all ages. Learn why pursuing a doctorate of physical therapy is worthwhile for those passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. 

Personal Fulfillment

One of the most rewarding aspects of a career in physical therapy is the profound sense of personal fulfillment that comes from helping patients maximize their quality of life. Physical therapists have the unique opportunity to:

  • Impact Lives: Assisting patients in recovering from injuries, managing chronic conditions, improving mobility, and enhancing health and wellness.
  • Build Relationships: Develop meaningful connections with patients over the course of their treatment.
  • See Tangible Results: Witness the direct impact of your work as patients make progress and regain independence. 

Diverse Career Opportunities

A DPT degree opens the door to a wide array of career opportunities across various settings. Physical therapists can choose to specialize in areas such as:

  • Orthopedics: Focus on musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.
  • Neurology: Work with patients who have neurological conditions, such as stroke or Parkinson's disease.
  • Pediatrics: Specialize in treating infants, children, and adolescents.
  • Sports Medicine: Help athletes recover from sports-related injuries and improve performance.
  • Geriatrics: Assist older adults in maintaining mobility and independence.
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary: Work with patients who have conditions/surgeries affecting their heart and lungs resulting in limited mobility and impacting independence.
  • Pelvic Health: Work with patients who experience problems associated with abdominal and pelvic dysfunction.
  • Lymphedema and Wound care: Work with patients who have skin conditions such as open wounds and swelling.  

Job Stability and Demand 

The demand for physical therapists is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by an aging population and increased recognition of the benefits of physical therapy. This growth translates to:

  • Job Security: Physical therapists enjoy a high level of job stability.
  • Competitive Salaries: The specialization and expertise required for the profession are reflected in competitive salaries.
  • Geographic Flexibility: Physical therapists are needed in every part of the country, providing flexibility in where you can live and work.
  • Business Opportunity: Physical therapists have the ability to open their own private practices.

The Intellectual Challenge

For those who thrive on continuous learning and intellectual stimulation, the field of physical therapy offers endless opportunities for growth. Physical therapists must:

  • Stay Current: Keep up-to-date with the latest research and advancements in the field.
  • Solve Problems: Develop creative solutions to complex patient care challenges.
  • Adapt and Innovate: Employ new technologies and treatments to enhance patient outcomes.

Contribution to Healthcare Innovation

Physical therapists play a crucial role in the broader healthcare landscape, contributing to interdisciplinary teams. By pursuing a DPT degree, you become part of a profession committed to:

  • Evidence-Based Practice: Utilizing research to inform treatment approaches and improve patient care.
  • Healthcare Policy: Advocating for policies that enhance access to physical therapy services.
  • Public Health: Promoting wellness and preventive care to improve the overall health of communities.


The MGH Institute of Health Professions, a graduate school affiliate of Mass General Brigham, offers a rigorous DPT program that combines comprehensive academic coursework with extensive clinical experiences. By choosing MGH Institute of Health Professions for your physical therapy education, you benefit from 1 of 3 programs in the country to offer cutting-edge education in a modular case-based format with integrated cross-curricular threads, including social justice and health equity. The modular curriculum is built on a foundation of self-directed and collaborative learning that synthesizes essentials needed to become a leader in the field.

Why get a doctorate in physical therapy? Practicing physical therapy not only allows you to make a tangible difference in the lives of patients but also to engage in a dynamic and continuously evolving field. As you contemplate how long it takes to become a physical therapist, remember that the journey is an investment in a future filled with the potential to heal, inspire, and innovate.