How many years does it take to become a therapist

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How many years does it take to become a therapist?

A therapist is one of the broadest designations, which means professionals who are well-trained for providing treatment and rehabilitation. There are multiple types of therapists that work for everyone’s wellbeing. As ill-health and injuries are elevating these days rapidly, there is an immense need for a few essential therapists like occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and respiratory therapists. But a common question arising in people’s minds is how many years does it take to become a therapist. Well, the answer differs depending on the type of therapist you want to be. By reading further, you will find out about different therapists and the time duration to become one.

Types of Therapists and Duration it Takes to Become a therapist

  1. Physical Therapist:

Physical therapists help ill and injured patients to improve their mobility, overcome pain, and get back to normal health. For joining this great career option, you need to have years of education, mastery of the skills and get a state as well as national licensure. You will know a lot more about it below. But first, you must know how many years does it take to become a therapist. Completion of physical therapist education and becoming one can take anywhere around 3-8 years.

For helping you to get on your path, here are few things you have to do.

  • Earning a Bachelor’s degree

You have to earn a degree in a domain related to exercise, sports, health science, etc. Moreover, students have to finish specific prerequisites like physics, biology, kinesiology, anatomy, physiology, etc. Also, do research on the prerequisites of the doctoral degree program if you are interested.

  • Completion of Physical Therapy Degree

Students have to enroll in an accredited DPT or Doctor of Physical Therapy program and need to complete it.

  • Pass the NPTE

For becoming a licensed therapist, you have to pass NPTE, which is a computer-based exam and offered four times a year.

  • Achieve a License to Practice

Getting a license may be different for different states, but it is essential to continue the practice. For maintaining the licensure, you have to continue education requirements every two years.

  1. Occupational Therapist:

Occupational therapy involves hands-on work to help different types of patients in recovering and getting back to doing everyday activities. For becoming an occupational therapist, one needs certain educational requirements and licensure. Well, you may think how many years does it take to become a therapist. It may take nearly 5 to 6 years to become a licensed occupational therapist. You have to follow these steps to be a therapist.

  • Getting a bachelor’s degree

Pursue a career in biology, psychology, health science, etc., and obtain a bachelor’s degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, you have to take some prerequisite courses before going to grad school.

  • Earn a Graduate Degree

You have to pass from an accredited university. You may choose between OTD or MOT degree for this. The curriculum of both degrees includes fieldwork.

  • Become Certified

After completion of MOT or OTD degree, you have to pass the NBCOT examination. State licensing requirements can differ.

  1. Speech Pathologist or Therapist:

Speech therapists help in preventing, assessing, diagnosing, and treating speech, social communication, and swallowing disorders. For choosing a career in this rewarding profession, you have to spend six years.

At first, you will need a bachelor’s degree of four years, and then you have to attend a graduate program in this field. The speech pathology programs may take up to 2 years, and then you get the master’s degree. After that, you need clinical experience and pass one proficiency examination to become licensed.

  1. Respiratory Therapist:

Respiratory therapists take care of individuals affected by respiratory issues like COPD, asthma, and many other breathing concerns. These professionals are detail-oriented, compassionate, and great problem solvers. A question that lingers in an interested individual’s mind is how many years does it take to become a therapist. To become one, you have to complete an associate degree program of 2 years.

Firstly, you need to finish a respiratory care education program accredited by CAAHEP. Then, you earn RRT or Registered Respiratory Therapist credential. You also have to finish a board-approved law and ethics course, and then you can apply for a license.


After understanding all the time duration and processes through which you can become a therapist, you can easily select a path and opt for a profession that includes such good deeds.

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