What is a Therapy Degree?

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what is a therapy degreeIf you are interested in pursuing a career in helping others through therapy, you may ask yourself, “what is a therapy degree?”  Therapy degree programs can vary from social work certifications to physical therapy degrees, occupational therapy degrees to art therapy degrees. A program like physical therapy will focus on anatomy and physiology while getting a degree in psychology would involve brain chemistry, studying mental disorders and discussing treatment methodologies. You may want to attend a brick-and-mortar school, or you may want to investigate online therapy degree programs. While each program is different, working as a therapist will almost always require either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

How To Find The Top Therapy Programs

The best therapy degree programs can be found all across the country. After you have chosen your major, consider whether you want an undergraduate degree or a full graduate degree. Keep in mind that many well-paying jobs in the field will require a master’s at minimum. The US News maintains ranking lists of colleges that can help narrow down your choices. For undergraduate programs, look for schools that rank highly overall and see if they offer the degree you want. Contact each school for information on how extensive their program is. For graduate programs, look at the individual degree program lists. For example, the University of Southern California ranks #1 for both occupational and physical therapy. For social work, the University of Michigan takes the top spot. Online programs have their own rankings. In addition to a good ranking, the best online Therapy programs will be accredited by one of the six regional distance learning accreditors or the Distance Education and Training Council. You will find that some well-ranked brick-and-mortar schools, like University of Pennsylvania, offer online degrees in psychology.

Careers and Salaries For Individuals With Therapy Degrees

Nearly all therapy fields have a job outlook at least 35% better than average. Depending on your major, a therapy degree can take you onto any number of career paths. Home-based practices, working in hospitals, doing outpatient or nursing home care, research and even writing articles are all options. Therapy salaries vary widely, and multiple factors can effect your salary. Starting salaries will almost always be lower, as experience always plays a role, but your specialties may be the largest factor. On average, occupational and physical therapists have the highest salaries. The median physical therapy salary was $76,000 in 2010. On the other end of the spectrum, mental health counselors and social workers made between $30,000 and $45,000. Level of education can affect salaries within any given therapy occupation. Physical therapists with doctorates can make up to $50,000 more a year than someone with an associates or a certificate in physical therapy assisting. Location also plays a startlingly large role. While the lowest-paid social workers make a meager $26,000, social workers in Nassau, New York, or Waterbury, Connecticut enjoy salaries closer to $68,000 a year. Researching the demand for careers in your area will help you determine what salary you can expect from your therapy degree.

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