Advice for pursuing your degree outside of the U.S.
There's a lot to consider when deciding whether to earn a physical therapy degree outside of the U.S., including finances, language, cultural fit, and future practice settings, to name a few.
Talk directly with the program you're considering.
You must contact the institution(s) you are interested in to obtain program information. Be sure to speak to a program representative and request as much information as possible about the program, how your specific interests will be met, and any other questions you may have about their institution.
Figure out how you're going to provide information.
As access to information may be more difficult and may take longer to send and receive, you may need to use an international mail carrier to send correspondence that are important or urgent, such as academic transcripts.
Consider completing general education requirements in the U.S.
Education programs outside of the U.S. may also have general education requirements that must be fulfilled. In some cases, it may be helpful for you to complete some of the general education requirements at a university in the U.S. to ensure that you have met these requirements.
Identify potential obstacles to travel.
You should check the U.S. Department of State website for up-to-date travel information and other pertinent documents that must be completed prior to leaving the U.S.to study abroad.
Learn about your host country's physical therapist practice.
Check with the physical therapy association in the target country for questions that you may have about physical therapist practice in that country. A list of these associations can be found at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy
Understand what it will take to return to the U.S. to practice.
Whether a U.S. citizen or not, if you attend a physical therapy program outside the U.S., even one that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), and intend on returning to the U.S. to work as a PT, you will typically be required to have your education credentials reviewed as part of the licensure process. This review must be conducted by a credentialing agency approved by the jurisdiction in which you intend to practice as a physical therapist. The Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy provides accurate information, essential services, and other resources for foreign-educated PTs and PTAs.
Remember that requirements can change.
Licensing requirements for PTs educated outside the U.S., as well the minimal requirements for CAPTE-accredited physical therapist programs can evolve, so stay up to date on changes that might affect you. Be prepared for the possibility that you may be required to complete supplemental education if/when you return to the US to work.
You may encounter obstacles moving from state to state.
Be aware that licensure boards do not always grant license endorsement or reciprocity to foreign educated PTs. Once a license is granted, it allows practice in that particular jurisdiction only; in order to practice in another jurisdiction, non-CAPTE accredited program graduates are sometimes required to repeat the credentials review process and/or take another licensure exam.