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Physical therapists work with people who have been physically disabled by illness or accident or are born with a handicap. As a health care team member, the physical therapist works to develop and deliver appropriate treatment programs to relieve pain, prevent deformity, improve strength, develop coordination, and increase functional ability. Treatment may involve exercise in conjunction with the application of heat, cold, water, electricity, ultrasound, traction, and/or massage.
Physical therapy schools are doctoral-level programs typically three years in length.
Physical Therapistd work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, private physical therapy offices, home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, school systems, sports, medical facilities, industrial settings, academic settings (education and research), and government agencies.
General Pre-Physical Therapy Prerequisite Coursework; Wright State Specific Courses
Most physical therapy schools require the following prerequisites:
- Anatomy and Physiology (with lab): 8 semester hours (ANT 3100, ANT 3120)
- Exercise Physiology: 3-4 semester hours (BIO 3530 or KNH 2550)
- General Biology (with lab): 8 semester hours (BIO 1120, BIO 1150)
- General Chemistry (with lab): 8 semester hours (CHM 1210, CHM 1220)
- Physics (with lab): 8 semester hours (PHY 1110, PHY 1120)
- Psychology: 7 semester hours (PSY 3110 and PSY 3110 or PSY 3410)
- Statistics: 3 semester hours (STT 1600 or STT 2640)
Note. Individual requirements vary by school. It is important to research individual health professions programs for specific requirements. Contact the Pre-Health Advisor for assistance.
Any major is acceptable if you complete the required prerequisite coursework, recommended extracurricular activities, and present a strong application to physical therapy school. Physical therapy school seeks students who have demonstrated they can do well, particularly in the prerequisite courses, and followed their academic interests.
Pre-physical therapy students often major in one of the following since many of the prerequisite courses are part of the major’s academic requirements:
- Biological Science
- Public Health
- Rehabilitation Services
- Sports Science
Students should check directly with the schools they plan to apply to for application requirements, information, and timelines. Admissions to health professional schools tend to be very competitive. While there is “no magical formula” for gaining admissions, general expectations include:
- Strong academic performance (3.6 or higher) in both your cumulative and prerequisite courses.
- Scoring at or above the 50th percentile (150 or higher in both the verbal and q quantitative sections) and a four or higher in the analytical writing on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Many PT programs require the GRE; however, not all do.
- Physical therapy schools require extensive familiarity with physical therapy to gain an appreciation for and understanding of the profession. Students should:
- Shadow physical therapists in several different specialties to gain a realistic perspective of the profession.
- Gain direct patient and/or clinical exposure/experience in several unique and diverse settings and various types of patients.
- Get involved in community service, volunteer experiences, and co- and extracurricular activities on campus.
- Seek leadership responsibility, such as employment, church, community, and school organizations, including coaching, tutoring, and mentoring.
- Conduct research (however, not required) to help you understand scientific literature, how research is conducted, and distinguish credible research.
- Demonstrate the ability to balance school and responsibilities outside the classroom, demonstrating your ability to handle the difficult demands of physical therapy school
- Exhibit strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work in teams and among a diverse group of people, and a desire to help others; communicate and listen effectively and possess skills to express your thoughts and ideas.