Prerequisites to Attend School for Becoming a Physical Therapist
Physical therapist prerequisites - Physical therapy is a healthcare profession that helps patients improve their physical function, mobility, and quality of life. It involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of injuries, disabilities, and other medical conditions that affect the body's movement and performance. Becoming a physical therapist requires a significant amount of education and training, and there are specific prerequisites that you must meet before you can begin your journey in this field.
Here are the main physical therapist prerequisites:
- A Bachelor's Degree: In order to be eligible for a physical therapy program, you must first complete a bachelor's degree. This degree can be in any field, but it is recommended that you major in a science-related field such as biology or exercise science.
- Prerequisite Courses: Most physical therapy programs require applicants to complete certain prerequisite courses before they can be admitted. These courses usually include anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology.
- GRE Exam: Many physical therapy programs require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This exam measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. Some programs may accept other standardized tests such as the MCAT or DAT.
- Volunteer or Work Experience: It is recommended that you gain some experience working in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital, clinic, or physical therapy office. This experience can be gained through volunteering, shadowing, or working as a physical therapy aide.
- Letters of Recommendation: Most physical therapy programs require applicants to submit letters of recommendation from professors, healthcare professionals, or supervisors who can attest to your academic and professional abilities.
- GPA Requirements: Many physical therapy programs have minimum GPA requirements for admission. These requirements vary depending on the program, but a GPA of 3.0 or higher is generally recommended.
- Personal Statement: A personal statement is a written essay that explains why you want to become a physical therapist and why you are a good candidate for the program. It is an important component of your application and should showcase your writing skills, motivation, and passion for the field.
- Interviews: Some physical therapy programs require applicants to participate in an interview process. This is an opportunity for the program to assess your communication skills, professionalism, and fit with the program.
In summary, becoming a physical therapist requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Meeting these prerequisites is just the first step in a long and rewarding journey in this healthcare profession. If you are passionate about helping others and improving their quality of life, then physical therapy may be the right career for you.
Prerequisites Needed to Become a Physical Therapist
Prospective students seeking admission into Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) programs typically need to possess a bachelor's degree in a science-related field, such as applied science, athletic training, biology, chemistry, exercise science, psychology, or rehabilitation sciences. Although some universities permit students to identify themselves as pre-physical therapy for academic advising, they generally do not offer pre-physical therapy as a standalone undergraduate major.
It is recommended that students consult with academic advisors to ensure they meet the various course prerequisites for MPT programs. Generally, physical therapy schools require students to have completed several courses, including human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, molecular and cellular biology, general chemistry, and physics, before beginning an MPT program. Additional prerequisites may include statistics, biomechanics, and kinesiology.
Moreover, applicants for MPT programs may also be asked to furnish letters of recommendation and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Some physical therapy departments may require a statement of purpose to be submitted outlining the applicant's academic and professional objectives.
Furthermore, applicants to MPT programs may be required to provide evidence of clinical experience under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist. The clinical experience can be undertaken voluntarily or as paid work, as long as it meets the minimum hourly requirement stipulated by the physical therapy department of the institution.
Upon completion of an accredited physical therapy program and obtaining a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree, students must obtain a state-level license to practice physical therapy. The requirements for licensure may differ from state to state, but they typically entail passing the National Physical Therapy Examination, which is conducted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. In certain states, passing a jurisprudence exam may also be necessary. To maintain their licenses, licensed physical therapists must participate in continuing education courses.
Career and Job Outlook Information Physical Therapist
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a significant increase of 18% in the number of employed physical therapists between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average growth rate for other professions. While many physical therapists tend to work in major urban centers, job opportunities may be more abundant in rural areas. The median annual wage for physical therapists, according to the BLS data from May 2019, was $89,440.
Physical therapists provide healthcare to patients of all ages who are experiencing physical difficulties due to illness or injury, and after completing a graduate-level degree program. To be eligible for a physical therapy graduate program, a bachelor's degree in a science-related field is typically required. To obtain a license in the state where they practice, physical therapists must meet educational requirements and pass an examination.