What does a physical therapist do?
Physical therapists help people maximize their quality of life. “They work with people of all ages and abilities, and in a variety of settings. They help people rehabilitate from devastating injuries, manage chronic conditions, avoid surgery and prescription drugs, and create healthy habits” (APTA).
To learn more about what physical therapists do, visit the American Physical Therapy Association’s web page Becoming a PT.
Choosing This Field
When figuring out if this profession is right for you, make sure to look at various resources to inform you about careers in physical therapy, engage in self reflection regularly, and seek out relevant clinical and service experiences.
To explore what your career might look like in this field and what the right fit is for you, visit the APTA’s pages Careers in Physical Therapy and Contact a Student. Visit the PTCAS’s page about Professionalism and Core Values for further exploration.
What is the required preparation?
There is no required major for pre-physical therapy students—students are welcome to explore their major options. There is variability when it comes to course requirements for entrance to a physical therapy program, so applicants are encouraged to explore their specific programs of interest and research their coursework expectations.
Review the APTA’s Comparison of Course Prerequisites by Program document to find what various schools require. The majority of programs expect one year of Anatomy and Physiology, one year of General Chemistry, one year of Physics, one year of Psychology and one semester of Statistics.
UConn’s Physical Therapy Program, for instance, expects:
- General Chemistry I + II
- Pre-Calculus or higher
- General Physics I + II
- Human Anatomy and Physiology I + II
- Two Psychology Courses
In addition to undergraduate preparation, applicants are also required to take the GRE.
The typical physical therapy program takes three years to complete. For information on the application process and how to prepare, visit PTCAS’s Current Applicants page.
Finding a Program
To find physical therapy programs, use PTCAS’s List of Programs.
If you want to know more about programs and opportunities through the university, visit UConn’s Physical Therapy Program website (offered through the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources).