Pre-Physical Therapy Degree Programs
A pre-physical therapy program gives you foundational instruction at the baccalaureate level before you pursue the graduate degree needed for this career. Find out what courses are required for this program, and learn what else you'll need to do to become a licensed physical therapist.
How Does a Pre-Physical Therapy Degree Program Work?
To become a physical therapist, you must meet certain pre-physical therapy course requirements. These can be met through a pre-physical therapy program that is integrated into a larger 4-year Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts program. The major you pursue for your baccalaureate degree can vary greatly, as no particular major is required. Pre-therapy programs may vary in their focus. Some may emphasize development in the biological sciences while others focus on rehabilitation techniques.
If you are planning on pursuing a graduate degree and are having difficulty finding a pre-physical therapy program, you might be able to fulfill requirements by completing most science programs. Some pre-physical therapy programs will allow you to go right into a doctoral degree program after earning your bachelor's degree. You will generally find it difficult to pursue a pre-physical therapy program in a distance education format. Much of the coursework requires hands-on activities and laboratory work.
|Program Types||Pre-PT programs are often integrated into a 4-year bachelor's degree, allowing students to select a major while fulfilling admission requirements for PT school|
|Common Courses||Human anatomy, biology, kinesiology, exercise and injury treatment, genetics|
|Continuing Education||To practice as a PT, you will need to complete a master's or doctoral program in physical therapy after completing your bachelor's degree|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||29% growth (for physical therapist assistants and aides)*|
|Median Salary (2020)||$49,970 (for physical therapist assistants and aides)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Courses May I Take?
Pre-physical therapy programs typically include courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. You can find yourself studying the human anatomy, human physiology and kinesiology. You might learn how the human body reacts to injury and illness and how cells and genetics assist in rehabilitation. You may be required to complete psychology courses that help you in knowing how to mentally prepare patients for the rehabilitation process. A few courses in nutrition, exercise and injury treatment can be part of the program as well.
Other course topics you might take include medical terminology, genetics, immunology, exercise physiology and modern biology. You may have general education courses to complete in English composition, statistics, college algebra, or history. An internship may be required of you before graduating.
What Can I Do After Graduating?
A pre-physical therapy degree won't meet the minimum education requirements for physical therapist licensure or certification. If you intend on becoming a physical therapist, you will need to complete a master's or doctoral degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). You may need to gain experience by volunteering at clinics or hospitals that have physical therapy departments before being accepted into a graduate program.