Pre-Health Preparation

Physical Therapy Programs

Physical therapists (PTs) work with patients to restore function, improve mobility, reduce pain, and limit physical disabilities that result from injury, surgery, or other types of trauma. Generally, physical therapists take patient histories, test and measure a patient's range of motion, strength, coordination, posture and muscle performance. They then develop a plan of exercise and therapy that will help restore function that was lost or impaired. Physical therapists work independently, in group practices, and often in association with orthopedic surgery practices. Most PT programs are now doctoral degrees that require a Bachelor's degree prior to entry.

Pre-Requisite Course Work

Prerequisites for most PT programs include:

  • One year of biology for majors (Bio 112, Bio 113 and lab)
  • One year of chemistry (Chem 150 and lab, Chem 151 and lab)
  • One year of physics (Phys 201 and lab, Phys 202 and lab)
  • Mathematics (Math 110, some schools prefer through Calculus)
  • Statistics (Math 201 or Psych 241 )
  • General physiology for science majors (Bio 321)
  • Exercise physiology (ES 360)
  • Additional upper division biology with lab
  • Human Anatomy (Bio 233 and lab)
  • Medical Terminology (not offered at Fort Lewis College)
  • Humanities (Psychology - at least 6 hrs; Sociology - 3 hours)
  • English Composition (Comp 150, Comp 250, or their equivalents)

Most also include:

  • A bachelor's degree in any subject
  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Hours in training with a certified physical therapist (hours range from 50 to 1000)

And many recommend:

  • Kinesiology and Biomechanics (ES 335)
  • Motor Learning and Control (ES 340)
  • Abnormal Psychology (Psyc 387)
  • Microbiology (Bio 331)

Application Procedure & Timeline

PT programs have a rolling-admission process. This means that they evaluate applicants as soon as they get their application materials, and admit or reject that student at the time of application. This makes it especially important to apply to each program as soon as you are able to do so. Do not wait until the deadline. Each PT program has its own application deadlines and many have their own on-line applications available for downloading. Please check each program you plan to apply to for their deadlines and plan to have all of your materials (GRE scores, letters of recommendation, college transcripts) submitted well in advance of the application deadline.

Additional Links
    •    Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
    •    American Physical Therapy Association
    •    Physical Therapy Programs in the US

Print