Your training and education as a physical therapist begin long before you ever get to Graduate Degree training. Without proper groundwork that leads to pre-physical therapy training programs all your later efforts will be moot.
Given the highly competitive basis of the physical therapy field, you’ll need to prepare well and early to make sure you can get into the school of your choice when it comes to both your Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in physical therapy. Your motivation, dedication, and your performance in admission interviews can certainly help you when it comes to this, but your educational background is going to be a huge part of what advances your candidacy.
While in high school and once you begin your Undergraduate studies you want to be focusing on the following subjects:
- General Biology
- Anatomy and Physiology
And once you enter Undergraduate level studies, you can take a series of courses commonly referred to as “pre-physical therapy training”, but which do not constitute an actual academic program. However, this set of courses is an excellent further grounding in the knowledge and background you will need for later physical therapy studies:
- Biology, with a minor in Chemistry or Health Care
- Athletic Training
In addition to all the courses and studies mentioned above, you should be keeping an eye out for opportunities to get some clinical or practical experience, since it will both stand you in good stead academically and better prepare you to work in the field post graduation. Also, some Graduate schools actually require you to have a minimum number of clinical hours worked (volunteer work normally counts toward this total) before you can apply to study with them.
Given that you will also need to pass the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in order to get into most physical therapy schools it’s better to study well and early, and it doesn’t hurt to maintain a high GPA either – 3.0 or better is a required level, though anything over this only works in your favor.
The next step in planning your future academic path is finding the physical therapy school that’s right for you. Use this website to find a school that suits your needs, and then find out what kind of funding is available through scholarships and other financial aid measures to help you make that dream a reality. Good luck on your future career!