Students interested in pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy (PT) can prepare by taking general education coursework at College of DuPage. With careful course selection, students can earn an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree while fulfilling many prerequisites for application to a PT degree program. All Physical Therapy entry-level programs are post-baccalaureate.
Successful completion of these courses will not, however, ensure entry into a program. Admission to PT programs is competitive, and prerequisites and other admission requirements vary considerably among schools. Admission is generally based on some combination of transcript evaluation, admission testing, references, writing samples and interviews. Stated prerequisites and grade point averages (GPAs) are generally only minimum requirements for eligibility. A higher GPA may be needed for selection. Some schools offer a 3+3 curricular program where the student takes 3 years of specific pre-physical therapy coursework, followed by 3 years of a professional PT program. Make sure the physical therapy program is accredited. A bachelor’s degree in biology is not necessary, but should offer to provide most of the pre-requisite coursework required by an accredited PT program.
Physical Therapists (PTs) use therapeutic exercise and physical agents such as heat, cold, water and electricity to restore function in patients with physical disease and disability. PTs focus on restoring strength and mobility related to motor function and on pain management. PTs work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and school systems.
Graduation from an accredited program (at the B.S. or M.S. level), passage of a certifying exam, and state licensure are required for practice. Graduation from an accredited program with a MPT, MSPT or DPT followed by passage of state licensure exam are required to practice as a physical therapist. For physical therapy schools to maintain or be granted accredited, all PT programs must transition to awarding the DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) degree by 2015 and will have until 2017 to be compliant with this decision.