3 answers

what is the best major to take when trying to work towards a doctrate in Physical Therapy?

Asked Fort Worth, Texas

i am a high school student trying to figure out what I want to major in for college, I know I want to receive my doctorate in Physical Therapy so this would be extremely helpful #therapy #physical

3 answers

Bailey’s Answer

Updated Santa Cruz, California

Hello Sophie, I would look into Kinesiology as a major if you're interested in PT! It's all about movement and the physical body. I would also suggest volunteering to shadow a PT as well, to get some experience and make sure it's the job for you :). Google physical therapy and the city you live in, call, and tell them a little about you and ask if they take volunteers or if you can volunteer/shadow. They can give you a lot of information as well :).

Palak’s Answer


Hi Sophie, I would suggest you to pursue Exercise Science (ESS) with pre-PT as your major. That's what majority of people do who want to go to PT school as that degree covers most of the pre-requisite. So, if you are positive towards your career as a PT, this is what you would want to do. You can also do Kinesiology as it is similar to ESS, just make sure, it has pre-PT concentration .

I am a PT from India and currently doing my internship at a PT clinic in the States while pursuing M.S. in Exercise and Sports Science. I am sure about ESS as my on-site supervisor has written a book on how to become a PT with all the steps as to what you should do, how much you should score, pre-requisite, and everything in detail. His name is Dr. Kirk Painter, PT, DPT. You can also find his book on amazon/kindle if you are really interested and want to know in depth.

I hope my suggestion helps you. Good luck with your future endeavors!

Your answer is great Palak, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! At this moment there are more than 800 unanswered questions so I wanted to encourage you to keep going! So many students will benefit tremendously from hearing from you. Keep up the great work!

Willy’s Answer

Updated Katy, Texas

Hi Sophie!

I agree with Mr. Ken Simmons answer to your question that you can start by taking an interest and aptitude test to find out if physical therapy is suitable for you. If Physical Therapy is the right career path for you, I would suggest you ask your school counselor or coordinator if they can arrange for students like you to go to a hospital or facility where you are can observe actual physical therapist on the job. In that way, you can have an idea if physical therapy fits your interest. With regards to what major you will take in order to work for your doctorate PT, as far as know, all physical therapy students right now are required to finish the doctoral program and need to pass the licensure test in order to practice physical therapy. What's good with the physical therapy profession is that you can find different areas of interest where you can find your "niche" so to speak including sports physical therapy,pediatric PT( deals with infants, young),geriatric PT( deals with elderly population),orthopedic PT (deals with bone, etc) to name a few. Actually, you don't need to have a major in PT but you can get a better idea which area in physical therapy that you are more interested in while you are in PT school. More likely, while you are in your doctoral program, you will have the chance to go for an internship in different hospitals where you can gauge yourself on which areas in physical therapy you are most suitable and where you are good at. Lastly, after your finished your doctoral program, you need to pass the licensure test for PT in your state (or depending on what state you want to practice) in order for you to practice physical therapy. Later on if you want to be a specialist/certified (which would be your major!) for example in sports physical therapy, you can apply and pass the test to become certified for that! What I would recommend to you is to visit the CAPTE and the APTA website in order to give you more idea on choosing the program that is best for you. Here is the website for both: www.capteonline.org and www.apta.org. You can also ask someone in your area who is a physical therapist so that you can get more information about physical therapy. I hope this answer your question.