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How do I figure out if I am interested in studying physical therapy and how can I prepare myself to apply to those programs when applying for college?

I am a highschool junior interested in this field and just want to know more about it and how to get involved. #physicaltherapy #college #career

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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi, Megan!

In addition to doing some research online, I would recommend considering an internship or job shadowing experience if you have access. Spending time with a physical therapist in the environment is a solid way to gain useful insight. If this isn't possible at this time, focus your time and attention to learning what you can online and pursue a in-office experience at a later time.

Some wonderful resources related to various jobs can be found on bls.gov/ooh. A search on the Occupational Outlook Handbook will give you insight about what a typical day looks like, the education needed, the 10-year career outlook, and salary ranges to name a few: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm,

To prepare for application, consider what institutions offer a graduate program in physical therapy or have a pre-physical therapy program. You don't necessarily need to have one in mind to start your search, take a look at the programs for commonalities such as specific or special coursework or testing. You'll want to keep your options open anyway. From these resources, you can gather information to make an informed decision.

Good luck!
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Joshua’s Answer

Hi Megan!
Okay, so this was the question you asked:How do I figure out if I am interested in studying physical therapy and how can I prepare myself to apply to those programs when applying for college?

Good question. I would suggest shadowing a physical therapist or essentially getting permission from an office for you to observe. I have done it with high school students on one or two occasions.

Importantly, ask yourself Megan, what types of thing make you happy and give you a feeling of satisfaction? Is it listening, giving advise, working as a team, or independently. Do you like to be creative, like structure, etc. Being a physical therapist requires being a people person for sure, being flexible, not being shy about asking questions, being emphathetic, knowing about the human body, psycology, communication, and the like. And most physical therapists live by what that do. They practice healthy eating (many), they exercise, they like to be creative, and they like to learn about advances in the field.

I hope this helps Megan! Have a good day!

Josh DPT from NY
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Malisa’s Answer

Hi Megan!
I would recommend you start with a Primary Care Physician. Ask them if they are aware of any clinics or centers in your area that you could perform some observations with. Maybe they know someone who you could speak with. Also ask them what education they felt was a good starting point. If that is not a comfortable road for you, do some searches on-line for local schools in your area. They would have their curricula posted and you could review the requirements for where you will start and then need to be. Check some local hospitals as well. Most have physical therapy centers attached to them and you can check for volunteer hours or mentorships. Keep in mind, (having been in a patient in a physical therapy program) these professionals do best when they are people oriented. If you do not like dealing with people, this is not a good career for you. I've seen them deal with the very young trying to simply walk to the very old who yell at them for everything. Motivational skills are also key to help push the patient and help them believe the movement is possible (even if it's not right away). I would ask yourself what is drawing my to the career, what is my end goal? Do you want to grow into something more in the field? Start your own business? Or use this as s stepping stone for a larger medical field?

I hope this helped a little. All the best.
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Rodolfo’s Answer

Shadow a PT in a skilled nursing facility then you’ll know if it’s for you.
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Steven’s Answer

To find out if you are truly interested, I would send out messages to local clinics requesting an opportunity to observe or shadow with a clinician in the clinic. This will give you opportunity to see the work first hand, and to ask questions to an experienced clinician. I would also study the requirements of being able to become accepted to a graduate level program to know the work required to enter the profession. Lastly, I would also volunteer in some type of social service role to gain skill and understanding of what it takes to serve other people as this will be the core of the profession and what will connect a passion for helping others.
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Emma’s Answer

To spark your curiosity in studying physical therapy and get ready for college applications in this area, start by exploring your own interests to discover your enthusiasm for healthcare, patient care, and physical rehabilitation. Establish a robust academic base in high school by choosing related courses and keeping your GPA high. Participate in extracurricular activities linked to healthcare, offer your time to volunteer in clinical environments, and look into the prerequisites for physical therapy programs. Investigate accredited programs at colleges and universities, join information sessions, and collect information about faculty expertise and available resources. If needed, get ready for standardized tests, build good relationships with your teachers to secure strong recommendation letters, and create an engaging personal statement that shows your commitment to the profession. Lastly, consider further studies, as most physical therapists go on to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program after earning their bachelor's degree.
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