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What kind of classes do you need to take to become a Physical Therapist?

I want to become a Physical Therapist and I want to learn more about it

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Subject: Career question for you

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Beth’s Answer

Physical Therapy takes 6-7 years of school to graduate with your DPT. In undergraduate you can major in anything but there are specific classes the PT program requires and you have to work those into your schedule. Most people major in exercise science or kinesiology. PT is very science driven. You will have lots of biology, physics, and chemistry. Some programs want calculus based physics, some want specific advanced biology classes like vertebrate biology vs comparative biology. You will also have several psychology classes, and math, English classes. (We have to write insurance justification letters frequently).
Go to APTA.org for a list of PT programs in your area. Then go to the website of the programs you have chosen to see a list of prerequisites.
You have to apply to get into PT school and it is very competitive. They look at grades, test scores like GRE and SAT, as well as sports and community activities. They want smart, personable therapists.
There is also the Physical therapist assistant program. It is 2 -3 years of school. You have to apply for this program as well and it is also very competitive. The APTA website also lists these programs.
Physical therapy is a very rewarding career. There are many aspects of the profession and many opportunities out there.

Beth recommends the following next steps:

Keep your grades up!
Go to APTA.org for list of programs
Shadow a local PT to decide if you like what they do.
Thank you comment icon Loved reading this, thanks! Maris
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Raegan’s Answer

Hi Maris! This is exciting that you are interested in physical therapy. Taking a variety of science classes can help you get a feel if it is something you like. Most states require a master's or doctorate in physical therapy, which contains a lot of science and hard work. You could also look online to see if there are any Coursera classes for free where you can learn more about physical therapy before committing to anything. I majored in Biology during undergrad and was unsure what direction I wanted to go in for my master's. I was interested in forensics but didn't know much about it. I found a free online Coursera class about forensic science and forensic medicine, and now I am getting my master's in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Forensic Medicine.

Watching youtube videos and asking a clinic to shadow a physical therapist can also help you learn more about the profession. I hope this helps! Good luck on your journey; you got this!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Maris
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Maria Cecilia’s Answer

Hi Maris - thanks for asking. The focus of physical therapy will be on the sciences. You will be required to take courses such as Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Physics, Kinesiology, etc. You will also need to be strong in your math curriculum as well. Preparing with these courses in high school will help you in college as you prepare for applying into a Physical Therapy Program. Of course, another area that will give you an advantage will include communication so any classes related to this subject will be helpful. Good Luck!!
Thank you comment icon I will use this advice as I prepare for my career. Maris
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Margie’s Answer

Hi Maris,
If you are thinking about PT school (DPT) I would major something like Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Physiology - something along those lines so you can take the courses required for PT school (Anatomy, etc). You can major in anything in undergrad however you would need to look at each PT schools' prerequisite requirements to see what classes/courses you need to apply. Many of the above majors that I mention will cover that.
Good Luck!
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