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What high classes will help become a physical therapist or trainer? Is there any extra classes I should be taking?

I want to know what classes to take to prepare myself.

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Joan’s Answer

Hello Cassidy,

First off, congratulations on your forward-thinking approach and dedication to setting a solid foundation for your dream of becoming a Physical Therapist.

In high school, consider enriching your knowledge base with classes like biology, chemistry, physics, and math.

Remember, the majority of physical therapy prerequisites revolve around natural sciences. Thus, students with a keen interest in becoming physical therapists often choose to major in biology or other natural sciences. Regardless of the classes you choose, maintaining high grades is crucial, as this is the most significant factor considered in graduate school applications.

Here's wishing you all the best in your journey towards a fulfilling career in Physical Therapy. Keep up the great work!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate it! Cassidy
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Daniel’s Answer

Hello Cassidy,
Some base courses necessary for a career in Physical Therapy or training include: biology, physics, chemistry, math (how far depends on the programs pre-requisites), psychology, english/writing. Those are just some of the building blocks for future courses such as anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, exercise physiology, teaching (we constantly teach clients/patients) just to name some.

Physical therapy specifically requires an understanding of disease and injury processes as well as medications, exercise prescription, effective communication and teaching on a daily basis, efficient documenting/writing, ability to read and understand research articles/studies, time management strategies and much more. Subjects that help you develop these skills will be helpful in the future. Hope this helps!
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Cassidy:

While in high school, one will need to focus on science and math classes to prepare for a career as a Physical Therapist. Physics, chemistry and biology will be the core science courses. For math, algebra, geometry and statistics will be needed. Other classes to take will be anatomy, exercise science and physiology. The combination of these concentrations will enable you to focus and refine your analytical skills for research; complex problem solving; investigative and innovative critical thinking; attention to detail; etc.

Other skills that will need to be built upon center around team building, team work and communication. In any work culture, collaboration among team members, staff and partner departments occur on a daily basis. As a Physical Therapist, communication is essential and critical when dealing with patients, medical personnel and other hospital staff. A college course in public speaking, communications and English will help with one's communication and writing skills. While in high school, the debate team will provide the opportunity to sharpen communication skills which are backed with research and factual data and information. Another recommendation is to seek the advice from your high school guidance counselor and teachers. They can help guide your educational pathway for Physical Therapy.

According to Indeed.com, the educational pathway to become a Physical Therapist will be between 7-8 years. 4 Years will be to earn a Bachelor Degree. A Masters Degree will be 2-3 years. The Doctorate Degree will be another 2-3 years. Then, there are internships, certifications and licensing that have to be earned and achieved along the way.

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-long-to-become-physical-therapist

According to U.S. News & World Report, here is a link to the Best Colleges and Universities for a Physical Therapy major:

- University of Delaware
- University of Pittsburgh
- Washington University (St. Louis)
- Northwestern University
- University of Iowa
- University of Southern California
- Duke University
- Emory University
- Creighton University
- MGH Institute of Health Professions
- Ohio State University
- University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/physical-therapy-rankings

When reviewing colleges and universities, it is best to check the following:

- In-State vs Out of State Tuition
- Internships
- Scholarships
- Career Placement upon graduation
- Course work and offered classes
- Post-Graduate Degrees - Master and Doctoral

Scholarship applications can start to be submitted during your Junior year and will continue throughout your Senior year in high school. It is best to ask your Academic Advisor/School Counselor on the timeline process as well. Scholarship applications will have specific deadlines and requirements to meet in order to be submitted for review and consideration.

You may want to start to compile your resume/portfolio since a majority of scholarship applications will require academic grade point average (GPA), academic accomplishments, school activities (clubs, sports, etc.), community involvement (volunteer, church, etc.), academic and personal recommendations, etc. There may be essay requirements on why you are a qualified candidate to receive the scholarship, what your future goals are academically and professionally and other questions centering around who you are, your beliefs, etc.

Here are a couple of links for College Scholarships:

https://www.mometrix.com/blog/scholarships-for-college/

https://www.nchchonors.org/students/awards-scholarships/national-scholarships

Also, it will be best to check with the colleges and universities that you will be applying to. You can check with the School/Department of your desired major, the Campus Career Center and the Register's Office for additional information for college scholarships and grants and specific requirements for qualifications.

Best wishes for your education and career path in Physical Therapy!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for all this helpful information! This going to really help me! Cassidy
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