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What are some of the best courses to take to prepare for becoming a physical therapist.?

Any high school courses before college that would help?

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Maria Cecilia’s Answer

Hello there. In preparation for a Physical Therapy Curriculum, please consider taking biology, anatomy, chemistry and physics courses - all the basics - as well as the math courses that prepare you for college level mathematics. These will give you a great foundation for the PT program you enter. Also helpful are social science and psychology courses and any courses that may involve health care in general. Good luck on your journey!!
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Amber’s Answer

Hi there! I found that taking science and math courses in high school such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, science labs, pre-calc, calc, etc were helpful for college. It makes the coursework a little more doable since you have seen some of the basics of the class before. It will also prepare you for the courseload. The path to physical therapy or even college in general is also a lot about time management so taking multiple STEM (science technology engineering and math) classes can help you prepare for how to manage these all at the same time. Hope this helps!
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Teresa’s Answer

Hi Hope! Physical therapy is such an important part of the healthcare team. Taking science and math courses in high school will give you a solid foundation for your college coursework. Biology, chemistry, college prep math, and physics would be classes to consider.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Hope,

If you're considering a career as a physical therapist, it's vital to start preparing early. Here's a list of courses that can help you build a strong foundation for your future career in both high school and college:

1. Science Courses: Subjects like biology, chemistry, and physics in high school will give you a solid understanding of the core principles of physical therapy. These subjects will help you learn about human anatomy, physiology, and basic scientific concepts that are crucial in physical therapy.

2. Mathematics Courses: Good math skills are essential in physical therapy, especially for data analysis and understanding biomechanics. Courses such as algebra, geometry, and statistics can help sharpen these skills and set the stage for advanced study in college.

3. Health and Physical Education Courses: High school courses related to health and physical education can offer valuable insights into overall wellness, fitness, and the importance of exercise. These courses may cover topics like nutrition, injury prevention, and basic exercise principles, all of which are relevant to physical therapy.

Remember, specific prerequisites and requirements can vary depending on the college or university. So, it's a good idea to research the prerequisites of the physical therapy programs you're interested in to make sure you meet their specific requirements.

When you get to college or university, you'll usually pursue a bachelor's degree in a related field before applying to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. During your undergraduate studies, consider taking courses that align with the prerequisites for DPT programs. These may include:

1. Anatomy and Physiology: Deep understanding of human anatomy and physiology is key for understanding how the body works and moves. This course provides knowledge of the musculoskeletal, nervous, and cardiovascular systems, which are directly relevant to physical therapy practice.

2. Kinesiology: Kinesiology, the study of human movement, can give you a comprehensive understanding of how muscles, bones, and joints work together. This course explores biomechanics and helps develop skills in analyzing movement patterns and identifying potential issues.

3. Exercise Science: Courses in exercise science focus on the principles of exercise prescription, fitness assessment, and program design. These courses provide a foundation for understanding how exercise can be used to improve strength, flexibility, and overall physical function.

Other recommended courses may include psychology, medical terminology, neuroscience, and research methods. Additionally, gaining practical experience through volunteering or shadowing in physical therapy settings can offer valuable insights into the profession and enhance your application to DPT programs.

In short, while there are no specific high school courses that are mandatory for becoming a physical therapist, taking science, mathematics, and health-related courses can help build a strong foundation. Once in college or university, pursuing a bachelor's degree in a related field and taking courses such as anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and exercise science will further prepare you for a career in physical therapy.

Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications or Domain Names Used:
1. American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) - www.apta.org
2. Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) - www.capteonline.org
3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) - www.bls.gov
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Hope:

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!
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