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What is the best path to take to become a Physical Therapist? What classes should I take now?

I want a high-paying job as a physical therapist, but I don't know how to get there. It would be very helpful to know what kind of college I should attend.

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Cheri’s Answer

Hello Colten,

To embark on a career as a physical therapist, the ultimate requirement is a doctorate in physical therapy. However, your first step is to obtain a bachelor's degree, typically acquired over four years at a university. While you can choose any major, popular choices among aspiring physical therapists include Biology, Exercise Science, Kinesiology, or Psychology. These subjects often cover the prerequisite classes needed for admission into doctorate programs.

Certain universities provide what's known as a direct-entry Physical Therapy program. This accelerated program allows you to complete your bachelor's degree in three years instead of four, followed by immediate acceptance into their Physical Therapy doctoral program. This doctorate program spans three additional years and includes both academic coursework and practical internships.

Before applying to any physical therapy program, it's essential to gain hands-on experience. This can be achieved through volunteering at a physical therapy clinic or working as a physical therapy aide. Given the demanding nature of the coursework and the profession, schools prefer applicants with prior experience in the field.

If you're currently in high school, consider volunteering at local physical therapy clinics or hospitals. Additionally, taking as many science classes as possible will provide a strong foundation for your college studies.

Cheri recommends the following next steps:

Call local PT clinics to ask about volunteering or shadowing for a day.
Take high school classes such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy. And AP classes if possible.
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Sharmeen’s Answer

To embark on a career as a physical therapist, your journey begins at a four-year college to earn a bachelor's degree. There's no specific undergraduate major required for physical therapy school, so choose a subject that fascinates you. Nowadays, graduate schools value diverse academic backgrounds. However, you'll need to fulfill certain prerequisites required by physical therapy programs, such as biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, anatomy, and statistics, among others.

If you're still in high school, it's wise to enroll in science and math courses to lay a solid foundation for your college studies. For instance, taking AP Chemistry can give you a head start when you tackle Chemistry 1 and Chemistry 2 in college, where the pace is significantly faster.
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