Physical therapists (PTs) help people recover from pain and injury and increase mobility. Benefits of becoming a PT include the ability to practice in various settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, industrial environments, sports and fitness facilities and schools. According to American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the median salary for a PT in 2013 was $85,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the demand for PTs is high and the career is expected to grow. A career as a PT is increasingly appealing to many people, making entry into PT programs competitive.
Look to the Future
Because admission requirements for physical therapy programs vary from one program to another, students should contact the program(s) of their choice early in their Hendrix career. Most programs have a similar list of courses in the sciences and in English.
Community service, health care experiences, and leadership activities are essential. You need lots of experience working with people for people.
Observe Physical Therapists
Many schools require time spent observing, shadowing or interning with a physical therapist, and most admitted students will exceed the minimum requirements. Hendrix internships require a minimum of 120 hours. You should try to do more than 120 hours and with different PTs if you can.
Keep your academic record strong
Few individuals get admitted with the minimal requirements, which usually includes a minimum GPA of 3.5. More often programs are looking for the most highly qualified students and therefore have higher expectations and standards, admitting students with qualifications and GPAs higher than the minimum requirements. When choosing your schools to apply to, check to make sure you meet or exceed the requirements.
Get to know some health care providers, faculty and work/volunteer supervisors. All of these individuals can be a resource for you to obtain new and valuable opportunities. Always maintain a good rapport with these contacts as well. You never know when you will need a letter of recommendation, and you want to make sure they can provide you with a great letter, not a mediocre one.
Stay up on current healthcare issues
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is a great resource for staying up-to-date on current issues impacting PTs. http://www.apta.org/LatestNews/
For information, contact Dr. Rick Murray in the Biology Department.
Examples for Course Selection
Common requirements are listed below. Requirements vary at different institutions.
BIOL 150 Cell Biology (w/Lab)
BIOL 205/215 Human Anatomy and Physiology (w/Lab) I & II
BIOL 340 Microbiology (w/Lab) or BIOL 320 Animal Physiology (w/Lab)
BIOL 362 Exercise Physiology (w/Lab)
CHEM 110 General Chemistry I (w/Lab)
CHEM 120 General Chemistry II (w/Lab)
PHYS 210/220 General Physics I & II (w/Lab)
PHYS 230/240 General Physics I&2 (w/Lab) (Calculus-based)
PHYS 235/245 General Physics I&2 (Workshop)
College Algebra and Trigonometry (not taught at Hendrix, some accept MATH 120 Functions & Models)
MATH 215 Introductory Statistics or PSYC 290 Statistics
PSYC 240 Childhood and Adolescence Psychology
PSYC 245 Adult Development and Aging
(sometimes) PSYC 385 Abnormal Psychology
Other Frequently Required Courses
Medical Terminology (not taught at Hendrix)
Public Speaking (not taught at Hendrix)
Download an Advising Worksheet