Skip to Content

Pre-Physical Therapy

Educational Pathway

Physical therapists are in demand! After completing an Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree with a major in Science, Specialization: Pre-Medical you will continue your pre-physical therapy study by transferring to a four year school. Most physical therapy programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. You can declare a major in any subject at the four year school to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree which will require an additional two years of college.

Your chosen major does not determine your success in being accepted to a physical therapy program. It is however important you include the pre-requisite courses required by the schools you are interested in attending in your educational curriculum. Many of these classes are taken during your two years at SWCC. After being accepted to a physical therapy program it will take a total of three years to be awarded a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) but programs vary in length.There is also a Masters of Physical Therapy (MPT) that requires two years of graduate study.

Early in your academic career you will need to research some of the physical therapy programs you are interested in attending in order to insure you will meet all their criteria for admission. Some basic factors are:

  • Good undergraduate grades (overall GPA of 3.0 minimum)
  • Test scores (GRE®)
  • True interest in profession as demonstrated by shadowing or volunteering in the field in long term positions; some colleges require documented hours
  • Strong reasoning and writing skills (which will be documented on the Graduate Record Examination)
  • Strong reference letters from professionals who know your character, as well as, your work ethic

What is the GRE®?

It is Graduate Record Examination. It is a standardized test taken by students who are applying to physical therapy schools. It will be similar to the ACT® or SAT®. It is a broad assessment of your critical thinking, analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning skills — all skills developed over the course of many years, which includes your two years at SWCC.

Important qualities for physical therapists

Physical therapists must have excellent communication, writing and interpersonal skills. Other important qualities are keen observation skills, patience and flexibility. As in other health-related occupations, empathy, understanding and the desire to help others are good qualities for dealing effectively with patients.

Is physical therapy for you?

The student should shadow physical therapists and ask questions about the profession. Physical therapy is involved with evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system. They help patients with medical problems to gain mobility, reduce pain and perform functional activities in daily life. Physical therapists may work in a variety of settings such as orthopedic clinics, hospitals, schools, home healthcare, sports and fitness facilities, nursing homes, etc..

Physical Therapy Schools

There are 218 physical therapy schools in the United States. You can review them at the following site

dustin dean swcc

Dr. Dustin Dean, PT

Dr. Dean completed the Science/Pre-med program at Southwest.
After receiving his A.A&S. in Science, Dr. Dean graduated from ETSU with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. He was accepted to and completed his studies with the ETSU Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

Back to top