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Physical therapists (PTs) are licensed health care professionals who diagnose and treat people who have medical problems or health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their day to day life. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles. Physical therapists provide this care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. 

Physical Therapists typically do the following: 

  • Take patient history, observe movements and perform tests to identify existing problems in function and movement 
  • Create a treatment plan based on diagnoses and prognoses 
  • Use exercises, stretches, equipment or other therapies to help improve function, movement and manage pain. 
  • Evaluate and monitor patient progress (may lead to modification of interventions)  
  • Educate patients and families about recovery from injury or illness and promote overall fitness and wellbeing 
  • Work with other healthcare professionals for referrals and overall patient care

What should I major in?  

Your major does not matter, as long as you successfully complete the courses required for admission into your preferred PT program. Indeed, it is important that you select a major in a field that you are most passionate about. 

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The links below provide basic information for students interested in attending a PT program.

Helpful Handouts for Pre-PT Students

Helpful PowerPoints for Pre-PT Students