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Best Majors for Physical Therapy (2023 Guide)

The best majors for those interested in a career as a physical therapist are typically health-related degrees.

 While many different majors can lead to a successful career in this field, some more common ones could help you on your way. A degree in one of these areas will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in school and in your future career. 

So, let’s take an in-depth look at the Best Majors for Physical Therapy!

What Is Physical Therapy?

What Is Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a treatment for people who are unable to move and/or have chronic pain. Physical therapists help these patients by creating a treatment plan that will improve their mobility and relieve their pain. This may involve exercises, stretches, and massage therapy. They often work with other health professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to create the best treatment plan for their patients.

Read more: What Does an Astrophysicist Do?

The Pros Of Becoming A Physio-Therapist

The Pros Of Becoming A Physio-Therapist

There are many advantages to be gained by pursuing this career. For starters, it is a stable and growing field. The job demand for physical therapists is expected to grow by 22% over the next ten years with our aging population.

 This means that there will be plenty of job opportunities for those interested in this career. They also make a good salary. The median pay is $87,930 per year. 

Helping people matters!

In addition to job security and good pay, they also have the opportunity to help people improve their quality of life. Many physical therapy patients can regain mobility and reduce pain after receiving treatment. This can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life. 

Finally, they may also collaborate with patients who have chronic conditions to help them manage their pain and improve their overall health.

The Cons Of Becoming A Physio-Therapist

Like any career, there are also some disadvantages of working in this sector. One downside is that they often have to work long hours. Many physical therapists work full-time, but some may have to work evenings or weekends to meet the needs of their patients. 

Another potential disadvantage is that the job can be physically demanding. Physios often have to lift and move patients, which can be taxing on the body.

Education Requirements

Education Requirements

To become a physio, you will need to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. This is a 3-year professional degree that can be obtained from an accredited physical therapy program. To be eligible for admission into a DPT program, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. 

You will also need to take the Physical Therapy Admission Test (PTAT) to be considered for admission into a DPT program. The PTAT is a computer-based exam that assesses your knowledge of the profession. It is important to note that these programs are competitive, so it is important to have a strong GPA and score well on the PTAT to be considered for admission.

What Majors Lead To A Career In Physical Therapy?

Many different majors can lead to this career; however, some are more common than others, such as exercise science, biology, and kinesiology. 

Exercise Science 

This is a good major for those interested in physical exercises because it provides students with the knowledge they need to understand how the body moves. This knowledge is important for physical therapists as they create treatment plans for their patients. 

Biology

A biology major provides students with a basic understanding of how the body works. This is essential to know as physios design treatments that will improve their patients’ mobility and reduce pain. 

Kinesiology

This is the study of human movement. Kinesiology majors learn about how the body moves and the different types of exercises that can improve a person’s mobility. Useful to know when creating treatment plans for patients.

Alternative Majors

While exercise science, biology, and kinesiology are the most common majors, many other degrees can still lead to this career. Some other popular majors include: 

Psychology

Psychology

Physical therapists often work with patients who have cognitive or mental health conditions. A background in psychology can be helpful when working with these patients.

Occupational Therapy

 This is a closely related field, with many of the skills and knowledge learned in an occupational therapy program overlapping with that of a physio.

Communication Disorders

Therapists frequently deal with people who have trouble expressing themselves. Having a background in speech disorders can be beneficial when dealing with these individuals.

Physical Education

 When working with patients, having a background in physical education can be useful. Physical therapists often teach their patients exercises and stretches to improve their mobility.

Exercise Physiology

Exercise physiologists study how the body responds to exercise. Physios may utilize this information while developing exercise programs for their patients.

Best Majors for Physical Therapy – What Are The Best Schools?

Although there are plenty of schools offering these programs, some schools are better than others. The most highly recommended schools include:

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Northwestern University

How To Make Your Application Stand Out

How To Make Your Application Stand Out

If you are applying to these courses, there are a few things you can do to make sure that admissions remember your application. First, make sure you have a strong GPA. This will show that you are a competent student and will be able to manage the rigors of the program. 

Some people are surprised to learn that you can have a non-science degree to apply to be a PT. If you do not want to pursue a science degree, this is an option for you! It will give you more options in the future and make your application stick out with the unique perspective you can bring from a non-science degree. 

Get hands-on experience before applying…

Additionally, try to get some experience working with patients before you apply to PT school. This can be done through volunteering, working as a nurse’s aide, or even just babysitting. Any experience you have working with people will be beneficial. 

Finally, make sure to ace your interviews! The interview is your chance to show the admissions committee who you are as a person and what sets you apart from other applicants. Prepare for your interviews by coming up with thoughtful answers to common questions.

Jobs Similar To Physical Therapists

If you are interested in working as a physical therapist but are not sure if it is quite the right fit for you, there are some similar jobs that you might want to consider. These include: 

  • Occupational therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Sports medicine
  • Massage therapy
  • Rehabilitation counseling

Additional Guides On Physical Therapy

If you’re still on the fence, these helpful guides are what you need! So, check out The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair, an Introduction to Physical Therapy, the Acute Care Handbook for Physical Therapists, along with Acute Care Physical Therapy: A Clinician’s Guide.

For alternative specializations in the field, I recommend reading Neurologic Interventions for Physical Therapy, or The Ultimate Guide to Pediatric Physical Therapy Documentation: For Student Physical Therapists and PTs, as well as Physical Rehabilitation, or perhaps Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, and Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy: From Art to Evidence.

Studying for your exams? Then it’s well worth reading up on the NPTE Secrets Study Guide: NPTE Exam Review for the National Physical Therapy Examination and Physical Therapy Documentation: From Examination to Outcome, all available online in 2023.

What are the Best Majors For Physical Therapy – Final Thoughts

Well, the answer to that question will vary depending on your interests and career goals. However, some of the most popular majors for physical therapists include exercise science, biology, and kinesiology. If you are looking for a more diverse education, there are many other great options available to you. 

And to make your application stand out, be sure to do your research and put your best foot forward!

Good luck in your new and wonderfully rewarding career!

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About Linda Shepard

Linda is employed by one of the biggest employment agencies in San Francisco and has over 15 years of experience in finding her clients their dream job. She prides herself on being able to match the right person to the right position, which inevitably creates a great working relationship for the employee and the company moving forward.

When she isn't writing articles or working, she enjoys gardening, socializing, and going for long walks on the beach and in nature.

She lives with her boyfriend Carl and their cat, Fluffy.

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