The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) home page.
Physical Therapy Graduate Schools by state .
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) web page .
Occupational Therapy Graduate Programs
PHYSICAL THERAPY - Physical Therapists plan, organize, and administer treatment based on knowledge of each patient's condition, in order to restore functional mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent disability for those suffering from a disabling injury or disease. Their patients vary in age from the newborn to the elderly and may include accident or stroke victims or handicapped individuals. Among the conditions likely to require treatment by physical therapists are: multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, nerve injuries, amputations, fractures, arthritis, and heart disease. Physical Therapy (PT) specialty areas include pediatrics, geriatric, orthopedics, sports medicine, neurology, and cardiopulmonary physical therapy.
CERTIFICATION - Some students seek a BS degree in physical therapy, but the main pathway for practicing as a Physical Therapist is to gain a BA or BS degree (usually in biology) and enter a master's degree program in PT. While in College, fulfill all prerequisites for the PT schools you will apply to. It is possible for you to become certified as an ATHLETIC TRAINER by working with a certified trainer for at least two years. Some SJC students do this while also taking our Physical Therapy track courses. You can also become an athletic trainer during or after completion of an approved physical therapy program. However an athletic trainer cannot become a physical therapist without finishing an approved physical therapy program. For more information click here.
ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS (PREREQUISITES) - Physical Therapy Schools have differing admission requirements. This means students should CONTACT PHYSICAL THERAPY SCHOOLS IN THE FRESHMAN YEAR in order to find out their prerequisites. Click here to get a list of Physical therapy schools by state.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY - Occupational therapists treat people who have permanent mental, physical, developmental, or emotional disabilities. They employ a variety of techniques designed to help individuals develop or maintain daily living skills. This allows people to function in spite of their handicap (e.g. tying shoes with only one hand or cooking despite partial paralysis). The result is not a physical "cure", but it gives great happiness and fulfillment to the person who can function again. Ability to work independently and good people skills are needed to help you work with patients. You must be strong physically and emotionally for this demanding job.
Inside Track: Jobs have opened up for occupational therapists because of the aging of the population. The anticipated growth in rehabilitation services is a reflection of the increase of Americans who statistically are more vulnerable to heart disease and strokes. Occupational therapists tend to work with a particular disability or age group. Most jobs will be in hospitals that are adding rehabilitation centers, and in hospital subsidiaries such as home health care, rehabilitation programs and outpatient clinics. Schools will be the second largest employer. Some Occupational Therapists have independent practices to provide follow-up services to long-term patients recently released from hospitals. Occupational therapists will become consultants to businesses with disabled workers and in university research labs.
CERTIFICATION - Preparation for this field requires at least two years in a college liberal arts program. Most programs now PREFER that you get a four-year bachelor degree in biology, biology-chemistry or pre-occupational therapy. You then get a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy or a post baccalaureate certificate. Ultimately you must be licensed by the state to help disabled people and obtain national certification as a registered occupational therapist. This is awarded by the American Occupational Therapy Certification Board. For more information click here.
ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS (PREREQUISITES) - Occupational Therapy Schools have differing admission requirements. This means students should CONTACT OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SCHOOLS IN THE FRESHMAN YEAR. Look here for information on Occupational Therapy Graduate Programs
Here is a typical example of prerequisites for entry into Physical or Occupational Therapy programs: NOTE this is just an example, courses you need MAY DIFFER from this example) :
1. Have a bachelors degree
2. Have an overall GPA minimum of 3.2 and average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale), while the math and science prerequisite courses GPA is a minimum 3.2, average 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. For
3. Have the following prerequisite courses (they do not accept "P" or "D" grades):
BIOLOGY - MUST HAVE at least 16hrs including: 4h general
bio, 4h anatomy or CVA, 4h physiology
CHEMISTRY - MUST HAVE at least 8hrs including one semester of general and organic chemistry with biochemistry recommended
ENGLISH -- 6 semester hours Composition/Writing, Speech
PHYSICS total hrs 8h of intro physics
MATH must have calculus and statistics
PSYCHOLOGY at least one course in general psych, most schools want you to take several courses
ART – usually only for Occupational Therapy
CPR & FIRST AID – sometimes recommended but not required
DOCUMENTED experience. Schools want you to have spent time working with or observing therapists. The amount of time they want you to spend varies with each school.
SJC MAJOR for PRE-PHYSICAL or PRE-OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
MAJOR - You will major in "Biology" but concentrate on courses preparing for the Master’s Program.
1. 36 hours of biology credits including: 8 h of Intro. Bio., 6h *Human anatomy and physiology*, 4 h genetics, 4h Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (recommend course: Human medical physiology)
*HAP (or A&P) can only count for biology credit if you also take CVA & HMP - many Physical Therapy schools do not accept CVA for their anatomy requirement without HAP
2. Chemistry requirements: 8 h general chemistry, 8h organic chemistry and 4h biochemistry
3. Physics requirements - two semesters of Introductory physics (Note: if you did not have calculus in High School you must take it before taking Physics)
- Health Therapy Minor. This minor is available for those
interested in Physical or Occupational Therapy. You must take 18 hours from the
following areas: (no more than 6hrs from any one area count toward the minor)
Psychology, (general, abnormal, human growth and development), Statistics,
Sociology, Art and handicrafts, Physical Education (kinesiology, athletic
training), Mathematics (calculus).
Another option for your minor at
Athletic Training Minor. This is the simpler minor and is a realistic selection for students with a B average in the sciences. The courses you must have are: PE 327_Physiology of exercise, PE 328_Therapeutic modalities, PE 323_Advanced athletic training, PE 221 Kinesiology, PE 222_Basic athletic training, PE 223_CPR, PE 224_Red Cross, PE 250_ Concepts of fitness plus Bio 121 & 122 Human Anatomy & Physiology (which count as Biology credit)
FIELD EXPERIENCE: Most Physical therapy Schools want you to have significant actual experience in Physical therapy. It is up to YOU to arrange field experience with licensed Physical Therapists. We can help, especially with gaining experience in our town. Our majors have often helped with procedures at the Jasper County Hospital Physical Therapy Department and received Independent Study credit as well as hours of experience. Other students have found summer jobs as therapists, thus getting paid as they gained experience. Schools usually desire that you spend at least 60 hrs with accredited therapists. Freshman year is a good time to start – do NOT wait until your senior year
Therapy Schools - There are several programs in
Occupational Therapy Schools- You can find out about each school’s entrance requirements, programs, costs etc. over the internet.