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Role of Physical Therapists

Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility - in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects.

Physical therapists can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. 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 care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. Learn more about the role of a physical therapist.

Note: Information above taken directly from the website of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Pursuit of Physical Therapy at Clemson

Clemson University prepares students for application to a three-four year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

Pre-physical therapy is not a major. Therefore, you must choose a degree-granting major (and minor, if appropriate). PT schools do not discriminate among the different disciplines from which you may choose, meaning that you can and should choose the curriculum that interests you most and excel. Be sure to accommodate prerequisite courses for your PT schools of interest.

What is considered competitive?

Admissions criteria vary by institution and should be verified individually. According to PTCAS data, a competitive applicant for admission to DPT programs for the fall 2015 class had an average Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.57, as compared to the overall applicant pool, which had an average GPA of 3.37.

Core Preparation Courses

      • Introductory Biology BIOL 1030+1050 & BIOL 1040+1060 or BIOL 1100 & BIOL 1110
      • Anatomy and Physiology BIOL 2220 & 2230 or BIOL 3150 & 3160
      • Introductory Chemistry CH 1010 & CH 1020
      • Physics PHYS 1220+1240 & PHYS 2210+2230 or PHYS 2070+2090 & PHYS 2080+2100
      • Statistics STAT 2300
      • Psychology PSYC 2010
      • Upper Level Psychology PSYC 3000/4000 level (e.g. PSYC 3400 or 3830)

Additional Recommended Coursework

      • Exercise Physiology BIOL 4780
      • Medical Terminology See adviser

Note: Requirements vary by institution and should be verified individually.