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Pre-Physical Therapy Concentration

A growing demand for physical therapists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for physical therapists is expected to grow 28 percent by the year 2026. An aging population plus medical and technological developments are the driving factors for this job growth.

Today’s older adults are staying active much longer than previous generations, and they depend on physical therapists to help them maintain their mobility. In addition, physical therapists help with rehabilitation after heart attacks, strokes and mobility-related injuries, plus they can help individuals manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.  Medical advances have extended the lives of trauma victims and newborn infants born with birth defects, which means physical therapists are needed to create individualized treatment plans for these patients. These plans are tailored to the severity of the injury, and can improve balance and coordination, strengthen muscle and joint flexibility, teach how to use a walker or wheelchair, and much more.

The B.S. in Exercise Science at William Woods University includes the option of pursuing a pre-physical therapy concentration, which enables you to meet the prerequisites required for admittance into a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. This program is designed for students who want exposure to physical therapy patients as an undergraduate. Students can also pursue a DPT after earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology.

Special opportunities

  • Gain hands-on experience through two required internships in patient care settings
  • Learn from working professionals by completing 100 observational hours with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (a requirement for application to DPT programs)
  • Develop collaboration skills via interprofessional education with students from other healthcare majors including sports medicine, athletic training, nursing, and more
  • Master anatomy by using 3-D anatomical models in the classroom

Our Pre-Physical Therapy degree at work

  • Follow a prescribed four-year plan that gives you the required academic courses plus experience in the field needed to enter a DPT program
  • Earn a DPT degree and provide: in-patient rehabilitation in hospitals working with patients who have traumatic injuries or neurological conditions; outpatient clinics treating patients with orthopedic and/or neurological conditions; emergency departments screening patients with acute musculoskeletal injuries or working with professional athletes and performing artists
  • You can also enter a post-graduate residency program to earn a clinical specialization in: cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation, geriatrics, neurology, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, sports, and women’ health
  • The median annual wage for physical therapists in 2017 was $86,850
  • If you choose not to earn an advanced degree, this degree gives you the necessary skills to work directly with individuals in gyms and other settings

Do you know the difference between physical therapists and certified athletic trainers?

There are similarities between the two professions, especially in regards to orthopedics, but there are major differences.

Athletic trainers:

  • Work with primarily active individuals
  • Focus on managing acute and emergency injuries

Physical Therapists:

  • Take coursework covering pediatrics through geriatrics
  • Study degenerative and neurological conditions


The pre-physical therapy concentration within the BS in Exercise Science at William Woods University consists of a 37-hour exercise science core curriculum with a 61-hour pre-physical therapy focus.


Admissions Information

Learn more about undergraduate admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.

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