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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 with a desire to remain active is a 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 to treating orthopedic conditions, 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 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, improve muscle and joint flexibility, teach how to use assistive devices, and much more.

The Bachelor of Science 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 gain hands-on experience working with clients as an undergraduate. Students can also pursue a DPT after earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology.

Special opportunities

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

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
  • 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

After Completing A Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

  • 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

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.

Certified Athletic trainers:

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

Doctors of Physical Therapists:

  • Take coursework covering pediatrics through geriatrics
  • Study orthopedic conditions as well as 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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