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Undergraduate Physical Therapy Degree Programs

Undergraduate programs in physical therapy prepare students to enter the job market, assisting physical therapists. These programs may also prepare students to enter post-baccalaureate programs in physical therapy.

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Physical Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Science

A 2-year physical therapy assistant Associate of Applied Science program is designed to prepare students to enter the job market as a physical therapy assistant, working with licensed physical therapists to provide patient care. Students learn techniques - such as hydrotherapy, traction and massage - to help alleviate the physical pain that patients experience. In addition to applying these physical therapy techniques, students gain hands-on experience in learning to help patients increase their mobility by using canes, wheelchairs, crutches and other aids.

Education Prerequisites

Some schools may require students to complete general education and foundation courses before being fully admitted into a program. Once admitted into a program, students will complete the professional courses required for the degree.

Course Topics

Many of the classes in an undergraduate physical therapy program have a laboratory component, which provides students with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field of physical therapy assisting. Programs may also include an internship or clinical rotation. The professional or core courses will cover topics including:

  • Patient care
  • Musculoskeletal therapy
  • Massage
  • Neuromuscular therapy
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathology
  • Rehabilitation techniques

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were around 67,400 physical therapy assistant jobs in 2010 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected a 46% job growth in the field from 2010-2020. As of May 2010, the BLS reported that physical therapy assistants took home a median annual wage of $49,690.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of an Associate of Applied Science program in physical therapy are ready to enter the job market upon graduation, with no further education required. Most states - according to the BLS - require some type of registration for physical therapy assistants.


Bachelor of Science in Pre-Physical Therapy

A Bachelor of Science in Pre-Physical Therapy program is designed to prepare students to continue their education into a physical therapy graduate program. These pre-professional programs provide coursework and training related to advanced theories and concepts in physical therapy. Upon completing a program, students will be expected to understand disease prevention, health promotion, professional communication methods and statistical analysis. Students will have learned how to work as part of a healthcare team and provide basic patient care.

Course Topics

Most courses in a bachelor's program in physical therapy are focused on scientific topics. Laboratory courses that provide hands-on experience help students to learn about topics like the human body and how it moves. Topics covered in a program include:

  • Psychology
  • Chemistry
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Nutrition
  • Research methods
  • Athletic injury care
  • Exercise physiology

Popular Career Options

The Bachelor of Science in Pre-Physical Therapy is not designed to prepare students to enter into a career as a physical therapist upon graduation. Instead, it is designed to prepare students for entry into a graduate program in physical therapy. However, students may wish to begin working in the field while continuing their education. Possible job options include:

  • Physical therapy assistant
  • Physical therapy aide
  • Nurse aide

Continuing Education Information

Most students who earn a bachelor's degree in pre-physical therapy enroll in a physical therapy graduate program in order to become a physical therapist. According to the BLS, physical therapists are required to hold a graduate degree and meet state regulations, such as testing.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Science - Healthcare Management With a Dental Hygiene Emphasis

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Tennessee include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
        • Physical Therapy
  • School locations:
    • Connecticut (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Connecticut include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
        • Physical Therapy
  • School locations:
    • Utah (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Utah include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
        • Occupational Therapy
        • Physical Therapy
  • School locations:
    • Ohio (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Dayton include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Nutrition Services
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
        • Music Therapist
        • Physical Therapy
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Kentucky include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
        • Physical Therapy
        • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Howard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
        • Occupational Therapy
        • Physical Therapy

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics