Degrees and Programs
Pre-Professional Advising (907) 474-6396
Physical therapy is a health profession dedicated to the promotion of health, the prevention of disease, and to providing the assessment, evaluation and rehabilitation of the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems after injury or disease. Typically, physical therapists work in rehabilitation units in hospitals, in conjunction with orthopedic practices, in private rehabilitation practices, and in sports medicine clinics. Along with delivering physical rehabilitation, many also serve as administrators, researchers and educators.
Physical therapy education typically consists of a program two years in length. Some programs lead to a bachelor's degree, others offer a certificate, while still others lead to a master's degree. The trend across the nation is towards the latter ad requires completion of a bachelor's degree prior to admission. As with most health care professions, the first half of the training consists of classroom instruction, with the second emphasizing clinical practice. After completion of programs accredited by the American Physical Therapy Program, students are eligible to test for licensure in all 50 states.
Acceptance to physical therapy programs is very competitive and is based upon several factors. Included are overall academic achievement (most requiring a 3.0 gpa minimum), achievement in foundational sciences, and work experience in health-care situations. Graduate programs usually require the Graduate Record Examination and/or the Miller Analogies Test. UAF does not prescribe a specific major for pre-physical therapy students. Rather, students complete a series of courses which are required for admission to most programs: physics (PHYS 103X, 104X), anatomy and physiology (BIOL 211X, 212X), and statistics (STAT 300). Careful planning is necessary as course requirements over and above these differ between schools.
Students considering a career in physical therapy should contact the Academic Advising Center. There, students will be assigned an advisor to assist with program planning, exploration of professional schools and licensing requirements.