Major Monday — Physical Therapy

portrait of cute young female student isolated on white backgrouAre you interested in a major in the medical field? Do you want to help people recover from injury or surgery? Are you fascinated by the human body? If you answered yes to any of these questions, physical therapy could be the perfect major for you! Physical therapy students study the skills necessary to prevent/treat conditions that influence the body’s ability to move or function.

Education
According to the College Board, physical therapy most often leads to a graduate degree. If you are interested in this program, it is a good idea to take classes like AP Physics, AP Chemistry and AP Biology in high school. Typical college courses for the major include principles of human movement, professional standards and ethics and statistical methods.

What to know before you apply
Before deciding on any given program, you should know whether you will become a master of physical therapy (MPT) or a doctor of physical therapy (DPT), since this could affect your job search. You should also be aware of what types of equipment and labs will be available to you, since you will be spending a lot of your time with them. Finally, if you are interested in specializing your degree (like becoming a pediatric physical therapist), you should research whether your school offers that type of study.

Salary
Physical therapy programs can prepare you for careers like massage therapists, physical therapists and athletic trainers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that massage therapists earned a yearly average salary of $39,920 in 2011, while physical therapists earned $79,830. Athletic trainers earned an average yearly salary of $44,640 in 2011.

For more information about choosing a career check out NextStepU.com/Careers.

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