Pre-physical therapy major


Bluffton to offer new pre-physical therapy major

To prepare students for careers in the growing health care industry, Bluffton University is now offering a pre-physical therapy major. The major, housed in the natural and applied sciences division, will feature rigorous coursework to prepare students for post-graduate education. Physical therapists must earn a doctoral degree and pass a licensure exam in order to practice.

“While admissions requirements to physical therapy postgraduate programs differ, Bluffton’s pre-physical therapy major, with 56 credit hours in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, social sciences, and health fitness and sports science, will be a great start,” said Dr. Angela Montel, professor of biology.

Bluffton’s Center for Career and Vocation will also work closely with pre-physical therapy majors to ensure they obtain the 40-60 hours of volunteer work and observation experience with a licensed physical therapist, a requirement of many doctoral programs.  

“Pre-physical therapy is one of the top areas of inquiry for which we did not offer a major,” said Erin Ostling Burkholder, director of admissions. “The growing interest from students along with the growing need in society, made this a priority major to develop so that students can pursue their passions while benefiting the common good.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of physical therapists to increase 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

As outlined by the American Physical Therapy Association, physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform everyday activities. Physical therapists examine patients and develop a treatment plan to promote movement, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability.

While some students have already completed similar coursework under a self-designed major with the intentions of pursuing a career in physical therapy, the new major will be officially offered beginning in the 2017-18 academic year.

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