Physical therapists work in many health care settings, such as neonatal intensive care units, schools, sports medicine clinics, rehabilitation centers, industrial clinics, and private offices. This profession requires skills from the biological, physical, and behavioral sciences. One of the fastest growing professions since WWII, recent trends include direct access (without physician's referral) and certification in such specialty areas as cardiopulmonary physical therapy, neurologic physical therapy, orthopedics, pediatrics, and sports physical therapy.
Because of this breadth of application, Pre-Physical Therapy is more interdisciplinary than many concentrations, involving courses from mathematics, physics, psychology, and physical education departments as well as those in the life sciences. Students interested in Pre-Physical Therapy usually major in Biology (following the Health track) then complete additional courses required for entrance into the professional school of their choice, but it is possible to major in other areas, such as Psychology. Suggested additional courses are based on requirements stated by several schools with MS or PhD programs in Physical Therapy.
Courses suggested in addition to the Biology major's requirements are General Psych, Developmental Psych, Abnormal Psych, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Care & Management of Sports Injuries, Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, and Sociology. Medical Terminology is also recommended, as students will probably be required to pass a proficiency exam in this subject early in the first semester of their graduate program.
Local institutions which have participated in Career Experience internships include Jacksonville Physical Therapy Clinics, Passavant Hospital, Memorial Medical Center, St. John's Hospital, and Decatur Sports Care Clinic. Students frequently make arrangements to do their internship at a physical therapy facility near their homes during the summer or January Term. Additionally, many Pre-Physical Therapy students have gained experience working as assistant athletic trainers here at MacMurray.