In the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, Physical Therapy is defined as:
Physical therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical base and widespread clinical applications in the preservation, development, and restoration of optimal physical function.
Physical therapy is an allied health profession that promotes optimal health and function. Physical Therapists work with people of all ages in order to promote overall health and function of the individual. Physical Therapists work in a variety of clinical settings, such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and others. Licensure as a physical therapist requires graduation from an accredited physical therapy program and a passing score on the licensure examination.
Acceptance into Physical Therapy programs is competitive, and requires excellent performance in a suggested undergraduate curriculum.
A minimum G.P.A. of 3.0, with a G.P.A. of 3.5-3.7 being a typical average for an accepted class. In addition, a student should perform in the area of 1700-1800 combined score on the GRE.
A typical Physical Therapy program is a Masters program involving a number of academic courses in the first year (anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, etc.). The goal of such coursework is to prepare a student for the more applied clinical aspect of the curriculum. A student is then required to complete a series of courses in clinical education, where the student works closely with a clinical supervisor. Each program is affiliated with numerous facilities in order to offer experience in the many applications of physical therapy. These facilities include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sports medicine centers, geriatric and pediatric centers, and home health agencies.
The pre-requisites for each physical therapy school will vary, so it is best to check with the specific school you are interested in to determine the exact undergraduate courses required for admission.