What is a Physical Therapist?

A physical therapist, also referred to as PT, is a health care professional that uses evidence-based therapeutic interventions to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate people with physical disabilities or injuries This includes conditions arising from injury or surgery, chronic or acute pain, soft tissue injuries, cartilage damage, arthritis, gait disorders and physical impairments typically of musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neurological and endocrinological origins. Their patients have difficulty with movement, pain, and functioning in their daily lives. Their patients could be recovering from sprains, strains, head or neck injuries, or conditions like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, spinal bifida, or cerebral palsy, just to name some examples. They could also be recovering from strokes, surgery, or amputations. Physical therapists work with them to restore the ability to move, to reduce pain and discomfort, and in some instances to prevent disability and loss of mobility.

Most PTs work in hospitals or in other health care offices, but they can also work in nursing homes, outpatient clinics, or in private practices. They work with patients of all ages. The physical therapist evaluates their patients’ movement dysfunction, and devises a treatment plan to help them. Their work primarily makes use of therapeutic training and exercise, and sometimes uses special equipment. They work with a team of PTs or physical therapist assistants, and often worth with other professionals, like nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physicians, or other specialists that the particular patient may need.

What is the pre-physical therapy program?

Physical Therapists must earn a doctoral degree in physical therapy. Most PT schools require applicants to have a four-year college degree program before beginning their PT training. PT schools require specific pre-requisite courses to be completed with good grades, and successful applicants can demonstrate skills and knowledge developed outside of the classroom.

Our pre-health professional program is structured to ensure that students obtain critical skills to achieve admission to PT school.

  • Academic rigor- Students receive expert guidance from an academic advisor for their major, and from the Pre-health advisor to ensure that courses required for dental school are taken. Our outstanding faculty ensure that the pre-requisite courses you take will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed for success in dental school, and a strong performance on the Graduate Record exam (GRE).
  • Experiential learning- Experience in PT offices or clinics will help to ensure that you are making a good career choice. PT school admissions look for evidence of such experience. Benedictine students are provided with myriad opportunities to shadow physical therapists, volunteer in clinics, or even get course credit for practical experiences.

A strong pre-health professions program, like Benedictine’s, ensures that you meet all of the requirements for admission to PT school. PT school is a competitive environment that requires planning and preparation in a variety of areas. Benedictine University enjoys an unparalleled history of experience guiding students to successful careers in physical therapy.

What should my major be?

Physical therapy schools typically do not require that you study a specific academic major. Many students choose Health Science or Biology because there is significant overlap of major courses and premed prerequisites. However, we recommend that if you have a passion in another area, you can and should major in that area. Graduates who do this find they can incorporate this area of passion into their professional life for a more satisfying career. You can enter Benedictine University with a specific profession in mind, or without immediately declaring a field of specialization and be assured that you can begin course work needed by all medical professional programs. Our expert pre-health profession advisor will help you understand and choose courses that are required for entry into the physical therapy schools of your choice. Academic preparation needed for a many careers in medical and healthcare science professions integrate readily with majors in the College of Science and others.

Why Benedictine?

The Benedictine Benefit

Birck Hall of Science
Benedictine University has a tradition of excellence in science programs. The College of Science at Benedictine offers specialized advising for all students interested in a healthcare profession, regardless of their major. Our nationally-recognized faculty enjoy engaging students at all levels in investigative research in their laboratories, often presenting their work at national, professional conferences. Our students are active in the many student organizations on campus, athletics, and campus ministries, all of which contribute to a broadly fulfilling college experience.

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William R. Law, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Science

Tonia Rucker, Assistant to the Dean
Email: trucker@ben.edu
Phone: (630) 829-6187
Fax: (630) 829-6186

Dean's Office Hours:
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Dean's Office Location:
Birck Hall Room 119