Become an expert in movement and use your knowledge to improve lives with a career in physical therapy. The pre-physical therapy program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire offers a rigorous curriculum and experiential learning opportunities that will help you start your journey to becoming a licensed physical therapist.
Physical therapy (PT) is an allied health profession that focuses on the prevention and rehabilitation of various musculoskeletal injuries or problems. Working with individuals of all ages, physical therapists make diagnoses, develop treatment plans and help people lead healthier lives.
Pre-physical therapy is not a major at UW-Eau Claire, but rather a declaration of your intention to continue your education and enroll in a physical therapy graduate program. No specific undergraduate major is required for a career in physical therapy, but most UWEC students choose to major in rehabilitation science or biology.
Entry into a graduate-level PT program is typically based on a student’s academic record, a competitive Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score, observational or work experience in physical therapy and a completed application with the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Our exceptional faculty and advisors are aware of these requirements and will ensure that you gain the knowledge and experiences necessary for acceptance into graduate school.
Access to renowned facilities
Eau Claire has several major medical facilities in the region that provide state-of-the-art health care for patients as well as volunteer, clinical observation and internship opportunities for pre-physical therapy students. UWEC specifically has strong ties to Mayo Clinic Health System through a research collaboration, as well as Marshfield Clinic and Sacred Heart Hospital.
Relevant student organizations. On-campus student organizations — like the Pre-Professional Health Club — will connect you with other students interested in becoming physical therapists. These extracurriculars are an excellent way to volunteer, job shadow and learn about potential graduate schools and employers.
Innovative facilities. UW-Eau Claire is one of only a few schools of its size with a career center dedicated to supporting pre-physical therapy students. The William J. and Marian A. Klish Health Careers Center offers one-on-one advising, opportunities to meet with professional school admissions representatives, connections to health-related clinical research and volunteer opportunities, and workshops designed to build effective tools for career development and competitive applications.
Exceptional preparation. While pursuing your major at UWEC, you'll have access to several pre-physical therapy advisors as well as peer advisors. This team can help you with things like planning out your semesters, finding your major, preparing for the Graduate Record Exam (which is required for admission to some chiropractic programs) and securing field experience.
A supportive cohort. While pursuing your undergraduate degree at UWEC, you'll learn alongside a team of students who, like you, are interested in helping others feel, move and live better. Pre-physical therapy students work closely with faculty and staff members in the kinesiology department and can participate in a variety of experiential learning opportunities, including volunteer work, student-faculty research and internships.
Pre-physical therapy program details
- Offered: in person
- Campus: Eau Claire
- Students are able to choose a major and/or minor that best aligns with their career goals.
UWEC student organizations related to pre-physical therapy
- Pre-Professional Health Club
- Kinesiology Club
After earning your undergraduate degree from UWEC, your next step toward becoming a physical therapist is earning your doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree and passing a state licensure exam. Depending on your personal and professional goals, you may then choose to pursue a residency or fellowship program, or specialize in a particular area of practice.
What can I do with a DPT?
Physical therapists are an integral part of any comprehensive health care team and frequently work with other health care providers, such as physicians, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, nurses, dentists, psychologists, social workers, podiatrists, and speech pathologists and audiologists. The ultimate goal of physical therapists is to facilitate the return of patients to pre-injury levels of functioning as well as prevent future problems.
Although a large number of physical therapists work in hospitals, a majority can be found in private physical therapy offices, rehabilitation centers, community health centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, corporate or industrial health centers, sports facilities, research institutions, schools, pediatric centers and universities.
As a pre-physical therapy student, your curriculum can be customized to fit the admissions requirements of your chosen graduate program. Because the specific requirements of professional schools vary considerably, students should obtain current academic catalogs from the schools in which they are interested so that their undergraduate experience can be planned accordingly. Pre-physical therapy advisors are available to you during your time at UWEC to help you plan out your semesters.
No matter your major, you will be prepared to take the Graduate Record Exam, which is required for admission to most graduate-level physical therapy programs. The exam consists of three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. It is often taken in the spring semester or summer following the junior year.
What classes do pre-physical therapy students take?
Students interested in a career in physical therapy may focus on these topics during their undergraduate career:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Biomechanical kinesiology
- Medical terminology
- Human development
- Exercise physiology
Learn more about pre-physical therapy in the UWEC course catalog.
Programs that would best support a career in physical therapy include: