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School of Education & Health Sciences

Physical Therapy (Pre)

Why choose pre-physical therapy at North Central College?

Physical therapists—or PTs—diagnose and treat people with illnesses or diseases that limit their ability to move and function. Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems such as back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke recovery, multiple sclerosis, conditions such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and injuries related to work and sports.

By studying at North Central College, you can experience opportunities that will prepare you for admission to a physical therapy doctoral program that can lead to a career as a physical therapist. You’ll study biology, psychology, physics, mathematics and other areas and be pushed to develop excellent writing and communication skills that physical therapists must possess to work with patients.

You can also:

  • Gain valuable experience conducting research with faculty, independently or with other students.
  • Personally get to know professors who teach North Central’s small classes.
  • Pursue job shadowing and volunteer opportunities at numerous facilities near North Central’s campus, including Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton.
  • Work with North Central's dedicated pre-health advisor.
  • Network with alumni and peers through North Central’s student-run Pre-Health Organization.

Pre-Physical Therapy Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Graduate Schools

Graduates have been accepted at:

  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Midwestern University
  • Governors State University
  • Marquette University
  • University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
  • University of Indianapolis
  • The College of Health Professions at Rosalind Franklin University
  • A.T. Still University
  • Governors State University


Graduates include:

  • Orthopedic rehabilitation specialist, Advanced Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, Appleton/Green Bay, WI
  • Pediatric physical therapist, Achievement Therapy Services, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Physical therapist, Functional Therapy & Rehabilitation, Homer Glen/Joliet, IL
  • Co-owner, Women’s Physical Therapy Institute, Lake Zurich, IL
  • Rheumatology specialist, Bone and Joint Physicians Orthopedics Group, Oak Lawn, IL

What major should I choose at North Central College?
A degree in Exercise Science, Biology, Athletic Training, Neuroscience or Health Science is recommended unless you have a strong interest in another major. Regardless of your major, physical therapy programs require a set of prerequisite courses (see list below).

Will I need graduate education?
Yes, after earning your bachelor’s degree at North Central becoming a physical therapist requires an additional three years of graduate study in a program leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The average GPA for students accepted to physical therapy programs is about 3.5 or higher.

What prerequisite courses do physical therapy programs require?
Minimum course requirements for admission to DPT programs are:

  • General Biology with lab 
  • General Chemistry with lab 
  • General Physics with lab
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology or Anthropology
  • Statistics

Many DPT programs also require or recommend:

  • Calculus
  • Ethics
  • Medical Terminology

What else should I consider?
Since physical therapists work intensely with people, they must possess good communication skills, a commitment to serving others, and an interest in client-centered therapy.  First-hand knowledge of physical therapy by working, observing or volunteering in settings with physical therapists is required by most DPT programs in order to be eligible for admission.   

While a student at North Central, you will participate in activities that will help you develop into a competitive applicant for DPT programs. These include: observing physical therapists in a variety of settings; leadership activities like serving as a peer health educator, being an officer in a student organization, or tutoring; and, a commitment to others demonstrated through volunteer service or paid employment in a PT setting.  The Pre-Professional Health Program Coordinator will guide you in these activities, connect you with alum that have pursued this path, and advise you throughout the application process to physical therapy programs.

Invest in your future

Choosing the right college is a big decision. Don’t make it alone. North Central’s admission and financial aid team is here to help you design a financial aid solution that works best for you and your family.

Merit scholarships, grants, loans, campus employment - these are just some of the resources available to you. Over 95 percent of students and 100 percent of all eligible students receive aid. Let our team partner with you in finding the best value for your education.

Learn more about financial aid and costs for North Central College

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