COVID-19 update via APTA

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As a physical therapist, you can make a difference!

A factory worker with an injured back...an elderly individual with arthritis...a recreational or elite athlete...an individual who has had a stroke...a child or adult with a disability...an individual who works all day at a computer workstation...a middle aged adult who is experiencing shoulder pain...an individual recovering from surgery...an elderly person living in a nursing home...

A diverse group of people; yet each can benefit from physical therapy.

Physical therapists are leaders!

When an individual is recovering from injury or disease, the physical therapist evaluates and directs the recovery process to relieve pain, make them stronger, and help them to regain use of an affected limb. Physical therapists then teach patients and their families what to do so that healing continues through self-care at home.

Physical therapists also promote wellness and injury prevention. They teach the importance of personal fitness and explain how to prevent injury at work or at play. As an integral part of a healthcare team, physical therapists have an opportunity to make a positive difference in people's quality of life.

For more information on the PT profession, visit the UWL PT Program Website and the APTA.

Make your intention to pursue a career in Physical Therapy official by adding it as an "intended pre-professional track".


Biology  

  • General Biology (BIO 105) 
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II (BIO 312 & BIO 313) 

Chemistry/Biochemistry  

  • General Chemistry I & II (CHM 103 & CHM 104) 

Math  

  • College Algebra (MTH 150) required for CHM 103 

Physics  

  • Fundamental Physics I & II (PHY 103 & PHY 104) 

Social Sciences 

  • General Psychology (PSY 100) 
  • One other Psychology or Sociology course (Sociology sometimes required) 

Statistics  

  • Elementary Statistics (STAT 145) or Mathematical Models in Biology (MTH 265) 

Additional requirements 

  • If applying to UW-Madison, a course in Exercise Physiology (such as ESS 302), is a requirement 

Pre-PT is NOT a major at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. It is a statement of your intention to apply to PT programs. You will still need to select a major to complete a degree at UWL. 

Declaring a Pre-PT track will help you determine common requirements for PT programs in our region. However, each program's requirements vary. When selecting coursework, it is important to consult the websites of the programs to which you plan to apply.

  • Shadow or observe PTs: programs will expect applicants to have experience observing the profession, and hours should be noted within your application. Try to observe PTs working within a variety of settings (ex. in-patient/out-patient) and with different populations (ex. elderly/athletes). Some programs will note specific requirements, such as number of hours or settings observed. 
  • Gain related care experience: any care-related experience where "touch" is involved is a good idea, paid or unpaid. This will help improve your comfort level working closely with people.
  • Join the club! Visit the Student Physical Therapy Club's page on MyOrgs to learn more about the advantages of being involved and when they meet. 
  • Applications: Most PT programs participate in the centralized application system "PTCAS". This is a single online site where you can submit most or all of your applications. The admission "cycle" usually starts in July, and you'll need to consult each programs' website for application deadlines. The importance of GPA varies from program to program, but a strong GPA is expected. Many programs list their admitted students' data on their website (ex. UWL); when not listed, you can often request the info by simply calling or emailing the program. Here's a detailed look at what PT school applicants look like across the country.  
  • Testing: Most programs will require the GRE exam. For more info about standardized testing, go here
  • Letters of reference: Most programs will require up to 4 people to write letters on your behalf, sometimes with restrictions on who can be a letter writer. See information on each program's requirements here
  • Selecting programs: To learn about the various programs where you might apply, the PT Program Directory is a good place to start. Always then consult the individual programs' websites for the most accurate and up to date info. 
  • Timeline: PTCAS typically opens in July, with varying deadlines over the following ten months. PTCAS clearly lays out deadline information here.
    • Important: As of the 2020 application cycle, PTCAS has removed the option for "early decision applications". Students will apply to all schools of interest any time after PTCAS opens. UWL will continue to look for early applications, considering them as they come in.