The Pre-Physical Therapy program at BSC provides the first two years of core classes for students planning a career as a physical therapist. Physical therapists use techniques to help injured or sick people improve or restore their movement and manage their pain, often reducing the need for surgery or long-term prescription medication. As licensed health care professionals, they are an important part of rehabilitation for patients with chronic conditions or injuries. Becoming a physical therapist requires graduation from a physical therapist education program with a master’s or doctoral degree. Appropriate undergraduate college majors include kinesiology, exercise science, biology, anatomy and physiology, health science or other physical science.
Students interested in this field should take high school classes in mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry and other sciences. Traits needed for success include good dexterity, physical stamina, good interpersonal skills, and compassion to deal with people in pain. Strong analytical and observational skills are a must.
Students completing the suggested degree plan requirements receive an Associate in Science degree. All states require physical therapists to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all include passing the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
Bismarck State College has many cooperative, articulation, or transfer agreements with postsecondary institutions both inside and outside of the North Dakota University System. Some of these agreements are established to allow students to remain on campus as they complete their bachelor’s degree. In all cases, students seeking to transfer after completing a degree at BSC should consult the academic catalog of their destination college and work with their academic advisor to plan for this transition.
Physical therapists typically work in private offices and clinics, hospitals and nursing homes. Home health care agencies and residential care facilities employ many others. Some are self-employed. Those without a master’s degree may find work as a physical therapist assistant or physical therapist aide.