Physical therapists participate in the evaluation of the capabilities and disabilities of their patients. They administer treatments to alleviate pain, correct or minimize deformity, and improve the general health of the patient. The physical therapist develops a treatment program which may involve teaching the patient to gain strength or better coordination of movement; or administering forms of heat, cold, ultrasound or massage.
The need for physical therapists is critical, but professional physical therapy programs are highly selective.
A student may be admitted to some professional programs after two years (64 credits) and after three years (96 credits) but most students will attend Northwestern for four years, graduating with a B.A. degree before entering a 2-3 year physical therapy professional program. A student may select any major but the following pre-professional courses must be completed.