Physical therapy is a health care profession concerned with the rehabilitation of individuals who have limitations resulting from pathological, surgical, or traumatic conditions. The profession is also concerned with health, wellness and prevention of disability in an effort to promote maximal use of an individual’s capacities and reduce their risk of illness. Physical therapists are trained to evaluate neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and skin disorders. Exercise and physical agents, such as heat, cold, light, electricity, and massage are used to promote healing, relieve pain, maintain or restore strength, and improve joint range of motion and functional capabilities.
Physical therapy is practiced in diverse settings, including hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, sports medicine programs, public schools, and private practices. Legislation in Montana permits direct public access to physical therapists for evaluation and treatment without a physician referral. Even so, physical therapists remain committed to functioning as an integral member of the health care team.
Physical therapy programs have evolved to be professional programs earning a Doctorate Degree. Students wishing to apply to the professional physical therapy program at The University of Montana – Missoula may select any major for their undergraduate degree as long as they have the noted prerequisites successfully completed. All prerequisite courses must be taken for a traditional letter grade and must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. For specific lower division requirements that will be needed at other professional physical therapy programs consult the website of a school that may be of interest to you.