Missouri State University
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Physical Therapy

Department of Physical Therapy  

For More Information

Dr. Scott Wallentine, Admissions Director

Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-6179 or 417-836-6128
Fax: 417-836-6229
Email: PhysicalTherapy@missouristate.edu

Career Preparation

A construction worker with an injured back...a senior citizen with arthritis...an infant with a birth defect...an Olympic athlete...a person who has had a stroke...a child with a disability...a pregnant woman...an overstressed business executive...a diverse group of people, yet each can benefit in some way from physical therapy. 

Physical therapists, or PTs, are health care professionals who evaluate and treat people with health problems resulting from injury or disease. PTs assess joint motion, muscle strength and endurance, function of heart and lungs, and performance of activities required in daily living, among other responsibilities. Treatment includes therapeutic exercise, cardiovascular endurance training, and training in activities of daily living.

Although many physical therapists practice in acute care or sub-acute care hospitals, more than 70% practice in private physical therapy offices, community health centers, industrial health centers, sports facilities, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, schools or pediatric centers, research institutions, or teach in colleges and universities. The median salary for a physical therapist is $60,000 depending on position, years of experience, degree of education, geographic location and practice setting.

Physical therapists are respected members of the health care team. They work with other health care providers, such as physicians, occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, dentists, psychologists, social workers, podiatrists and speech pathologists and audiologists. Physical therapists have the rewarding opportunity to make a positive difference in the quality of people’s lives. Their work involves extensive contact with people—both patients and
other health care professionals.

Physical therapy takes a personal and direct approach to meeting an individual’s health needs, whether a patient’s goal is walking independently or breaking a high-jump record. Along with the patient and other health care practitioners, the physical therapist shares the hard work and commitment needed to accomplish each individual patient’s goals.

For people with health problems resulting from injury or disease, the physical therapist assists in the recovery process making them stronger, relieving their pain and helping them to regain use of an affected limb or to re-learn such activities of daily living as walking, dressing or bathing. Because recovery does not end for patients as soon as they are independent of the physical therapist’s direct care, physical therapists must teach patients and their families what to do so that healing continues through self-care at home.

Physical therapists also seek to keep people well and safe from injury. They accomplish this by teaching the importance of fitness and showing people how to avoid hurting their bodies at work or play. By designing and supervising individualized conditioning programs, physical therapists promote optimal physical performance and help health-conscious people increase their overall fitness, muscular strength and endurance.

Physical therapists attain their prerequisite skills through extensive academic and clinical education. All professional programs include basic and clinical medical science courses and emphasize the theory and practice of physical therapy. The curriculum includes opportunities to apply and integrate theory through extensive clinical education in a variety of practice settings.

Today, more than 100,000 physical therapists are licensed in the U.S., treating nearly 1 million people every day. The job outlook
for physical therapists is bright. For more specific information about physical therapy, and job opportunities, contact the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Academic Program

The Physical Therapy Program at Missouri State University is a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) level program that is unique in several ways. Our curricular emphasis is on the development of value-driven professional behaviors, problem solving, critical thinking skills and mastery of therapeutic techniques and applications. Our curriculum prepares students for successful practice and leadership roles in an evolving and dynamic health care system.

Admission Requirements

  • Have a bachelor of science or of arts degree in any major
  • Complete appropriate prerequisite coursework

We realize that each student comes to our program with unique strengths and needs. Please contact our Director of Admissions, Dr. Scott Wallentine, at 417-836-4514 or at swallentine@missouristate.edu for specific information related to your particular concerns. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you! The Physical Therapy Program at Missouri State is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).


Our Physical Therapy Program includes 9 full-time faculty and 2 full-time administrative personnel. Seven of our faculty are doctorally prepared and all have extensive research and/or clinical backgrounds. A few of the accomplishments that are credited to members of our faculty include: internationally recognized as leaders in the profession, Geriatric Clinical Specialist, Neurodevelopmental Treatment Approach trained and Wound Specialist Certification.


The Physical Therapy Program is housed in a new, state-of-the-art educational facility. This new building includes office space for the faculty, a conference room, a computer lab, multimedia-capable classrooms and labs, a research laboratory, an atrium and student lounge, a vending area and two large laboratory facilities filled with equipment, models, etc. One of the laboratories is an exercise lab that is used for learning therapeutic procedures including examination, joint mobilization and exercise prescription. The second lab is a modality laboratory where students learn to use equipment and techniques such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation and hydrotherapy.

The Missouri State Physical Therapy Clinic is also housed within the Physical Therapy Building and is part of the College of Health and Human Services Center for Multidisciplinary Health Education, Research and Services.

In addition to our on-campus facilities, the Physical Therapy Program maintains contracts with many clinical facilities so that our students can practice their skills during specially scheduled clinical education internships. These clinical sites are located in Missouri and throughout the continental United States.


Physical Therapy students enjoy the opportunity to work with department faculty on collaborative research projects. Students are encouraged to become members of the American Physical Therapy Association as well as the State and District Chapters of this association in order to take advantage of the many opportunities for professional growth and service afforded by these organizations. Students also have an Association of Student Physical Therapists, open to students enrolled in the Masters program. The Association of Student Physical Therapists sponsors many activities including fund-raisers for charitable organizations.

Prerequisite Course Requirements

The prerequisite requirements for application to the Physical Therapy program at Missouri State are as follows:

  • English 6 hours
  • Mathematics (College Algebra) 3 hours
  • Statistics 3 hours
  • Traditional Physics 8 hours
  • Chemistry 8 hours
  • Psychology 6 hours
  • Biomedical Sciences or General Biology 8 hours
  • Human or Vertebrate Anatomy 4 hours
  • Human or Vertebrate Physiology 4 hours

Note: Please contact the Advisement Center or the Department of Physical Therapy for a more detailed prerequisite list of specific qualifying courses. Prerequisites are subject to change. Please consult the Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog for specific course information. 

The number of students accepted into professional Physical Therapy programs is limited, and there is competition for each available position. Therefore, completion of prerequisites does not guarantee admission into the program.


  • American Physical Therapy Association web site at www.apta.org
  • Missouri State University, Department of Physical Therapy web site at www.missouristate.edu/physicaltherapy