Physical Therapy

Department of Physical Therapy

Graduate Program

About Physical Therapy

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 (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 percent 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 $51,000 depending on position, years of experience, degree of education, geographic location, and practice setting.

Physical therapists are respected members of the health care ream. They work with other health care providers, such as physicians, occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, dentists, psychologists, social workers, podiatrists, speech pathologists, and audiologists. Physical therapists have the rewarding opportunity to make a positive difference in the quality of people's lives.

For people with health problems resulting from injury or disease, physical therapists assist 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 nor end for patients as soon as they are independent of the physical therapist's direct care, physical therapists teach parents and their families what to do so that healing continues through self-care at home.

Physical therapists 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 120,000 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) at

Academic Program

The Physical Therapy Program at Missouri State University is a doctorate 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.

Prerequisite qualifications to join our program include:

  • A bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree (any major)
  • Completing appropriate prerequisite coursework
  • Completing observational/work experience in an appropriate health related profession.

Preparation for entrance into a physical therapist education program includes courses in psychology, biology, physics, chemistry statistics, English, professional writing, and humanities. The pre-physical therapy high school and/or college curriculum should include a strong background in science, liberal arts and general education.

We realize that each student comes to our program with unique strengths and needs. Please contact Dr. Scott Wallentine at 417-830-4514 or at for specific information related to your particular concerns. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you!

The Physical Therapy Program at Missouri State is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education