Pre-Physical Therapy

Physical therapists are in demand in a wide variety of settings today—from medical centers and retirement communities to commercial health clubs and university athletic departments. Pre-health advisors, admission directors and faculty agree that developing a strong foundation in the natural and social sciences as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education is the best preparation for a graduate program in physical therapy (PT).

Central students are successful in securing acceptance into PT programs with the assistance of an on-campus pre-health advisor, an internship coordinator and academic advisors. Central’s pre-professional program prepares you to pursue physical therapy education in graduate school. With the help of your advisor, you will choose a major that best prepares you for further study.

The Central Difference

Individualized Attention

Thanks to Central's small class and laboratory sizes, faculty are able to provide each student with individualized attention and the opportunity to develop skills necessary for graduate school. Our faculty members also provide personalized advising that ensures you meet the coursework requirements for graduate school. And to help you get into graduate school, faculty provide letters of recommendation that make a vital difference in the decision process for acceptance into medical programs.

Central's Health Professions Club also provides mentoring, informs students about opportunities related to healthcare, and coordinates visits to and from various graduate programs. The club's faculty advisor also provides free workshops to address a range of interests, from career exploration to preparing for graduate entrance exams and application.

Central College student

Heartland Global Health Consortium

Central College is a founding member of the Heartland Global Health Consortium whose mission is to establish and expand multidisciplinary educational, research and service opportunities to inspire and equip students to become leaders in global public health. The consortium provides additional opportunities for students to participate in educational, global research and global medical service experiences.

Hands-On Research

Central faculty provide students with many research and professional development opportunities, of which students are encouraged to take full advantage while on campus including undergraduate research and presentations at scientific meetings, internships, shadowing programs, targeted service-learning opportunities related to career goals and much more.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.


Central’s Vermeer Science Center was awarded the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council, the first LEED-rated building in the state. Students have direct access to classrooms and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and presentation technology.

For physical therapy students, Central’s state-of-the-art exercise science building includes a dedicated classroom for the athletic training program that features taping stations instead of desks. The human performance lab features a hydrostatic underwater weighing tank, one of only three in the Midwest.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Physical therapist,  Accelerated Rehabilitation Center, West Des Moines
  • Owner, Total Rehab Orthopedic & Sports Specialist, Grinnell and Williamsburg
  • Physical therapist assistant, Greene County Medical Center, Jefferson
  • Physical therapist, 21st Century Rehab, Grimes
Central College student


  • Tri-Beta (national biological sciences honor society)
  • Health Professions Club
  • CAAT (athletic training club)
  • SCATE (Students Concerned About The Environment)

Graduate Placement

  • Allen College
  • Creighton University
  • Des Moines University
  • Duke University
  • St. Ambrose University
  • University of Iowa
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Iowa State University


  • Athletico Physical Therapy, Chicago, Ill.
  • Pella Regional Health Center, Pella
  • Henry County Health Center, Mount Pleasant
  • Sterling Physical Therapy, Pella
  • Work Systems Rehabilitation and Fitness, Pella
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

Students can choose to major in any discipline that fits their personal and professional life goals. Regardless of their major choice, students are required to successfully complete a series of courses in many different disciplines. Students must complete varying credit hours in biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, psychology and English.

Physical therapy students are also required to complete an experience in the PT clinical setting and pass the Graduate Record Exam.

The Central College Career Center provides the following activities to help pre-health students narrow career options: individual appointments to identify career options in the health field, job shadowing opportunities with local professionals or Central alumni, assistance with finding and applying for internships and summer opportunities, help with graduate school applications and much more.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty


Learn More

Want to find out more about Pre-Physical Therapy at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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