Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

Physical Therapists typically do the following:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.
  • Restore, maintain, and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.
  • Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.

Differences between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapists help individuals achieve independence and improve one's ability to perform daily activities and self-care. For example, Occupational Therapists may help a patient learn to dress themselves, brush their teeth or comb their hair after a stroke or illness that has severely weakened their arms. Physical Therapists focus on the large motor skills that contribute to walking, reaching, standing and physical activities. They work on strength, balance, range of motion and swelling as well as pain to encourage independence. Physical Therapists typically work with patients that have or had an injury or impairment and work to try to restore the injury or impairment back to normal functioning, or as normal as possible so that they may continue to function within daily living.

Explore more about Physical Therapists through the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Explore more about Occupational Therapists through the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Education for Pre-Physical Therapist/Occupational Therapist

Although not a requirement, if you are interested in graduating with a completed Associates degree from PPCC, you will want to pursue the Associate of Arts rather than the Associate of Science because the AA accommodates multiple social science courses required for the Doctorate of Physical Therapy.

  • Science prerequisites for application to the graduate programs must be completed within 5-7 years of application.
  • Students are encouraged to contact the individual programs to verify admission eligibility.
  • Application to each program is unique to each institution.

Once you complete an AA degree at PPCC, you will need to transfer to a four-year college or university in a Pre-Allied Health or Pre-Physical Therapy program. Then you will need to apply to Physical Therapy schools to earn a Doctorate degree.

There is one institution that offers Occupational Therapy advanced degrees in Colorado. Review these degree requirements for Colorado State University-Fort Collins.

Two institutions in Colorado offer the Doctorate in Physical Therapy: University of Colorado – Denverand Regis University.

See the Medical School Resources page for more information on how to get into Medical School.

Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy Assistant

PT and OT Assistants are also a vital part of the physical therapy/occupational therapy arena. With a shorter educational path you can work side-by-side with Physical/Occupational Therapists making a difference in people's lives.

Explore more about Physical Therapy Assistants through the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Explore more about Occupational Therapy Assistants through the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Education for PTA and OTA Programs

PPCC does not offer these programs, therefore you would have to transfer to another institution to complete a PTA or OTA degree. PTA and OTA educational programs in Colorado can include the following courses:

  • BIO 111 General College Biology I with Lab (prerequisite for PPCC's BIO 201)
  • BIO 201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I *
  • BIO 202 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • HPR 178 Medical Terminology
  • MAT 107 Career Math
  • COM 115 Public Speaking
  • PHY 105 Conceptual Physics
  • COM 125 Interpersonal Communication
  • ENG 121 English Composition I
  • PSY 101 General Psychology I
  • PSY 235 Human Growth and Development

* Some programs will accept BIO 106 Basic Anatomy & Physiology, but confirm this with your program of choice before you take this course.

Confirm which courses you should take at PPCC by contacting the colleges listed below and by working with a A&T Health Sciences Program Advisor.

Colorado Community College PTA and OTA Programs

Watch the American Physical Therapy Association videos to learn more about these careers.