Physical Therapy as a Career
Most PT schools require an undergraduate degree prior to matriculation, and then students typically complete a 3-year DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) program. For more information, see Explore Health Careers.org: Physical Therapist and American Physical Therapy Association: Physical Therapist (PT) Careers
University Course Work
- Meet with your pre-PT adviser each semester and add your name to the “pre-PT email distribution list.”
- Choose a college major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about physical therapy. Common majors include Exercise Science and Biology.
- Carefully check admission requirements at PT schools of most interest and take the required coursework. In general, most PT schools require at a minimum:
For more detail, see PTCAS Prerequisites Summary (pdf) and specific PT program admission requirements
- A year of general chemistry (Chem 111 and 112) with labs
- A year of general physics (Phys 111 and 112) with labs
- Anatomy (Biology 120)
- Physiology (Biology 121)
- One or more courses in biology
- One or more courses in behavioral or social science
- Maintain a competitive GPA. From the PTCAS 2010-11 Applicant Data Report (pdf), accepted PT applicants had a mean cumulative undergrad GPA of 3.49 and a mean science/math GPA of 3.34.
School (Your Time at University)
- Get significant shadowing and clinical experience and maintain a formal log (Professional Development Activities Log (Word)). Find out firsthand what the profession is like, decide if it is right for you, explore different areas of the field and in different settings (in-patient and out-patient), and be sure to meet clinical experience requirements of your preferred schools.
- Develop strong relationships with faculty mentors, PT professionals, and others who will be writing letters of reference
- Join the Pre-PT club and get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities
Applying to Physical Therapy School