To gain admission to an accredited physical therapy program you must complete an undergraduate degree that includes all pre-requisite courses. You must be aware that admission to a physical therapy program is very competitive, so a high grade point average both overall and on all pre-requisite courses, and a strong GRE score are critical. These items typically are used by physical therapy programs to screen the large number of applicants they receive, reducing the applicant pool to a more manageable size.
Additional admissions factors: You will need solid letters of recommendation from academic sources including one or two professors and two professionals in the field. If you are considered to be a serious candidate for admission, you will be interviewed by professionals from the school. In that interview you will have the opportunity to discuss your knowledge of the field of physical therapy, your desire to be a physical therapist, and your commitment as reflected in your hours of service in a professional setting and work-related experience. Some programs may require a minimum of 600 hours.
Here are some steps you may wish to follow that will help prepare you for the application process.
- Begin preparations by identifying physical therapy programs that interest you. This may be driven by geographical concerns or unique professional aspirations.
- Determine specific pre-requisite courses for each program and make sure you qualify.
- Investigate opportunities to volunteer and shadow professionals whenever possible (in the summers, over holidays, etc.), beginning as soon as possible as an undergraduate.
- Prepare adequately for the GRE.
- Work on a personal statement if required. Have others proofread your statement and give you critical feedback as you work through successive drafts. Content and writing style are important.
- Rehearse before going for an interview and learn how to conduct yourself appropriately. Research the school, its programs, faculty, ongoing research projects, etc., know them well and prepare meaningful questions you intend to ask and why you intend to ask them.