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Is Physical Therapy School For Me?

  • In order to practice as a physical therapist, students must complete a Doctorate (Doctor of Physical Therapy, DPT).
  • Typically DPT programs can be completed in 3 years.
  • It is important for students to research physical therapy programs as only graduates from CAPTE-accredited programs are eligible to take the licensure exam, which is required in order to practice.
  • The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has a list of CAPTE accredited programs on its website for reference.

In order to be a competitive applicant for DPT programs:

  • Students must complete specific prerequisite undergraduate coursework, in addition to maintaining a minimum GPA.
  • Have verified experience in the field through volunteer or paid opportunities working with practicing physical therapists. Physical therapy programs that require field experience are usually specific regarding the length of time and types of experiences they require.
  • In order to be considered competitive most applicants complete a form verifying the minimum number of hours of relevant healthcare experience they’ve obtained and have it signed by the physical therapist.
  • It is best to know the kinds of previous healthcare experience a program requires before you apply.

Tips for a Career in Physical Therapy

  • Major in the field which interests you the most.
  • Explore the physical therapy field; field experience is a requirement for many physical therapy programs.
  • Pursue extra-curricular activities which interest you. Leadership and communication skills are important.
  • Keep your grades as high as possible. An upward trend in grade performance will be noted.
  • Be sure to talk to as many people as possible about the physical therapy profession (PTs, PT students, and PT school representatives).
  • Research programs in which you may be interested to determine their specific course and experience requirements.