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PTCAS or Individual School Application Systems

Each physical therapy school has specific application/deadline submission dates which are noted on individual websites. PTCAS is the centralized application service that many physical therapy schools use, however not all physical therapy programs participate in PTCAS. Current lists of participating physical therapy schools are on the PTCAS website. It is important for you to know the deadline dates for the schools/programs that you plan to apply for as well as any requirements needed.

Many physical therapy programs have physical therapy observation requirements as part of their application process. Gaining experience by shadowing physical therapists through working, internships, and volunteering will be key to one’s acceptance at a competitive program. Additionally knowledge of a foreign language and multicultural competence is expected for many physical therapy schools.

Standardized Tests

Letters of Recommendation (LOR) 

  • LOR’s are sometimes called Letters of Evaluation, Letters of Reference, or Letters of Reference) are critical.
  • Letter requirements vary from school to school but generally, two to three letters of recommendation are required.
  • Students can find specific LOR requirements on the PTCAS References webpage.
  • Most schools require letters from professional references who are acquainted with the applicant’s academic, work and volunteer experience.
  • In general it is also wise to obtain a letter from a physical therapist who can speak to your interests and knowledge of the healthcare field.
  • Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are submitting the correct letters for each school you apply.
  • Electronic letters are strongly preferred by individual physical therapy programs as well as PTCAS. Follow the instructions on individual application websites regarding what you need to do as well as how your writers can upload your letters.


  • A written personal essay is required in the admission process.  In your essay, plan on addressing why you selected physical therapy as your career.
  • The statement is an important aspect of the application and should receive careful attention.
  • Also refer to individual school application sites that don’t participate in PTCAS for complete details regarding their statement requirements.


  • Not all physical therapy schools interview candidates.
  • Interviews will vary from school to school..
  • When you are offered an interview, it is important that you research the type of interview each school conducts so that you can best prepare yourself
  • Sign up for a mock interview appointment.