Pre-Health Physical Therapy Advising
Making a difference in patient mobility
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (ATPA), a physical therapist takes a hands-on approach that results in a “plan of care that promotes the ability to move, reduces pain, restores function, and prevents disability.”
Therapeutic exercise and functional training serve as the foundation of physical therapy. Patients are helped through massage or the manipulation of joints to increase or prevent the loss of further range and motion.
Students should complete the Physical Therapy Checklist (below) to ensure that they have met all requirements. Students should refer to Alfred University's Pre-Health Timeline and the Checklist to assist them in career planning.
Accreditation is a must, and most, if not all, physical therapists are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
You are not required to select a particular major in order to be eligible for admission to a PT program. The most common undergraduate majors among PT students include exercise science, biology, kinesiology, and psychology. In selecting a college major, consider how you will satisfactorily complete the prerequisite courses for your designated physical therapist programs in addition to the college/university's degree and major requirements.
The minimum course requirements for most U.S. physical therapy schools are listed below with their AU equivalent courses. Please check American Physical Therapy Association or specific PT schools for any additional specific courses requirements.
|Social Sciences 1-2 additional course(s)|
|Physics I||PHYS 111 or 125|
|Physics II||PHYS 112 or 126|
|General Chemistry I||CHEM 105|
|General Chemistry II||CHEM 106|
|Biological Foundations (requirement for Biology sequence)||BIOL 150|
|Cell Biology||BIOL 211|
|Structure and Function||BIOL 213|
|Anatomy & Physiology I||BIOL 307|
|Anatomy & Physiology II||BIOL 308|
Additional Required or Relevant Coursework
For additional requirements, consult the website of specific schools and programs; suggested classes include additional math, exercise physiology (ATHT393), medical terminology, communication. Also consult American Physical Therapy Association for more information.
PT programs require applicants to perform observation hours, usually verified by a licensed physical therapist. Hours may be earned in different settings such as acute care hospital, rehabilitation, nursing home, school, industrial and home health. Most programs require at least 60 observation hours in at least two different settings.
Entrance Exam (Graduate Record Examination GRE)
The GRE is required by most physical therapy schools. The test should be taken at least 6 weeks before the application deadline.
Apply Early! The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) is a service of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and allows applicants to use a single application and one set of materials to apply to multiple DPT programs. Many PT programs have multiple deadline dates (i.e., preferred, priority, or early decision) or operate on a rolling admissions process. The deadline indicates when your materials must arrive at PTCAS (and not at the program) and can take 4-5 weeks for processing. You should e-submit your application as soon as it's complete and NOT wait for PTCAS to receive all of your transcripts or references. Most school applications are due in the Fall of the senior year.
The early decision program is a binding option for applicants who have decided that a particular PT program is their first choice and they will enroll if accepted. Each PTCAS program has selected a firm or soft deadline. Programs may move from a soft to a firm deadline at any point during the cycle.