Each Physical Therapy School has different requirements for prerequisite courses. A curriculum based on biology, chemistry, physics, and liberal arts is required.
*Please note that each Physical Therapy school requirements vary from school to school. Research schools early for specific information about requirements.
The following courses are generally required for most Physical Therapy schools:
- Two semesters of Physics with labs
- Two semesters of General Chemistry with labs
- Two semesters of General Biology with labs
- Two semesters of Anatomy/Physiology
- Two semesters of Psychology (General and Developmental preferred)
- One semester of Statistics
- One semester of Medical Terminology
- One semester of English/Communications
Physical Therapy (PT) schools generally admit students once a year. Please check with each of the schools you are looking at for their deadlines.
Applications are submitted about 12-13 months before your desired Physical Therapy school enrollment date. However, the timing depends on when you will complete your degree and the necessary coursework (and successfully take the GRE).
Physical Therapy school requirements vary from school to school. Research schools early for specific information about requirements.
Physical Therapy School Application process includes 5 main components:
- The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) - (Most Schools)
- Primary Application
- Letters of Recommendation
- Secondary Applications - (Most Schools)
July - August
-Primary Applications through PTCAS opens in mid to late July. Begin to fill out primary applications as soon as possible.
-Order official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities that you have attended to be sent to PTCAS
September - January
-Complete secondary/supplemental applications as they come in
-Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, in October
-Prepare for and attend interviews. Interviews occur from December - April
Application Materials: Letters of Recommendation/Personal Statement
Letters of Recommendation/Support:
Requirements for letters vary between schools, so research schools early and know what you need. Many schools require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Begin early to establish a network of professors, supervisors (for volunteer or paid work), and Physical Therapy staff who are familiar with your work. It is important to choose recommenders who know you well. Many programs require at least one recommendation letter from a Physical Therapist.
At least one to two letters should be from faculty members who have taught you in a class and are able to make specific observations about your personal and academic achievements and your potential for Physical Therapy school. Get to know your Professors early, start your Freshman year.
The personal statement is about you and your motivation for pursuing a career as a dentist. Remember, why you want to be an optometrist is different from how you were inspired to become one. Describe your current passion for the field with specific examples from recent experiences. Try to choose a theme rather than random thoughts. The primary application activities section provides a list of accomplishments. Your personal essay is an opportunity to provide additional, more in-depth information.
Most Physical Therapy programs require the GRE. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is administered throughout the year. It may be repeated, but the best strategy is to prepare thoroughly and take it once. Taking the exam by spring the year before you wish to enter Physical Therapy school will enable you to apply earlier.
More information on the GRE, https://www.ets.org/gre
Most Physical Therapy schools hold “interview days” where they bring in a group of applicants for a day that may consist of some or all of the following: Interviews, written essays, school tours, and opportunities to meet students and faculty.
Interviews can take many forms, so it is important to research your schools and be prepared for each kind. The Stuckert Career Center can help you with preparation tips and practicing your interviewing skills.
The most common types of interviews are:
- One on one interview—Usually one or two 30-45 minutes interviews
- Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)—7-10 rooms with a different prompt or scenario posted on the door. You are typically given 2 minutes to think about the prompt before entering a room, and 5-8 minutes to respond to the prompt and any follow-up questions or play out the scenario with a trained actor.
- Group interview—May be either one applicant interviewed by several interviewers, or in a group of applicants interviewed by one or more interviewer.
Involvement allows you to supplement a strong academic record. Physical Therapy school admissions committees like to see evidence of initiative, creativity, leadership and collaboration, and organizational skills. However, it is important to remember that such activities will not substitute for poor grades, so don’t sacrifice study time for activities.
Search UK Student Organizations/Programs at BBNVolved https://uky.campuslabs.com/engage/
UK Student Organizations related to Physical Therapy
- Pre-Physical Therapy Student Association
- The Apollo Society
- Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students
Applicants should shadow/observe licensed Physical Therapists in action, working in different environments and age groups. Shadowing will also help you get to know Physical Therapists better. This is important, as many programs require at least one recommendation letter from a Physical Therapist.
*Due to COVID-19, the closure or limited opening of Physical Therapist offices may affect the shadowing hours that an applicant has completed. If an applicant is unable to complete the requirements prior to submitting their application, they can indicate this in their application.
As a caring attitude is central to the practice of Physical Therapy, applicants should demonstrate a commitment to service, more specifically direct service, and a desire to help others. Applicants may wish to highlight volunteer and service activities, including tutoring, assisting seniors, volunteer EMT, coaching youth sports, mentoring, etc.
Search UK Service-Learning and Civic Engagement for opportunities to help in the community: https://servelearnconnect.uky.edu/community-organizational-needs
Physical Therapy Schools in Kentucky
- University of Kentucky: https://www.uky.edu/chs/physical-therapy
- Western Kentucky University: https://www.wku.edu/physicaltherapy/
- Bellarmine University: https://www.wku.edu/physicaltherapy/
Find a Physical Therapy School
APTA: American Physical Therapy Association https://www.apta.org/
CAPTE: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
PTCAS: Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service http://www.ptcas.org/home.aspx