Physical Therapy (PT) is a growing field with increasing demand as the population is more aware of the importance of a non-invasive, non-medicated, holistic approach. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, physical therapists diagnose and treat individuals with health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
NOTE: The University of Tampa has an allied health major with a concentration in physical therapy sciences, which can equip students to apply to a graduate program in physical therapy. UT does not have a physical therapy graduate program.
Preparing for Physical Therapy School
Earn a bachelor’s degree
Physical therapy school is a graduate program; to become eligible to apply to PT school students usually need to earn a bachelor's degree and take specific pre-requisites (classes that PT schools require). At UT, students can earn a bachelor's degree and take pre-requisite courses. Students who are interested in going to PT school typically major in the allied health with a concentration in physical therapy sciences. This major includes most of the required courses for entrance into PT programs. However, other degrees can also prepare students for health professions; thus students are encouraged to major in the field where they excel and should consult the pre-health professions advisor about course work.
Basic pre-requisite courses required for PT school*:
- Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs
- Biology I and II
- General Chemistry I and II with labs
- Physics I and II with labs
*Each PT school has its own set of pre-requisites, and students need to research the admission requirements of each school to which they are intending to apply. Search the pre-requisites for each PT school.
Build an extensive record of relevant experiences
- Shadow a PT – gain knowledge of the PT field and confirm if this is your passion
- Volunteer or paid PT experience – working with patients under the supervision of a licensed PT is usually required or preferred
Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE)
- The GRE is required for most PT schools. It is about four hours long and cost $205.
- Students who are on the traditional plan of going to PT school directly following graduation from UT should be prepared to take the GRE in the late spring/early summer of your junior year.
- Take the GRE before applying to PT schools.
Physical Therapy school applications
- Students can start to apply to PT school a full year before they intend to start (summer of junior year through fall of senior year).
- Applications open late June.
- Many PT programs have multiple deadline dates or operate on a rolling admissions basis, so they will review student files as soon as they are complete and submitted.
- Applicants are encouraged to apply early!
- Take a look now at what is expected of the application: PTCAS application
Physical Therapy School Information and Beyond
- A traditional PT program is about three years long, and the majority of time is spent in classroom and lab instruction while the remaining time is dedicated to clinical experience.
- There are 13 accredited PT schools in Florida.
- After completion, the student earns a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.
- Following PT school, students can choose to pursue a residency or fellowship program to enhance their knowledge and practice.
Pre-professions advising has a dedicated program specialist to help students prepare for professional school in the health sciences. The advisor would like to see all pre-health students early on to ensure they are on the path for success. Please email Jackie Mikulski to schedule an appointment.