A fitness instructor leads a ca group of women in a zumba routine.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who provide therapy to patients to improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit physical disabilities resulting from injuries or disease. A primary goal of PTs is to help patients restore and maintain their overall fitness for a healthy, active lifestyle. PTs work with a variety of patients in many different settings. This may include children, athletes, elderly, and veterans, and be located at out-patient clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and schools. 

Preparation and Requirements

Pre-PT students are expected to establish a strong academic record and participate in activities that expand their knowledge of the profession and develop skills and abilities required to become a physical therapist. Physical therapy shadowing, volunteer experiences, organizational memberships, community service, and holding a job can help in your preparation.

Application Process

There are many steps and requirements to apply to physical therapy school, including an entrance exam, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Pay close attention to the instruction manual for the centralized application service and requirements for individual programs. Meet with a Health Professions advisor to make sure you’re on track.

Application Timeline

The application cycle can take up to one year to complete. Think about your ideal timeline: when do you plan to start physical therapy school? We recommend you meet with a pre-health advisor to assess your readiness to apply.