Physical Therapists (PTs) treat patients with injury or illness to help improve mobility and manage pain. PTs use a variety of techniques including exercises, stretching, hands-on therapy, and equipment. Physical therapists can work in private offices, clinics, hospitals, patients’ homes, and nursing homes. Much of their work is done on their feet and actively working with patients.
Employment for physical therapists is expected to grow by 21 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which notes the growth is much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is attributed to a growing and aging population.
How To Apply?
Physical therapists obtain a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree and must obtain a license to practice. Physical therapy schools are highly competitive; most applicants have a bachelor’s degree. PT school is typically three years. Students who specialize will require further residency training. This residency is typically a year-long commitment.
Although you can select any undergraduate major, most PT schools expect you to take pre-requisite courses before you apply. These required courses can be different depending on the school you wish to apply to. You must research specific admissions requirements for each school you apply to.
Check admissions requirements for specific physical therapy schools and also be sure to check directly with the individual schools. This is a guide of recommended courses students could take at Michigan Tech to prepare for PT school. This is not an exhaustive list. You are responsible to check with the schools you wish to apply for specific requirements. Students should also check with the individual schools if they intend to use AP or community college credits to see if those are accepted.
Most PT schools require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as the entrance exam. Competitive GRE scores average 300-310 or higher. Students should aim for above the 50th percentile. The GRE is offered as a computer-based test year-round. Register for the GRE. On average, students should spend 50 to 200 hours preparing for the GRE. This largely depends on how efficiently you study. The more time you spend the more confident you will be.
Some PT programs may also require the online CASPer test. This is a situational judgment test that can be taken on any computer with internet and a webcam. This test evaluates elements of social intelligence and professionalism, such as empathy and problem solving. Learn more about CASPer here. It is important to check program requirements to see if any program you are applying for requires this additional test.
A competitive GPA is crucial for acceptance into PT schools. Most programs have minimum
GPA requirements in order to apply that include both cumulative GPA and pre-requisite
GPA. It is common for physical therapy schools to require at least a 3.0; average
accepted students have a GPA of 3.5 or more.
Apart from your prerequisites and entrance exam score, most PT schools require one to four letters of recommendation, a written personal statement, and if selected, an in-person interview. Many programs also require applications to have a minimum number of physical therapy shadowing and/or patient contact hours. You may be required to have a licensed therapist verify your hours. Many schools place major emphasis on your experience when making admissions decisions.
The professional association for physical therapy schools is APTA (American Physical Therapy Association). Most Physical Therapy Schools go through a centralized application called the PTCAS (Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service). The application opens in July with deadlines ranging from October through May.
Partnership with Central Michigan University
Doctorate in Physical Therapy
Michigan Technological University and Central Michigan University partner to offer the CMU doctorate of physical therapy program on Michigan Tech’s campus! Under this Articulation Agreement with Central Michigan University, six seats are reserved for Michigan Tech students who meet admission requirements. Minimum requirements to apply to this program are subject to change.