200+/- Physical therapy programs (Masters/DPT)in the USA. Not counting PTA. One school is bound to accept you.
APPLY EVERYWHERE (Instate/OutofState)
Apply to at LEAST 5-10 schools. Chosen Schools, Decent School, Safety School
-Look at your current GPA and GRE score. Then, look at APTA.ORG~school name~scroll down to see admissions. Admissions will state the current class GPA and GRE selection. If you fall under that category then choose the school. If you have a 2.9-3.0 and the school selected indivduals with 3.4-3.6 then it will be a waste of time applying there but you may get lucky. Again its your money and time. You can apply to St. Augustine multiple times since the school has fall, spring, summer enrollment.
Pick cheap ~ Less Debt (Look at the salary and see if you want to spend 10,20,30 years paying off the loan and after five years then heading to medical school). There are loan forgiveness programs, military, huge sign on bonuses(One place offered 25k sign on bonus in New Mexico and in Texarkana if you give them 4 years), and other stuff out there. Just look.. Think about your life afterwards~house,wife/husband/partner, kids, etc...
10th 25th 75th 90th
U.S. National Averages
$56,356 $60,621 $69,653 $73,610
Salary may increase for work done in Home Health and Nursing Home Settings. Places where most do not want to work due to physical/emotional issues. Most graduates tend to go to hospital or clinic due to wide variety of clinic experiance you can gain after college.
Apply to cheap good national passrate ones vs the more nationally known expensive ones..People hiring you dont care about the school. Only your committment and if you passed the national test. Plus you learn the tricks from doing clinics and work. The school teaches the basics. In medicine from what I hear, school matters due to residency.
Apply to new PT programs. They usually have less competition. They may also be a fallback option if you dont get into the dream school.
(3-3 Year programs--3 year undergraduate/3 year Professional Component) As a Freshman if you find such a program like this---take it. Usually those programs start during your Freshman year of college then roll over to a professional component. Plus some programs have a guarantee slot for students who start as Freshman to eventually become Physical Therapists. Hell you will start college at 18 and be a Physical Therapist by the time your 24/25. Plus a good paying job after you complete the program (Jobs searching for you and not you searching for jobs unlike other professions).
Apply based on deadline (I applied to 4 schools per month). Each school has a specific deadline to send the application packet. For example, if one school has a deadline for november--send it in september. Schools like St. Augustine have deadlines three times a year (fall, spring, summer). A school in Tennessee has a deadline in July or August and it is the only school I know (besides St. Aug) that starts in spring (January).
For a complete application, you need 25-100.00 doller admissions fee, filled application, transcripts, GRE score (15.00 per score), 1-4 letters of recommendation (1or2 from PT, Boss, professor etc~sealed envelope with signature), and observation hours sheet.
Volunteer/Work/Observe in a variety of settings (Nursing Home, Wound Care, Ortho, Out-Patient, Peds, ETC). The school will teach you to become a generalist in the field. Try to get exposure to EVERYTHING that physical therapy has to offer. Know the Good, Bad, and Ugly side of PT. My fav was wound care and nursing home. Wound care was an awsome gruesome experiance (Not for people with a sensitive stomach. The PT was wound care certified). Nursing home had an awsome PT staff and humbled me a little bit (Good team with PT,PTA,ACOTAs,speech therapist, and an Awsome Informative DON) (After studying the generalist route, I would of wanted to work in this setting and become a Geriatric Physical Therapist- I felt that this population needs a lot of attention and care plus I got to meet some great nursing home residents)(Most try to not to persue this setting b.c mainly of death and the setting environment, but I loved it). The sports ortho place had one PT who I have tremendious respect for and I wish he would start teaching b/c he can provide students with a lot of information or become a clinic instructor~this is what the profession needs.More people like him who have the passion for mentoring others into becoming physical therapists. He is humble, professional, answers questions, and loves what he does
). Aqua PT was humerous. The least setting that I didnt enjoy was Peds. This was mainly due to the lack of professionalism in the PT department. Bunch of arrogant pricks who make the field look bad and sort of cast away interest in people who really want to persue physical therapy. (Thought to know it all but WERE MORE OF WELL PAID CHEERLEADERS who never answered questions, cast down on volunteers, and snobbish)--What happened to giving back to the field--they were once students trying to persue physical therapy, but I guess they forgot. Physical Therapy is about helping people during their time of need, giving back to the field/community and ALSO INFLUENCING STUDENTS (mentorism) in becoming Physical Therapists~haha, had to lay it off my chest
. The Children were fun. One setting I wish I observed was HOME HEALTH.
Be prepared to get letters in the mail with schools who still did not get GRE, Transcript scores, etc EVEN THOUGH you sent them and have proof.. Most of the time the scores are sent to admissions and not the department itself. Make sure when filing your GRE score, you get the department number. This can be obtained from the GRE website. Also call the school and see if they got your application.
At least 2-3schools per month (This will help with finances which is sending application fee, transcript fee, and GRE score). (Letters of recommendation--bothering your PT , teachers, boss, etc with filling out one).
All schools have different Pre-Reqs. I know LSU requires the most pre-reqs out of the 22 PT programs I applied. For example, it needed tech writing and misc. courses while other schools didnt require it. Mississippi requires the LEAST.
Do I need a bachelors degree before applying to PT school~YES. OR Close to Finishing. There are six year programs where students start as a Pre-Physical Therapy Major as a FRESHMEN then finish the professional portion to become a physical therapist (3-3 DEAL). Other programs are Masters or DPT so they need the bachelors.
Have a plan B just in case you do not get accepted. I had a A, B, and C. If you did Pre-reqs then you can also apply to accelerated BSN programs which range 12-15 months. Then, if you are still wanting to do physical therapy, you can apply next year. Plus, work a friday or saturday night shift with good pay while in school.
I personally know of one BSN program in Arizona that will PAY EVERYTHING (books, tuition, uniforms, and class exept for living;however, you give them two years (exellant packages like pay for babysitter while you work a shift. The hospitals in that region are willing to pay for your masters as well.) I blew this opportunity out the water.. I should of taken it =[, but wasnt thinking. I would of had it too.. Out of 130 applicants, they accepted 80..
Another plan B option is work as a tech and get more hours in PT.
Try to say something creative when they ask you a question.
Questions can range from simple straight answer like tell me about yourself to more what would you do in this situation. Just be straight up and dont bullshi* them b.c most of them interview a lot of candidates. Be Humble....
Have a creative way of telling them WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A PT. Many people say oh b.c I love anatomy and physiology and PT's apply it, or you got injured and had physical therapy, or you had a family member with a disorder.
If they ask you a question like what type of animal are you then be creative. They want you to think fast. Do have a straight up answer and tell them why you are that animal (Dont say b.c I like being a Dog~Say something like Dogs are Alert animals and good companions--- PT'S are good companions to patients during their time of need.) I said giraff on my answer due to darwins evolution and survival of the fittest. (Since they had long necks, most of the short neck giraffs died out since also Physical Therapy school is surviving)
If you do not get in then tell them you will work as a PT tech or try again. They love hearing that.
Why should we take you or what makes you special or what can you bring to the program???
How do you plan on giving back to the field??--Just remember 4 years down when you are working as a PT and someone interested in the field came in and wants to become YOU
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years.
What makes physical therapy stand out over nursing, medicine, etc??
What can you offer in Physical Therapy??
Do you have teaching experiance?
Why did you choose this school or the state???
What qualities should a physical therapist possess
What makes a professional.
How do you handle stress?
My favorite question--A person on your team isnt pulling his or her weight on a project what do you do? How do you deal with this situation?
At the end of the interview also tell them some flaws like how you did bad your first year of college and that you tried hard to raise up your grades. Give them a good logical explanation and DONT BLAIM ANYONE. Most of them see patterns in grades per semester and year..Dont say cause the teacher was a bit** and flunked me or it was anyones fault. Trust me I know. I had an F my first year in college and had to work my a** off pulling my GPA up. Its hard. Tree's dont grow fast enough but they fall down fast when they are cut down. They want a survivor type student.. Some people who had A's pre physical therapy school wind up having B's. It is the way it is.. Deal with it and survive. Dont complain. You want to be a Physical Therapist-right?
Mingle with other people. Try to sell yourself as a people person. During my interviews, I saw some really snotty dipshi*s thinking they are all that and a bag of chips.
Most important, stay positive and dont show any form of anger or depression or thinking you God's gift to humanity. Dont say I think I blew my interview or didnt think I said the best answer or sorry blah blah to anyone (candidate/professor) or I think I am better qualified than most of these people due to my resume, grades, etc at the interview place or to the candidates(This is a HUGE NO NO). Save that when you go away from the building to your car or hotel room.. If they accept you then they will see the "real" you once you in the program.....
No answer is the best or more correct answer. The interviewers just want to feel you out. See what type of person you are.. Thats all~so just act yourself and if you are an a$$hole, keep that to yourself. Trust me, if you make it to the program then the real battle begins with your classmates. Better make friends (Classmates are no competition to see who gets the better grade or jobs at the end~PLENTY of FN JOBS). Expecially with students in the second or third year. They may help with advice, motivation, study skills, and tests. Its gonna get SCARY!!~BUT YOU ARE NOT ALONE~Plenty of people came before you.
Interviews vary from each school. It can be:
Professor ---Candidate or 2-3 candidates
2 Professors- Candidate
2 Professors 1 student- 2-3 Candidates
If 3 or 2 candidates for 1 or 2 professors, the professor will ask 1 question and candidate A responds first then B then C. The second question, candidate B responds then C then A. Third question C first then A then B. Come up with a unique answer. Dont say the same thing, but elaborate on the previous answer.
An essay may be involved. Typically you have 1 hour to write it.
A school tour will be given.. Yes, you will go to cadavier lab.. Yes some schools actually take you inside and see a cadavier. They even let you put on the gloves and feel the orgrans. The lungs are very very spongy~It was a weird but awsome experiance. One interview a girl was all WTF NO WAY BLAH BLAH BLAH, I did not know that we had to see a cadavier or touch one. I laughed and said you didnt know that part of the training was to cut open and explore a dead human? She was speechless and rdy to cry while I wanted tell her to pick another profession or deal with it. Research DAMNIT! That cadavier will be your best friend~deal with it and appreciate the fact that someone gave his/her body to science so you can have a better education. Also show a form of respect to the dead. Plus in school, there will be groups of 4 or 5 per cadavier so one guy/girl like me wouldn't mind cutting it open. You will get use to it --stated by many PT students..
At the end of the interview session, if the person asks you if you have any questions then ask a question or two. Sell yourself as being interested and determined about the program.
If you get a large packet in the mail with school then hurray you got in if you get a small letter then boohoo.
The large packet will contain a fee (100.00-500.00 fee to save a seat, medical, and other MISC paper work). The 500.00 fee is usually deposited in your tuition. The reason of the high fee is that they want to make sure you are willing to try the program. Some people usually have 2-3+ school selections. There is a deadline like 1 or 2 months for sending the fee. For any reason, you are not interested in the program, please call them and say something. Other people are on the waiting list and would love to take your spot.
The small letter can contain put on waiting list which is a good thing or a rejection letter. You cant do anthing about the rejection letter but being on the waiting list sux. Make sure you keep in contact with the schools. Some may select you months or days before class starts..
One of my interviews, a DPT student told a story of being put on the waiting list then receiving a call from a professor asking him if he was still interested in the program. This was TWO DAYS BEFORE CLASS begun. Needless to say, he said HELL YA.
Info about me
BS in Exercise Science
and Massage Therapist
500 Hours PT Volunteer in Various Places (Nursing Home, Peds, Orthopedic, Wound Care, and Aqua)
Applied to 22 Physical Therapy places (Spent a lot of money filling out applications, road travel, and interview)..
Rejected by 5 with a letter stating due to GPA, GRE scores, and other crap you do not qualify enough.
Three lost my application or said I sent it late? I post marked it before the deadline.
12 interviews which included phone, video tape (yes one school actually gave me an option to video tape myself while they send questions to a physical therapist via fax), and an actual session.
The other two schools do not interview. They just mail you acceptance letters.
Waiting list on 11
1 accepted me (Southwest Baptist)
The second one took me off the waiting list and into the acceptance category (St.Francis)
Waiting for more results
The reason for applying so much..
Physical therapy school is MUCH harder to get in than med school
Physical Therapy schools accepts 15-50 people while med schools accepts 100-200+ people.
The process involves first a weed out system based on GPA and GRE. It doesnt matter how many hours in PT you worked or volunteered. You may have 1000's of hours but below a 1000 on the GRE AND 3.0 you might as well go do another profession. It is sad but true. I know a guy who could not get higher than a 800 on the GRE, but his GPA was 3.7 and his science was 3.5. He could not get in with the schools that wanted GRE's but got in to two schools which did not use the GRE as a factor.
What was funny is that a friend of mine got in a school with a 3.2 GPA and a Science average of 3.19. However his GRE score was 1100+.
The most valuable tool I used in finding out the schools
Here is a link to all the schools based on Location, GPA, and GRE scores
Remember the quote "Championships are not one by a single individual. They are won by a team working together." The school is going to be tough. Deal with it. You will have to sacrafice a lot of time from family and friends. However, your new family will be your fellow classmates. One of the physical therapy students during an interview session told me he would much rather be the last one in his class to graduate. I said why so. He said so he will know that ALL HIS CLASSMATES GRADUATED. Be a teamplayer to a person struggling but say something to a mooch that wants to leech off you. You are not in it alone. Plus you will deal with a lot of people (Dr's, nurses, yes lawyers, other therapists) outside your field. All these people taking care of one patients health.
The question I still am clueless about---What does each school look for in a candidate (How do they go by selecting an individual. To be honest, I dont have a dam clue. I asked this question to physical therapists, professors, and students. All answers are Im not sure or different schools look for different people so this is what I can come up with after being through the process).. Some schools like Texas Womens dont even go through the interview process. They just look at scores. If you have a high GPA/GRE then your in. Plain and Simple. Other schools want to interview the individual to see if that person is a match for the program (Look for your committment and deterimination--the things you say and the type of person you are in the interview process vs having a HIGH GRE/GPA) . Other schools just want to interview, see the person before they select him/her, then do the GPA/GRE type calculation and select the candidate.)
School accepts any major. From general studies, music, engennering (sp). You really DONT need to have a Biology, Exercise Science, Kinesiology, etc degree BUT those degrees do help with the courses in PT schools. (Pre-Reqs) but some programs have recommended (usually gives extra points toward your application than required courses.
Physical therapy school will TEACH you to become a generalist.. Some schools like St. Aug will go for a more manual therapy approach while Baylor has an awsome ortho (no limbs) program since its a military school and they deal with those things. It is also VERY VERY hard to get in.
The fastest program for DPT is 2.5 years. But you take 21-25 hours. Personally I would rather have 15-18 hours. You wont have time to watch the whole episode of friends, seinfield, or whatever but you will have ample study time, relax a little bit, and research. But I think one school has a 2.5 year, 3 year (MOT/DPT), or a 4 year(weekend program)--St. Augustine. If you want to kill yourself, choose a program with 25 hours. You get done faster and start working to pay off the debt.
Good Grades do matter but schools want a candidate with a mixture of good grades, volunteer hours, community service, clubs, etc~Basically, this person is not one thing but only studying and getting high marks..
Yes schools take a 3.0 GPA student. (Good references, good GRE scores, volunteering, community service, and the interview)
A few schools dont use the GRE score as a factor for selection. Only look at GPA, Volunteer Hours, and Interview. One school in Iowa for example. http://www.dmu.edu/PT/
"We do not require the GRE test for the PT program. We feel that the GRE is not useful in predicting how well as student will do in a physical therapy program. We would prefer to look at GPA, letters of recommendation, observational experiences, and interview scores."
Out of state schools Vs Instate. Most instate programs will accept out of state students. For example, if is a class of 40 then 5+/- will be out of state.
Do your own research on the school and the program. I made it a little bit easier for you.
In regards to road travel. Amtrak Train and Greyhound bus.. Much cheaper travel options THAN car. For traveling use mapquest.com or mapblast.com (MAGELLON 3100~219.00 GPS) and a nice radar detecter PASSPORT X50 OR BEL 995~legal in my state.
Hotels---Hotels.com to look for cheap reasonable. My fav was red roof inn...
Programs usually start in Summer, Fall, and even Spring. Personally, I would start summer and get Cadavier Anatomy out the way.
This whole process is what I call a drowning pool. Lots of people want to do it, but only a certain number reach their final destination. Some drown due to not passing a certain pre-req. Some drown when they apply and dont get an interview but they can keep trying. Some drown and dont get accepted to PT school due to GRE/GPA. Some drown in PT school.
I hope this information helped.
Yes my writing sucks--Forgive me...
Read this far? Congrats~NOW DO IT!!!
Think this is a difficult process? It is.. Your whole life to put on hold for the next hmm maybe 6 months from application process to interview to waiting to get selected plus trying to decide what/where/when is your future. Thats why have plans A, B , C. It was a good experiance.
Good Luck in trying to get into a program. I did all this work through trial and error, asking questions, and doing my own research, got accepted into two programs, but decided not to persue Physical Therapy. Personal reasons. Yea I know--sad =[