Mar 6, 2011
Hello, I just recently started to consider a career in physical therapy, and I just wanted to ask a few questions about getting into the schools. From what I understand if you want a good chance of having a successful application it helps to have a solid cGPA and sGPA(<3.4), volunteer hours with patient contact, observation hours with a PT, and the right pre req classes, letters of rec's, and app essays, etc. Is there anything important I missed?

Also, do they require work experience in a clinical setting?

How many hours on average do they look for in observation/shadowing hours, and how many hours of clinical/non clinical volunteering do they usually look for?

I'm going to start on shadowing very soon, and I already have around 200 volunteer hours in a hospital and around 400 in various other non clinical activities, so hopefully I am moving in the right direction. Thanks!


5+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2013
Physical Therapist
Everything you have said is correct, except that in general PT schools do not require direct work with patients, just observation hours. Many people do work as a PT tech before applying to PT school, but this is by no means a critical part of the process.

What you are asking for is all very basic information, and the answers to all of your questions can be found by looking at the admissions pages of the PT schools you are interested in applying to, by searching the PTCAS and CAPTE websites, and by using the search feature here on the forums. Good luck!
Aug 13, 2014
Also make sure to observe as many settings as possible. They want to see that.
Jan 8, 2014
Yeah you forgot the GRE. People around here say you need a score of 150/150 which is fortunate, because that means you can be pretty stupid and still get in. I think those are around the 40th percentiles so you can still be among the dregs of grad school hopefuls and make it in with good marks in other areas