Aug 1, 2010
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hey guys. I'm a junior currently doing my undergrad work... we're two weeks away from winter break and I just suddenly remembered about the 100 observation hours requirement most schools want... should I try as hard as I can to get something over the winter break, or is it too late to even try that? When do people usually have their hours completed? And how do I go about asking... where do I ask? I'm starting to worry a bit!

Any responses will be appreciated :thumbup:


5+ Year Member
Oct 13, 2010
Physical Therapist
Well, it depends on when you're applying. Your'e still a junior and you'll most likely apply during the summer to early fall. So, you're not too late in getting your minimum of 100 observation hours in. Preferably, you want to have more than the minimum. You don't have to finish that 100 hours during the winter break... lol. You can space it out throughout the winter break, spring semester, and even the summer. Just make sure you finish that 100+ hours early enough to give your PTs enough time to write the letters of recommendation and you should usually give them 2-3 weeks for that. So plan out the whole process concerning the observations. If you do a minimum 5-8 hours per week until you apply.... let's say before September (early application), you'll have more than enough to meet the requirements. Of course, if you're not working in the summer, you can really load up on your observations!

And it doesn't look bad. As long as you get to know your PT and show them what you've got, you should be absolutely fine. I didn't start my observations until the beginning of the summer before senior year and I got accepted early to my 2 top schools. I was going to continue applying to other schools in October, but after getting my early acceptances, I just went "eh".

It's not the quantity of hours that really matter, it's the quality of the observations, they want to see from the interviews/LORs how much you've learned and gained from the experience and how compatible you are for the career (from your PT LOR mostly). Also, ideally, you want to continue with the observations even after sending in applications, so you can update the schools on what you're doing.

You can search online for PT or rehabilitaion clinics around your area and call them up or stop by to see if they're accepting oberservers/shadowers. A lot of the outpatient clinics are pretty accomodating and you really get to see what's happening up close. You can also call hospitals or stop by the rehabilitaion department to see if they, too are accepting observers/shadowers/volunteers. Acute care hospitals are looked upon highly on observation documentation; however, getting to shadow in this setting is pretty complicated with all the clearances, screening, rules/regulations you have to follow. For example, I was not allowed to enter the patient's room at the acute care hospital I was observing. I was allowing no physical patient contact either. I could speak with them and watch the physical therapists from outside the room or if they took the patient outside the room, I could follow. If you have a rehab hospital nearby (TIRR/Memorial Hermann in Houston for example), that's also good. But, it's always best to observe at a variety of settings, e.g. acute care, outpatient, pediatric, women's hospitals, etc.

So, basicially, call up/drive by outpatient clinics and hospitals and see if the PTs will have you for a while.

Good luck on the process yo! lol
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7+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
Great advice from goyo!

As a side note, one of my girlfriends did have to squeeze her 100 hours in over Christmas break and it wasn't impossible. She just went and observed full-time for 2-3 weeks. :)