Pre-Physical Therapy

This page contains basic information for students interested in physical therapy school. If you have further questions, please contact the Health Professions Advising Office at premed@ua.edu.

Pre-Physical Therapy Guide

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Physical Therapy School Admissions Guide

 

WHAT IS PHYSICAL THERAPY (PT)?

 

Physical therapy is the medical practice that utilizes therapeutic exercise, physical modalities (as massage and electrotherapy), assistive devices, and patient education and training for the preservation, enhancement, or restoration of movement and physical function impaired or threatened by disability, injury, or disease. The following is a brief guide to PT requirements while here at UA.
PRE-REQUISITES:

NOTE: EACH PHYSICAL THERAPY PROGRAM ESTABLISHES ITS OWN SET OF PREREQUISITES. CHECK THE WEBSITES OF THE SCHOOLS IN THAT YOU ARE MOST INTERESTED TO OBTAIN A CURRENT LIST OF UNDERGRADUATE REQUIREMENTS.

 

General Biology: BSC 114/115 and BSC 116/117 or honors equivalent
Anatomy and Physiology: BSC 215 & 216, or (BSC 400, 424, & 425 if majoring in biology)
Microbiology BSC 242 (or BSC 310 & 312 if majoring in biology)
General Chemistry CH 101 and 102 or honors equivalent
Statistics: PY 211, BSC 380, or CHS 425 recommended
Physics: PH 101 (Some programs require PH 102)
Mathematics: MA 113
Psychology: PY 101, 352, 358
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: NHM 101 (human nutrition)

HD 203 (Medical Terminology)

ATR 272 (first aid and safety)

 

*All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher.

 

In addition to coursework and exam requirements, most PT programs require direct PT Observation Hour requirements that will be verified by the Physical Therapist you shadowed.

 

Some PT programs DO NOT require an undergraduate degree. Please look at program specific requirements.

 

EXAM AND GPA:

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a standardized examination that consists of four multiple-choice sections that cover basic mathematics and reading comprehension skills. The GRE is designed to measure general academic ability. It is required by most of the American PA schools. Typically, students take the GRE about one calendar year prior to their intended date of matriculation to professional school. The GRE is a nationally standardized test, similar to the ACT and SAT.  A GRE score is good for three years at most schools, so taking the test in the spring of junior year does not necessarily mean that you must enter PA school right after college graduation. Average scores are:

REVISED:       150+ on Verbal and 150+ on Quantitative; 3.5 on Analytical Writing

OLD:               500 on Verbal and 500 on Quantitative (minimum 1000); 3.5 Analytical Writing

 

Grade Point Average (GPA):  Minimum GPA requirements vary from program to program, but MOST programs have a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement but competitive GPA’s are closer to a 3.5.  In addition, most programs require that all prerequisite courses must be passed with a “C” or better.

 

TIMELINE:

 

            Freshman Year: 

  • Connect with the Health Professions Advising Office
  • Start taking basic sciences (See chart above)
  • Think about possible majors (Study what you love)
  • Begin getting involved with volunteer opportunities (campus and community)
  • Start PT experience (PTA, CNA, Shadowing)
  • Join some student organizations (Pre-Physical Therapy Society)

Sophomore Year:

  • Continue with next sequence of courses
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities (PT, volunteer, etc)
  • Begin to think about becoming an officer in your organizations
  • Visit Health Professions Office to begin to assess competitiveness
  • Look at which PT programs to apply to
  • Start deciding if you will be pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Take GRE if applying without undergraduate degree

            Junior Year:

  • Apply to PT programs if not getting undergraduate degree
  • Talk to Health Professions Advising Office about competitiveness
  • Register for GRE if completing undergraduate degree
  • Study for GRE and take GRE (Spring Semester)
  • Identify 3-5 individuals to write letters of recommendation (Spring Semester)
  • Complete Application (PTCAS)

            Senior Year:

  • Submit Application (PTCAS) if you haven’t already (Fall semester)
  • Wait to be contacted for interview
  • Finish degree requirements
  • Continue with activities
  • Talk with HPAO about Plan B if necessary
  • Graduate

 

RESOURCES:

 

            The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA):  www.apta.org

APTA Program Perquisites: http://www.ptcas.org/ProgramPrereqs/

GRE Information/Dates:  www.ets.org

UA Health Professions Website:  www.prehealth.ua.edu