Physical therapists help people who have injuries or illnesses improve their movement and manage their pain. They are often an important part of rehabilitation and treatment of patients with chronic conditions or injuries.

College Major
You are not required to select a particular major in order to be eligible for admission to a PT program. In selecting a college major, consider how you will you satisfactorily complete the prerequisite courses for your designated physical therapist programs in addition to the college/university's degree and major requirements. Work with your academic advisor to plan your course schedule.

You have the option to choose from a wide variety of undergraduate majors to prepare you for a physical therapy program. There are no major requirements; you can choose any major for physical therapy school. Common undergraduate majors include Exercise Science, Biology, Psychology, Child Development, Therapeutic Recreation and Neuroscience.

Keep in mind these numbers are averages and various schools can have their own averages that are higher or lower. Also, the average GPA is climbing higher each year and admission is more competitive than ever.

Cumulative GPA: 3.57
Combined Science/Math GPA: 3.42

Many PT programs require applicants to have a certain number of volunteer or paid experiences working with patients in a physical therapy clinic. The program may specify which settings or types of experiences are required. Applicants also may be required to have a licensed physical therapist verify the number of hours and type of experience. This experience may be an important factor in the admissions process.

Other qualifications. To be a physical therapist you should have strong interpersonal and communication skills so that you can educate your patients about their condition and treatments. Physical therapists also need to be compassionate and possess a desire to help patients.
Certain basic requirements must be fulfilled before you can be accepted to a graduate program in physical therapy. This is a GUIDE only. Students must consult with their advisors AND the appropriate PT programs on a regular basis for revisions to course requirements and to identify and ensure completion of all required courses.

Some of the most common requirements include:
  • 1 year Anatomy & Physiology
  • 1 semester Biology
  • 1 semester Exercise Physiology
  • 1 year Chemistry
  • 1 year Physics
  • 1 year Psychology
  • 1 semester Statistics
  • Mathematics
Students should meet with an academic advisor to determine which courses will fulfill these requirements and best align with their major.

Some physical therapy schools may have additional courses required or recommended. Review the admission requirements of the physical therapy schools you plan on applying in advance.

All required courses must be taken for a grade. Each school has its own policy regarding AP credit. Usually, AP credit in these areas should be followed with additional upper level work in the discipline including labs.
Most programs will require some standardized testing. The most common exam required by physical therapy schools is the GRE. This is a computerized exam offered year-round. Examinees may take the test once every 60 days, but no more than 5 times within a 12-month period.

In order to register for the GRE you will need to complete the following: Click here for more information on the GRE.