How to get started learning what you need to know about becoming an physical therapist: 

  • Review the occupational therapy career on the APTA website
  • Subscribe to the APTA youtube channel
  • Explore and commit to completing the listed experiences on the Pre-PT Major Map
  • Read the VCU Bulletin for students interested in PT
  • Vault Guides – A sample of careers in healthcare. Each guide gives, among other valuable information, an overview of the job and entry-level requirements
  • Explore the career summary for a dentist on O*Net Online
  • Use VCU’s online community, VCU LINK,  which connects students, alumni and friends of the university for career advice, industry contacts and meaningful professional relationships


Course Recommendations for PT school

Not all the courses listed below may be required by all schools, and some schools may require other courses not included in this sample. For a full list of Physical Therapy Prerequisites please visit the Preparation for the study of Physical Therapy bulletin.


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How do I apply for admission to PT School?

The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) allows PT applicants to use a single web-based application and one set of materials to apply to multiple PT education programs.

Preparing for the Admissions Process

  • Research PT programs to determine the ones that may best meet your educational needs.
  • Determine if you are first required to have a bachelor’s degree by filtering the CAPTE directory (use key code A4).
  • Complete course prerequisites for your designated programs.
  • Obtain physical therapy experience and have your hours verified by a PT, if required by your designated programs.
  • Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) at least 6 weeks before the application deadline. (Freshmen-entry students may be required to submit SAT or ACT scores).
  • Request references from appropriate individuals, if required by your designated programs.
  • Arrange for official transcripts from every college/university attended to be sent to PTCAS or the institution, as required by the programs.
  • Submit the completed application EARLY and before the program’s deadline date. Some programs use a rolling admissions process.
  • PTCAS applicants should also review the PTCAS checklist.


Important Qualities of a Physical Therapist

APTA has identified seven core values that define the critical elements of professionalism in physical therapy.

  • Accountability
  • Altruism
  • Compassion/Caring
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Professional Duty
  • Social Responsibility

APTA list of Core Values of Professionalism for the Physical Therapist with explanation in the pdf version:

List of characteristics provided in the current PTCAS pdf instructions under their questions for letter writers to evaluate (pg 35):