Students interested in becoming physical therapists can pursue a professional entry-level degree program called the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). The DPT program was created to train highly qualified individuals to practice independently in healthcare settings where the general public has direct access to physical therapy services. In addition to screening and referral, evaluation, diagnosis, intervention, consultation, and education, graduates will be equipped to offer the full range of physical therapy services.
The DPT program is registered with the New York State Education Department and has received full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program is a 3-year, full-time course of study that lasts for 11 academic terms and 35 weeks of clinical instruction. Candidates for the clinical doctorate program must already hold a baccalaureate degree in order to enroll.
Before applying for PT school
There are requirements you must meet before enrolling in any PT school, regardless of how lax they are. You qualify to enroll in PT school if you meet all the requirements on this list:
A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
There are some undergraduate degrees that will make your life easier, even though you don’t need to have any particular major in order to be eligible for PT school.
Any degree that requires you to take courses in biology, anatomy, and physiology in particular will provide you with a wealth of background information that you can use once you enter PT school.
Don’t bother with degrees from unaccredited schools. They aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
A GPA of 3.0 or higher
There’s no way around this. You need to keep your GPA high. Most universities will demand that you have a GPA of at least 3. 0 to let you enroll. But don’t stop at 3. 0, get it as close to 4. 0 as possible. The higher it is, the better chance you have of enrolling in a PT program.
Take new classes that you can ace to raise your GPA, or retake classes that you struggled in, to do so. I’m unable to advise you on the best course of action, but if you didn’t perform well in one of the classes I mentioned in the previous point, such as anatomy, you should retake it. Everything you learn will be helpful to you once you start PT.
Real-world experience in PT
A number of hours of volunteer work or paid employment overseen by a licensed physical therapist are a standard requirement of PT schools. If the school you want to attend doesn’t have them, I still advise spending at least a little time there. It’s going to make your life at school much easier. Try to get between 50 and 100 hours of practices.
Your goals and where you choose to gain this experience are up to you. Although it’s not always possible, you should try to gain experience where you intend to work in the future. Rehabilitation hospitals, long-term care facilities, and fitness centers are a few places where you can gain practical experience.
Getting in touch with their manager directly is the best way to learn about opportunities like these.
Good GRE scores
Last but not least, work on your GRE scores. Even if yours is already good, taking the GRE test more than once is a great learning opportunity. Check out the GRE requirements for your chosen program.
During the admissions process, you will be required to take the GRE, so make sure you are ready to ace it. You don’t have an excuse to show up unprepared because you can take the GRE test up to five times in a calendar year.
Letters of recommendation
If you’re serious about becoming a physical therapist, you need these. Maybe not all schools will require them, but believe me when I say they are a lifesaver. Attempt to obtain at least a few letters from certified physical therapists and a few from professors of advanced courses.
The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) enables applicants to submit a single application for multiple DPT programs. This makes it much easier for you to apply to multiple schools because you won’t have to completely rewrite your application each time.
All schools require the application, so you might as well go through the process.
If you meet all of these requirements, admission to PT schools will be much simpler. Now let’s look at the PT programs that have the most flexible requirements while still providing a strong curriculum.
You want to attend a school where getting in won’t be too difficult, but where you can still easily start working after graduation. What good is getting a degree that is simple to obtain if it is not respected?
6 Easiest Physical Therapy Schools To Get Into
Knowing the requirements has made it easier to research which schools are the most straightforward to get into. As you might have guessed, these schools have few requirements, so applying to them won’t require as much effort.
But let me stress it once more: the field of physical therapy is challenging. You are present to assist individuals in regaining and enhancing their mobility. Health is a serious matter. Do not assume that you can coast through the course and emerge as a fantastic PT just because you can enter these reasonably easily.
Although these are the easiest to enter, doing so is still incredibly difficult.
Additionally, meeting all of the requirements does not ensure admission to the school. Numerous applicants vie for the few available spots at these schools each year. As I said, don’t expect the process to be effortless.
Here is the list:
Our list of the easiest PT schools to get into is headed by the University of Iowa. They have a very high acceptance rate of 82. 55% in 2023, with over 21. 000 admitted students out of almost 26. 000 applicants.
Nonetheless, its requirements aren’t that much laxer compared to other universities. Let’s take a look:
- Why does the university not disclose the number of observation hours needed to apply? At least it offers you practical guidance on how to complete these hours. Before applying, I would try to complete at least 50 hours of observation work.
- An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
- This university is at the top of the list because no letters of recommendation are needed.
- biological sciences, physiology, anatomy, chemistry, physics, psychology, mathematics, and statistics are the eight prerequisite courses that must be completed.
- Completing a GRE test.
- PTCAS application
This university’s easy admission requirements and lack of a letter of recommendation requirement make applying so simple.
For anyone interested in entering physical therapy, the University of Delaware is a great place to start.
What makes it so great?
The fact that it has reasonable requirements, but it also offers the top ranked DPT program in the US. It offers the best mix of requirements and job opportunities after graduation.
And getting admitted to this school is still quite simple. In actuality, this university’s PT section has a 71 36% acceptance rate.
- You must demonstrate that you observed a licensed physical therapist providing patient care for at least 50 hours. at least 25 at application time, and the remaining 25 at matriculation
- An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
- Three letters of recommendation are required: two from certified physical therapists and one from a professor from a higher-level course you previously took.
- Completion of 7 prerequisite courses with at least a C. The list can be seen on the university’s website. This is where choosing a quality bachelor’s degree is important.
- Completing the GRE test.
- PTCAS application.
You can look up the typical undergraduate GPA of those accepted by going to the requirements page. As of 4/1/2020 this number is 3. 78.
Another university with a 45 acceptance rate, which is high (at least in comparison to most others). 33%, Baylor university offers an innovative DPT program that might be right up your alley
What do you need to get into this school? Here are the requirements:
- Show proof that you spent at least 100 hours observing, helping out, or working with a certified physical therapist. Do not rely on a single source for these 100 hours, the website advises, as you want to diversify your hours to increase your chances.
- An undergraduate GPA of at least 3. 0, but there is a catch: You can still be admitted with a cumulative GPA of less than 3. 0 if your grade point average was at least 3. 50 of the most recent 90 quarter- or 60 semester-credit hours of coursework
- Submission of two references through the PTCAS system.
- Completion of the GRE test within the last 5 years.
- Successful completion of an admission interview.
- All prerequisite courses (biology, chemistry, general physics, human anatomy and physiology, statistics, psychology, abnormal or developmental psychology, and English composition or writing) must be completed.
The good news is that you only need two references if you want to enroll in PT school. Not everyone is connected enough to be able to obtain several letters of recommendation from various sources.
The University of Washington is an excellent PT school with similar admissions standards to the University of Delaware.
- 50 hours of PT-related work or volunteer experience. Due to COVID, it is 25 for the autumn 2021 enrollment; however, in the future, you can anticipate it to return to 50.
- An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
- Three letters of recommendation. Although the website doesn’t say, I advise getting them from both your professors and certified physical therapists. You are here to demonstrate that you are a good team player in both practice and academia.
- completion of all prerequisite courses by the time the program starts and at least half of them by the time you apply. Anatomy and physiology, two courses in biology, two in chemistry, two in physics, two in behavioral science, and statistics are prerequisites.
- PTCAS application
If you have put in the effort as I advised in the section on prerequisites, it is simple to do. Once more, fulfilling these criteria does not ensure admission to the school.
This is where acceptance rates start falling off a cliff. With a 27.13% acceptance rate, getting into this school might seem hard. Don’t worry, you can still make it if you have the right requirements:
- 100 hours or more of direct experience working in or studying the field of physical therapy
- Submission of three or four letters of recommendation. At least one of them must originate from a physiotherapist with a license.
- Submission of recent GRE test scores.
- Pass the on-site admission interview.
- One of the few colleges that requires a baccalaureate degree in a related field is this one. The University of Miami wants you to have a relevant degree, whereas other universities only require you to have taken specific courses.
- A GPA of 3. English composition or writing, statistics, psychology, general biology, general chemistry I and II, human anatomy, and human physiology all require a grade of 0 or B.
- PTCAS application
I am aware that admission to these PT programs is becoming increasingly competitive. It can seem overwhelming, but if you put in the effort, I assure you that you can do it.
The university of Pittsburgh offers another excellent DPT program. It actually provides a variety of degrees, including the standard Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, the Doctor of Physical Therapy – PhD in Bioengineering (DPT-PhD), the Physical Therapy (MS), and the Rehabilitation Science (PhD).
The requirements are slightly different compared to the previous universities, let’s take a more in-depth look at them:
- A GPA of at least 3.0
- Unexpectedly, there is no minimum amount of observation time needed. However, the website is very ambiguous about it, stating only that you must provide “demonstrated evidence” and that there is no minimum number of hours needed. Then, it suggests to have at least 150 hours logged. Since there is no hard rule, as I stated in the prerequisites section, I’d concentrate on obtaining at least 50-100 hours. The more the merrier, yes, but don’t neglect your other responsibilities in order to increase your practice time.
- Three letters of recommendation are required: one from a licensed physical therapist, one from a college professor, and the third can come from either a supervisor or employer or another licensed physical therapist. The website advises that this final letter come from a person who works in the healthcare industry. This should be simple since you intend to apply to PT school.
- Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, Biology I and II, Anatomy and Physiology, Two Psychology Courses, Statistics, and English Writing are required courses for admission.
Starting to see a pattern here? All of these universities have requirements that are essentially the same. You must have the necessary prerequisite courses, letters of recommendation, observation hours, and a high GPA.
The good news is that since these courses are largely the same across all schools, if you’ve taken them, you can apply to multiple PT schools at once.
Your best course of action when it comes to observation hours is to always diversify your portfolio as much as you can. Do your best to work in three or four different settings rather than just one.
It’s not easy to get into PT schools; even those with the simplest requirements require a lot of work to be accepted.
However, now you are armed with the right knowledge. You’ll discover that it was much simpler than you anticipated if you get to work and work hard and smart.
The following step is to research the prerequisites and required courses to confirm that you are qualified. Then look into getting some observation hours in different situations. There are no restrictions on the type of work that can be done; any university can accept volunteer work.
Apply now to the PT schools that are the easiest to get into.
Is Prereq or Overall GPA More Important for Physical Therapy School?
Is getting into PT school hard?
While it%27s statistically challenging to get into PT school (around a 16% acceptance rate), it%27s a lot easier when you are certain of the requirements and know what you%27re up against in terms of your competition
Which PT school is the easiest to get into?
- University of Pittsburgh – Acceptance Rate: 59% …
- Washington University in St. …
- University of Iowa – Acceptance Rate: 83% …
- U.S. Army-Baylor University – Acceptance Rate: 30% …
- Duke University – Acceptance Rate: 10%
Can I get into PT school with a 3.5 GPA?
The majority of applicants to DPT programs have a GPA of 3. 5 or better. What doesn’t matter so much is your undergraduate major. There isn’t a single major that directly leads to PT school. It won’t matter as long as your degree program permits you to enroll in the aforementioned courses.
Is it easier to get into PT school than med school?
From a testing and background perspective, medical school is much more difficult to get into. Compared to DPT, medical school requires the MCAT, a more thorough exam, while graduate school only requires the GRE. Overall, medical school is more difficult and selective than DPT school.