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Pre-Physical Therapy - Advising by Major


Physical Therapists (PT) provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. They restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health. The main goal of a PT is to return the patient to their full functioning independence.

Educational Requirements

Student complete a bachelor’s degree and all prerequisite courses at an accredited college or university and then apply for admission to a professional school to complete Master’s or Doctoral professional coursework, which includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical education.   

The requirements of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s School of Physical Therapy are typical of most programs.  UMB requires completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Educational Testing Service (ETS) - as well as recommendations from:  - A licensed physical therapist, - A community service experience, - An academic source.  UMB also requires the following:

  • Physical Therapy Experience - All applicants must complete a minimum of 100 hours observing the practice of physical therapy. The admissions committee strongly recommends that you complete as many hours as possible prior to submitting the application for admission. Applicants are encouraged to observe the practice of physical therapy in different clinical settings (acute care, rehab and out-patient).
  • Community Service - Acceptable service includes participation in cultural and faith-based groups, college and university clubs or national, regional, state, or local organizations.
  • CPR and Basic First Aid Certification - The CPR certification must include infant, child and adult resuscitation. Both CPR and First Aid must be complete prior to enrolling in the DPT program.

Admission to professional schools is very competitive. Contact professional programs for most current requirements. Nearby schools offering PT listed are below.  NOTE:  Most schools do not have a "Pre-Physical Therapy" major.  Students usually select a major that will allow them to take recommended courses below.  Exercise Science or Kinesiology majors most closely align with PT prerequisites.

The following are prerequisite courses typically required by Physical Therapy programs:
  • General Biology  BIOL 150 & 151
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology     BIOL 212 & 213
  • Inorganic and Organic Chemistry  CHEM 131 & 132
  • General Physics I and II     PHYS 203 & 204
  • Introduction to Psychology   PSYC 102
  • English Composition   ENGL 101 & 102
  • Statistics   MATH 117
  • Also often required, a College Algebra with Applications - closest match at Montgomery College:  MATH 165 Precalculus

Professional School Programs for Doctoral Programs in Physical Therapy 

Check each school for a list of courses required for admission:

Find other programs, as well as admissions requirements, on the Physical Therapy Application Service site, Link

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) 

This association provides a description of the profession and links to physical therapy resources on the Internet, and Physical Therapist Frequently Asked Questions

What can students do to enhance their chances of admission to a PT program?  

Candidates should have a high overall grade point average (GPA) and a high GPA in prerequisite course work. Admission officers also look favorably on an applicant's volunteer experience as a physical therapy aide, letters of recommendation from physical therapists or science teachers, and excellent writing and interpersonal skills. The physical therapist education program is a full-time commitment.

How do you compare to other candidates?  The following is a list of GPA's of admitted students at various PT Schools:

Physical Therapy Schools – MD & VA – minimum accepted GPA 


School - MD

University of Maryland – Eastern Shore 

University of Maryland - Baltimore 

School – VA

Emory & Henry College

Hampton University

Lynchburg College

Marymount University

Old Dominion University

Radford University

Shenandoah University

Minimum GPA











Average GPA of Accepted Students












Is the physical therapist assistant program (PTA) a stepping-stone to a physical therapist program? 

No. The physical therapist assistant curriculum differs from that of the physical therapist, and it does not provide the needed prerequisites required for physical therapist education.  There is only one PTA to PT “Bridge Program” offered currently in the US, through The University of Findlay, Ohio 

What's the difference between a physical therapist (PT) and a physical therapist assistant (PTA)? 

Montgomery College's program for students who wish to become a Physical Therapist Assistant is a career track designed to prepare students for immediate employment.  It is not a transfer track for students who wish to go on and become a Physical Therapist.  For many students, however, the career of PTA is in demand, rewarding and offers a faster path to employment in the field of physical therapy.  PTA Career Information: Link

Last update:  11/4/15  ads


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