The information in this guide is subject to change. Please review a current catalog of the campus of your choice and consult with a counselor.
Last updated 12/15/18.
- Physical therapists (PTs) must receive a graduate physical therapy degree from a physical therapist program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and pass a state licensure exam.
- Professional (entry-level) physical therapist education programs in the United States only offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree to all new students who enroll.
- Physical therapists may apply to and complete a clinical residency program after graduation. Residencies typically last about 1 year and provide additional training and experience in specialty areas of care. Therapists who have completed a residency program may choose to specialize further by completing a fellowship in an advanced clinical area. View the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook for Physical Therapists.
- Other requirements for physical therapy practice vary from state to state.
- Additional information, including a directory of accredited programs, can be found at the Physical Therapy Association web site at http://www.apta.org/ (the above information was also taken from this web site).
- The web sites for each of the colleges listed below provide more information about specific criteria required for admission and degrees awarded by that university.
Requirements for Graduate Physical Therapy Programs
Most physical therapist education programs require applicants to earn a bachelor's degree prior to admission into the professional DPT program. Other programs offer a 3+3 curricular format in which 3 years of specific pre-professional (undergraduate/pre-PT) courses must be taken before the student can advance into a 3-year professional DPT program.
It is helpful to have a high overall grade point average (GPA) and a high GPA in prerequisite courses.
Admissions officers also look for volunteer experience as a physical therapy aide, involvement in school and community activities (e.g. sports, clubs, and social organizations), a history of leadership, letters of recommendation from physical therapists or science teachers, and strong writing and interpersonal skills.
Course Requirements (Pre-requisites) The most commonly required course prerequisites* offered at SRJC are:
ANAT 1; PHYSIO 1; CHEM 1A, 1B or CHEM 4A, 4B; BIO 2.1 and/or BIO 2.2; PHYS 20/20L, 21/21L; MATH 15; PSYCH 1A; ENGL 1A
Some programs require additional courses* such as:
PSYCH 5; CHEM 8 or 12A; MICRO 5 or 60; Biochemistry; Computer Science; Calculus
Course Pre-requisite Summary (Grid of pre-requisites for graduate school DPT programs):
http://www.ptcas.org/ProgramPrereqs/ (click pdf link)
*Check each individual university to determine which specific prerequisite courses must be completed. In addition, use http://www.assist.org to determine all lower-division major preparation courses required for your chosen major if you are transferring to a CSU (California State University) or UC (University of California).
CAPTE-Accredited Programs in California
(see Prospective Students to search for programs across the U.S.
AZUSA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
Doctor of Physical Therapy - http://www.apu.edu/bas/physicaltherapy/dpt/
Doctorate of Physical Therapy - http://www.fresnostate.edu/chhs/physical-therapy/
CSU LONG BEACH
Doctor of Physical Therapy - http://web.csulb.edu/colleges/chhs/departments/physical-therapy/
Doctor of Physical Therapy - http://www.csun.edu/health-human-development/physical-therapy
Doctor of Physical Therapy - https://www.csus.edu/college/health-human-services/physical-therapy/admissions.html
CSU SAN DIEGO
Doctor of Physical Therapy - https://ens.sdsu.edu/dpt/
Doctor of Physical Therapy - http://www.chapman.edu/crean/academic-programs/graduate-programs/physical-therapy/index.aspx
LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY
Doctor of Physical Therapy and PhD in Physical Therapy - https://alliedhealth.llu.edu/academics/physical-therapy
MOUNT ST. MARY’S COLLEGE
Doctor of Physical Therapy - https://www.msmu.edu/graduate-programs/physical-therapy/
SAMUEL MERRITT COLLEGE
Doctor of Physical Therapy - http://www.samuelmerritt.edu/physical_therapy
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SF/SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY
Doctor of Physical Therapy - http://ptrehab.ucsf.edu/ucsfsfsu-doctor-physical-therapy-dpt
This is a joint program offered by UCSF and SFSU.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Doctor of Physical Therapy - https://dpt.usc.edu/
UNIVERSITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE FOR HEALTH SCIENCES
Doctor of Physical Therapy - https://www.usa.edu/college-of-rehabilitative-sciences/doctor-physical-therapy/
UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC
Doctor of Physical Therapy – https://www.pacific.edu/academics/schools-and-colleges/thomas-j-long-school-of-pharmacy-and-health-sciences/academics/doctor-of-physical-therapy.html
WESTERN UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH SCIENCES
Doctor of Physical Therapy - https://westcoastuniversity.edu/programs/doctor-physical-therapy.html
Example Out of State Programs:
NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY - Flagstaff, Arizona
Doctor of Physical Therapy - http://catalog.nau.edu/DegreeSearch/detail.jsp?plan=PTELDPT
UNIVERSITY OF PUGET SOUND - Tacoma, Washington
Doctor of Physical Therapy - http://www.pugetsound.edu/academics/departments-and-programs/graduate/school-of-physical-therapy/
Sample of Bachelor degree programs with a pre-physical therapy option (not required for graduate school admission) – found on www.assist.org:
Kinesiology – Exercise Science Concentration, Option in Pre-Physical Therapy (Sonoma State University)
Kinesiology B.S. – Therapeutic Studies Option (CSU East Bay)
Kinesiology B.S. Emphasis in Pre-Physical Therapy (San Diego State University)
Kinesiology B.S. with Option in Pre-Physical Therapy (Humboldt State University)
Physical Education with Pre-Physical Therapy Option (CSU Dominguez Hills)