Most successful candidates to a physical therapy program have gained extensive observational exposure to physical therapists who work in a broad variety of service delivery environments. In addition, effective applicants are able to obtain strong letters of reference from the physical therapists they have interacted with.
Students are expected to arrange their own PT-related work or volunteer experiences. Volunteering in the physical therapy department of a hospital or private clinic is a good place to begin.
The average number of PT experience hours to be in the range of 100-200. Students should check individual PT school requirements. All hours are weighted equally, i.e. volunteer, paid, shadow, and/or observation. Direct PT experience hours are only gained in an environment with a physical therapist on staff.