Professional Development

Pre-PT students should plan to spend some time outside of the classroom dedicated to learning about the field they are interested in working in. Some PT programs require a minimum number of observation hours in the field. Spending time in the clinical setting, watching and working with a licensed physical therapist can be helpful. In addition to the required minimum number of hours, pre-PT students should be seeking out experiences that will allow them to: 

  • Explore the profession in multiple settings 

  • Develop transferable skills that will aid in both the educational and professional setting 

  • Demonstrate cultural competence 

  • Utilize critical thinking skills 

  • Practice leadership  

To develop and demonstrate competence in these areas, students may choose to work or volunteer with a licensed PT or in another clinical setting such as a hospital or rehabilitation center. Pre-PT students may also choose to consider participating in student organizations on campus, hobbies related to their passions, interests and goals, or employment outside of the clinical setting.  

To aid students in recording these experiences on their PTCAS application, students should consider tracking their experiences. The PMHSC offers pre-health students an Activity Tracker template to keep things organized and encourage reflection.    

Outside of developing professional competencies, pre-PT students should be working to build solid relationships with the mentors and supervisors they work with. Each PT program will require a specific number of recommendations to accompany the application. Engaging in work, volunteering, and hobbies outside of the classroom gives pre-PT students the opportunity to meet individuals who are able to observe applicants and provide strong letters of support.