Physical Therapy FAQ (2023)

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Is there a ranking of physical therapy programs?

The American Physical Therapy Association does not rank programs. The accreditation process assures quality in physical therapy education.

How can I enhance my chance of admission to a physical therapy program?

A high overall grade point average, especially in the prerequisite course work, and exploring as many aspects of the field as possible are helpful in the admissions process. A record of observations in a variety of physical therapy practice settings, excellent writing skills, participation in community service, volunteer activities, good interpersonal skills, and above average GRE scores are additional areas of emphasis. Ongoing community service is strongly recommended.

What factors should I consider in selecting an educational program?

Personal considerations such as geographic location, cost, class size and faculty composition will help you decide on a program. Additionally, the design and length of the program, including the availability of face-to-face faculty interaction, should be included in the decision process. Present students, recent graduates and employers of graduates are good sources of information.

Is the physical therapist assistant program a stepping stone to a physical therapist program?

No. The curriculum of the physical therapist assistant student differs from that of the physical therapist and does not provide the prerequisites needed for physical therapist education. However, there are accredited programs that are designed to permit experienced physical therapist assistants to continue working while they attend a physical therapist degree program. UMMC does not offer this type of program.

What are the course requirements in the sciences?

Prerequisite science courses include two biology courses with lab, two chemistry courses with lab, two physics courses with lab, and one advanced (300 level or higher) physical or biological science course with lab (e.g., genetics, histology, comparative anatomy, embryology, microbiology). Some advanced science courses may not include a lab. Science courses with lab that will count for science major credit are appropriate. Science courses designed for non-science majors will not meet specified prerequisite requirements and are not acceptable for a prerequisite course. In addition, a statistics course (education, math or psychology) is required and must be taken at a four-year college or university in one of the three departments specified.

At least 5 of the 8 prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the fall semester in which the application is submitted. Applicants accepted for admission must successfully complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or above and the prerequisite and overall GPA must be a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, with final grades documented by the official transcript.

(Video) TOP 5 PHYSICAL THERAPY FAQ | Ask The Expert with James Watson

Is Human Anatomy and Physiology accepted as a prerequisite course?

Combined anatomy and physiology courses are not accepted to fulfill the two biology course prerequisite requirements.

Even though combined anatomy and physiology are not required prerequisite courses, students have commented that the content was helpful during the DPT program.

Will online coursework meet the pre-requisite course requirement?

In-person classes are strongly recommended but online courses, through an accredited university, are accepted. Consult with the DPT pre-admission counselor prior to enrolling in an online course.

What undergraduate degree should I have?

An undergraduate baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year college or university must be completed in addition to the specific pre-requisite course requirements to be eligible to enter the program. All entering students are required to have an undergraduate degree. A particular degree or course of study is not recommended by the program; likewise, applicants are encouraged to choose a degree or course of study that will meet their personal career goals and provide opportunities for employment upon graduation. Although the application process is competitive, no particular major or course of study ensures acceptance or adequate preparation for pursuit of the professional physical therapy degree. Graduate courses cannot be used to substitute for pre-requisite requirements and graduate level grades are not considered for overall and prerequisite GPAs.

What Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required?

No minimal score required. Verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections of the examare required. In order for the test results to be received in a timely manner, complete the examination at least one month prior to the application deadline to give GRE adequate time to report the score to UMMC. GRE scores must be received by the Office of Enrollment Management by the application deadline.

When can I apply?

Applications are available in July preceding the date of enrollment. Students must apply for the program during their final year of enrollment or after completion in a baccalaureate program and be admitted contingent upon successful completion of the degree program. All prerequisites for the program must be completed with a grade of "C" or higher and a minimum overall and required GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale before enrolling in the program.

How do I apply?

(Video) FAQ So what is a Physical Therapist

All applicants must complete the online application and pay the application fee byNov. 1.Specific instructions for completing the DPT application are provided on thePhysical Therapywebsite. Support documents required to complete the application include the resume, essay, plan of study, and documentation of observation hours(note: observation hours for the class entering May, 2023 are waived due to the continued effects of COVID-19). Transcripts from all universities attended must be submitted. The application may be saved during the application process and prior to submitting it.

What are the qualifications of program faculty?

The academic and clinical faculty includes a diverse group of credentialed professionals and outstanding educators who are recognized for their expertise. Expertise within the program faculty includes clinical practice specialty areas, administration and research.

Faculty members actively publish and make poster, paper and workshop presentations regularly. They are recognized as leaders in professional and scientific associations locally, nationally and internationally. Faculty members encourage students to become actively involved in the professional association.

Can I apply to more than one program on the medical center campus?

Students mayapply to multiple programs. Each admissions process is a separate activity.

What is the length and sequence of coursework within the program?

The program is three calendar years in length beginning in May. Learning activities within the program include lecture, practical laboratory experiences, interprofessional education activities and clinical education assignments. The first year of the program focuses on classroom and laboratory activities on the campus. The second and third years include more clinically applicablecoursework and clinical education experiences. The clinical education experiences require the student to temporarily relocate with at least one experience being at an affiliated organization outside of the state and one being out of the metro Jackson area. Students are responsible for their own living expenses during this time.

Is there a waiting list?

No. Students who are not accepted for admittance during one enrollment year must submit a new application for any other enrollment year. This includes all forms, documentation and transcripts. Upon selection of the class, an alternate list is generated. Once the class is enrolled, the alternate list is closed.

If documented on my college transcript, will Advanced Placement (AP) or CLEP courses meet any of the prerequisite requirement(s) for application to the physical therapy program?

Neither AP nor CLEP courses will meet any of the specified prerequisite course requirements for entry into the physical therapy program.

(Video) FAQ Frequently Asked Qestions about Physical Therapy

What is the average GPA of students accepted into the program?

The average GPA is usually over a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. The range is from a 3.00 to 4.00. To be considered for admission, both the overall GPA and the pre-requisite GPA must be at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. in addition, a grade of "C" or higher must be earned for any required course.

Will the MCAT, GMAT or a foreign doctor of medicine degree substitute for the GRE pre-admissions requirement for the DPT program?

No. The GRE will not be waived.

What is the eligibility of out-of-state residents?

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is a state-supported institution. As such, preference is given to Mississippi residents, however, up to 10% of the total class may be non-residents of the State of Mississippi.

What is the salary for a physical therapist?

The salary for a beginning therapist is dependent upon the type of clinical setting, the size of the community and the region of the country.

How many students are accepted each year into the entry level program?

One class of up to 50 students isadmitted each year. Classes begin during the summer semester. The available resources, market demand and the number of qualified students determine the class size.

How many observation hours are required? How do I get the hours? Who arranges them?

Applicants are required to have a minimum of 40 hours of observation in physical therapy departments or practices. A maximum of 20 hours may be used from any one site. Observation in a variety of clinical settings is encouraged. The observation forms are posted on the physical therapy webpage; applicants may print as many forms as needed. An observation form from each clinical site must signed by a licensed physical therapist withthe license number included. Observation hours must be in the current calendar year of the application. Hours earned through employment will not be accepted. No more than a total of 20 hours may be counted from all internship experiences completed for a degree. Applicants are responsible for arranging their own observation hours.

(Video) FAQ What is my responsibility in physical therapy

Due to the effects of COVID-19, the observation hour requirement for the class entering May 2023 is waived.

Can I work or attend the program on a part-time basis?

The program is not designed for part-time enrollment. The educational program is sufficiently intense that employment limits necessary study time. Work is discouraged and a variety of financial aid opportunities are available.

May I visit the School of Health Related Professions, Department of Physical Therapy, prior to applying?

Each year SHRP has two planned visitation days to acquaint potential students with the programs available at UMMC-SHRP. The days are scheduled in the spring and fall of each year. Specific dates can be found on the SHRP website. Personal appointments may be scheduled with a representative of the PT Department by emailingDr. Joy Kuebler,Physical Therapy Pre-Admission Counselor, or calling(601) 984-5587.

Planned campus visitation days may be presented through webinar or on campus. Please refer to the websitefor specific dates, times, and locations.

Is on-campus housing available?

Housing is not available. However, many local rental and purchase properties are available throughout the Jackson metro area. Visit the UMMC off campus housing site for more information.

When and where may I complete an application?

The online DPT application is open byJuly 1of the year preceding enrollment. All information requested in the online application must be completed.

All applicants pay a non-refundable application fee of $25. All support documentation must be received by the Office of Enrollment Management byNov. 1. More information may be obtained from the Office of Enrollment Management.

Lauren Hester, Student Admissions Officer


Office of Enrollment Management
University of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 N. State St.
Jackson, MS 39216-4505
(601) 984-1080


What is hardest thing about being physical therapist? ›

Significant Physical Demands

As a PT, you can be required to lift patients out of their beds and help support them as they walk or perform floor exercises during their treatment. Therapists are on their feet throughout the treatment phase, guiding the patient to achieve their physical health objectives.

How many times a week should you do physical therapy? ›

How long does physical therapy treatment take? A typical order for physical therapy will ask for 2-3 visits per week for 4-6 weeks. Sometimes the order will specify something different. What generally happens is for the first 2-3 weeks, we recommend 3x per week.

How long does it take to feel better after physical therapy? ›

A good physical therapist will track progress and check whether you are making gains in range of motion, function, and strength. Generally, soft tissues will take between six and eight weeks to heal, meaning that a typical physiotherapy program will last about that long.

Can you overdo physical therapy? ›

Balancing Physical Therapy and Rest

While your recovery is heavily influenced by your strength and mobility, it is still possible to overdo it if you aren't careful. Your physical therapist will talk to you about ways to balance physical therapy exercises and activities with proper amounts of rest.

What is the biggest issue in physical therapy? ›

7 Most Common Problems in Physical Therapy
  • #1. Hygiene. ...
  • #2. Telehealth. ...
  • #3. Adapting Your Physical Therapy Practice For COVID-19. ...
  • #4. Patient Retention. ...
  • #5. Physical Therapy Practice Management. ...
  • #6. Staff Management. ...
  • #7. Career Growth. ...
  • #1. Maintain High Hygiene Standards.

What can a physical therapist not do? ›

Physical therapy never includes sex. It also never includes verbal sexual advances or any other kind of sexual contact or behavior. Sexual contact of any kind in the course of a physical therapy treatment is illegal and unethical.

How long is a normal PT session? ›

A typical physical therapy session lasts 30 to 90 minutes and is scheduled 2-3 times per week. In most cases, treatment may begin immediately following your physical therapist's initial evaluation. Additionally, most patients will attend an evaluation and follow-up sessions for a faster healing process.

Does physical therapy include massage? ›

Yes — Physical therapists perform a variety of massage techniques including: Active Release therapy. Trigger point release. Soft tissue massage.

Should you rest after physical therapy? ›

Just remember that rest is an extremely important part of the healing process. Taking part in rehab exercises is key to gaining strength and mobility back in the injured area. With that being said, there must be rest days in between; without it there will be no progress.

How much pain is OK during physical therapy? ›

Physical therapy should never cause true pain

However, physical therapy should never cross over from discomfort and soreness into true pain. The point at which you begin to experience real pain is the point at which you should stop your PT regimen and consult with your therapist.

What happens after physical therapy is done? ›

After finishing physical therapy, you should be significantly stronger than when you began and be left with plenty of exercises to continue your journey. Make sure you stay on the right track by continuing to strengthen your body. Take that gym membership off hold, sign up to work with a trainer or take some classes.

What should I do after physical therapy session? ›

Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, applying as often as you feel necessary. 2. Drink water >> Soreness after a physical therapy session may be related to local inflammation, which produces waste products the body needs to eliminate.

What is the 8 minute rule in physical therapy? ›

8-Minute Rule Basics

Basically, a therapist must provide direct, one-on-one therapy for at least eight minutes to receive reimbursement for one unit of a time-based treatment code.

How do you know if physical therapy is working? ›

Of course, each treatment program is tailor to each person's need, so your results will be unique. But generally, after each appointment, you should notice improvements in movement and a reduction in pain. If you do not feel you're progressing, tell your therapist about your concerns.

Can PT make an injury worse? ›

We know many patients out there are afraid of physical therapy because they assume it will make them feel worse than they already do. This is not true, as physical therapy is actually designed to strengthen the muscles around your injury or medical condition to make you feel better over time.

What are barriers to physical therapy? ›

Barriers To Physical Therapy Care Include Insurance Plans, Co-Pays And Physician Referral Patterns. There are a number of factors to consider when you choose a physical therapy provider. You will want a convenient center with a welcoming staff of licensed professionals and hours that fit your schedule.

What is the most common physical therapy? ›

The most popular physical therapy specialty is orthopedic physical therapy, which involves treating conditions of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints.

What are 5 things physical therapist do? ›

Here are five of the most important things that a physical therapist does:
  • Regain Movement and Function After an Injury or Illness. ...
  • Help Patients with Sports Injuries. ...
  • Help Patients with Back Pain. ...
  • Improve Quality of Life. ...
  • Help Reduce Pain & Improve Joint Function.
10 Nov 2022

What are 3 things a physical therapist does? ›

Physical therapists examine each person and then develops a treatment plan to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function, and prevent disability.

Do you have to touch people as a physical therapist? ›

Physical therapists need to touch patients to feel layers of muscles and joint mechanics.

How long are you sore after physical therapy? ›

However, the muscle heals over the next 24 to 48 hours and is better able to work, and thus over the eight weeks, your muscle gets stronger. It can perform more work for more extended periods.

How long is physical therapy for back pain? ›

But on average, patients can expect to be in physical therapy for six to eight weeks as strength and mobility progress with every session. If your back pain continues to be severe or even worse, physical therapy may take longer or may be recommended after surgical intervention.

What does a typical day for a PT look like? ›

Consulting with patients to learn about their physical condition and symptoms. Diagnosing movement dysfunction and developing a treatment plan. Teaching patients how to properly use therapeutic exercise techniques. Providing stimulation or massage to promote healing.

What are the two types of physical therapy? ›

6 Common Types of Physical Therapy You Should Know
  • Neurological Physical Therapy. ...
  • Occupational Physical Therapy. ...
  • Geriatric Physical Therapy. ...
  • Pediatric Physical Therapy. ...
  • Rehabilitative Physical Therapy. ...
  • Hand Physical Therapy. ...
  • These Types of Physical Therapy Works Wonders.
17 Aug 2020

What do you wear to a physical therapy massage? ›

When you're heading to physical therapy treatment, it's important to dress comfortably and appropriately, keeping these six tips in mind.
  • Wear clothing that gives you full range of motion.
  • Dress in clothes that allow access to your pain points.
  • Avoid clothes that could chafe or dig into you (no zippers)
8 Sept 2022

Do you tip for physical therapy massage? ›

We spoke to two etiquette experts, who suggested leaving a 15% to 20% tip, if you're able. Twenty percent is generous for the massage therapist and easy on the brain, which may be feeling more relaxed than ever after a massage.

Should I drink water after physical therapy? ›

After PT. When the OSR Therapists stretch and massage your soft tissue, your body's regular fluid buildup release is accelerated. This leaves your body with less fluid than it is able to replenish. This is why it's really important to drink plenty of water following your session with us.

Should you ice or heat after physical therapy? ›

It is recommended to ice periodically during the first 48 hours after acute injury. Physical therapists generally use ice to reduce inflammation after manual therapy or exercise.

Should you take pain reliever before physical therapy? ›

To maximize the patient's participation, it may help to give pain medication, like aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen, thirty-to-sixty minutes before physical therapy to prevent incidental pain.

Can PT help nerve pain? ›

Physical therapy helps treat and alleviate the physical symptoms of stiffness, inflammation, and soreness associated with nerve pain. But it can also be utilized to help the neuropathic pain healing process.

Does physical therapy reduce inflammation? ›

Several different kinds of physical therapy programs have proven to be effective in reducing inflammation. The patient's condition, affected area and cause of the inflammatory response will determine the exact treatment plan.

What usually happens at physical therapy? ›

Your PT will walk you through specific stretches and exercises that are meant to help you move and feel better. You might use state-of-the-art equipment, or simple workout equipment like bikes and treadmills. Your PT will oversee all the exercises that you do during your session.

What usually happens in physical therapy? ›

Physical therapists (PTs) often ask patients to use exercise equipment like bikes and treadmills. A PT also may treat the affected area with heat or cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage, and even aquatic therapy (exercise in a swimming pool).

Why do I feel tired after physical therapy? ›

Muscle fatigue

You may find your muscles feel very tired or even shaky after a physio session. If your therapy is intended to help you build muscle tone and regain strength, this is to be expected. Rest, hydration, and proper nutrition will speed your muscles' recovery.

How many minutes is 3 units for PT? ›

52 minutes

How many units is 25 minutes physical therapy? ›

For example, a manual therapy session that lasts 10 minutes is one billable unit. The same goes for a therapy session that lasts 20 minutes. A session that lasts 25 minutes is two billable units. The 8-Minute Rule chart below will help you understand how many units to bill based on the amount of time spent on care.

How many therapy units is 40 minutes? ›

40 minutes total treatment time. The 40 total treatment time falls within the range for 3 units (see chart). In this instance, you would bill 2 units of 97110 and 1 unit of 97140.

How long does physical therapy last a day? ›

In the outpatient physical therapy setting, your session of physical therapy will generally last from 30-60 minutes, but longer is not always better. The quality and intensity of your physical therapy session can also vary.

When does physical therapy not work? ›

The number one reason physical therapy treatment doesn't work is when there's pain that is sharp, electrical, or burning that never goes away, according to ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio Founder, Dr. Karyn Staples, PT Ph. D.

What if something hurts while doing physical therapy? ›

If you feel anything more, especially sharp pain after or during a PT session, you should address it right away. This way, your therapist can react and modify your treatment. Communication is key because every person experiences the exercises and stretches differently and has a different threshold for pain.

Is pain good in physical therapy? ›

Good pain, or discomfort, is a necessary part of the healing process. As you put time and effort into your therapy your body will begin to recover and the pain will continue to lessen. The key to successful physical therapy is your involvement. Put in the work, even when it's uncomfortable, and you will see results.

What is stressful about being a physical therapist? ›

Physical therapists were found to be most stressed with professional role conflicts.

Is becoming a physical therapist hard? ›

It is fairly hard to become a physical therapist.

It requires getting accepted to a highly competitive physical therapy program and years of advanced schooling. To work as a physical therapist, for instance, means completing a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

Is becoming a PT difficult? ›

Getting into PT school isn't easy. For the 50% of people who are accepted into Physical Therapy school, you're in for a challenging 3 years.

What is unique about being a physical therapist? ›

Based on their distinctive knowledge and training, physical therapists provide a unique perspective on purposeful, precise, and efficient movement across the lifespan and use movement-related interventions to optimize functional capacity and performance.

What challenges do physical therapist face? ›

The Biggest Challenges Facing Physical Therapists Today
  • The Legislation on Healthcare. ...
  • The Expansion of Telehealth Services. ...
  • Practice Adaptations. ...
  • Retaining Patients. ...
  • Staying Healthy. ...
  • Hygiene Concerns of Employees and Patients. ...
  • Management of The Practice. ...
  • Employee Management.

Is physical therapy harder than nursing? ›

Physical therapists usually require more education than nurses. In the United States, physical therapy students must complete a doctoral degree, which often takes about seven years. A nurse may practice at much lower levels of education—the fastest route for starting a career in nursing is a two-year associate degree.

Is being a PT worth it? ›

If you're an extroverted person who enjoys getting to know people over the course of a workday, physical therapy may be a career that you enjoy. Physical therapists can help patients get their mobility or activity level back, making this a rewarding career for people who enjoy nurturing working relationships.

How long is a physical therapy degree? ›

The traditional DPT program is three years, but some programs compress academic requirements into a shorter time span, which could help you manage the total cost of your education experience and enter the field faster.

Is physical therapy a fun job? ›

Job Satisfaction

Physical therapy and PT-related occupations are consistently rated as one of the most enjoyable careers and job opportunities every single year.

How do you survive PT school? ›

In order to be successful in Physical Therapy school, it's helpful to create routines and study habits that fit your learning style. Look for ways to maximize the downtime (even if it's only a few minutes a day) and use technology and online resources to supplement your learning.

Can you PT without a qualification? ›

You should be prepared to complete an educational program that results in an official certification. This is not legally required. In fact, no state has a law requiring personal trainers to be certified.

Where do physical therapists make the most money? ›

10 States Where Physical Therapists Earn the Most Money
RankState2018 Mean Annual Wage
3New Jersey$97,770
4New Mexico$97,210
6 more rows
4 Apr 2019

Why is physical therapy so amazing? ›

It's is a way for patients to improve movement, manage pain and prevent or recover from injuries or other physical conditions. Therapists examine each patient, and with them create a treatment plan that over time can help them experience less pain, move more freely, and restore proper function.

What is an everyday life for a physical therapist? ›

A physical therapist conducts her evaluations, treats her patients, documents all treatments (often written documentation can take 20-30% of the work day) attends inservices, which are educational training sessions for physical therapists by in-house and outside experts, and participates in interdisciplinary meetings.


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