Navigating the Physical Therapy Program Application Process

The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) allows PT applicants to use a single web-based application and one set of materials to apply to multiple PT education programs. The purpose is to facilitate the admissions process for applicants and programs, promote the physical therapist profession and educational programs to a broad spectrum of applicants, and provide rich applicant data for institutional, regional, and national analysis.

A list of participating programs and instructions are available on the PTCAS website. Not all professional PT education programs participate in PTCAS. Applicants who wish to apply to a NON-participating PTCAS program must apply directly to the institution using the PT program’s local application.

The PTCAS application cycle begins in July for each admission cycle. For example, if you hope to begin physical therapy school in Fall 2017, you would begin the application process in the summer of 2016. You may start your PTCAS application as soon as it is available. The Early Decision deadline is in mid-August of each year.

Each PTCAS program has selected a firm or soft deadline. Programs may move from a soft to a firm deadline at any point during the cycle.

  • Firm Deadline – You cannot apply to the program after the deadline has passed.
  • Soft Deadline – You can still apply to the program after the deadline has passed, but the program may give less or no consideration to your file if you apply after the deadline.

Deadlines Sorted by Program can be found at this link.

Many PT programs have multiple deadline dates or operate on a rolling admissions basis. Review the PT program admission requirements in the Directory before you apply.

We recommend that you apply early! PTCAS processing may take up to 4-5 weeks once all required materials are received.

In addition to the PTCAS application, PT programs may require you to send a supplemental application, fee, and materials directly to the institution. The supplemental application deadline may be the same as the PTCAS deadline or different. Review the PTCAS Directory for supplemental instructions.

PT programs may also require competitive applicants to visit the campus for an interview. The interview format varies by institution. Applicants may be required to speak with a single faculty member, a student, a physical therapist, or a panel of interviewers; or participate in an orientation program.  Applicants should be prepared to discuss why they have chosen to pursue a career in physical therapy and how they perceive the role of physical therapists in health care. During the interview, applicants may be rated on their oral communication skills, professional behaviors and attitudes, ability to interact in a group, knowledge of the profession, ability to solve problems, and motivation to pursue a career in physical therapy. The applicants’ written communication skills may also be measured with an on-site essay.