Physical Therapist Observation Hours

  • See also PT Observational Requirements by Program 

    Enter all of your paid or volunteer physical therapist (PT) observation hours on the application. If you have observed a physical therapist in more than one setting, select Add New Entry for each additional experience. If you are a physical therapist assistant (PTA), enter your paid experience in this section. Paid experience may or may not be accepted by your designated programs. Your designated programs can view your PT experiences as part of your application, regardless of whether the hours are verified by a physical therapist.

    Program Requirements

    Not all programs require PT hours or a signed form as part of the admissions process. Review the Directory for program-specific requirements. PTCAS will not determine if you met the PT hour requirements for your designated programs.

    Verification Required

    If PT hour verification is required one or more of your designated programs, follow the instructions below.

    Electronic PT Signatures (STRONGLY PREFERRED)

    • Select the "ELECTRONIC" verification type.
    • Enter the e-mail address for PT.
    • After entering the experience, click the "SEND FOR VERIFICATION" button for that entry from your list of experiences.
    • Alert the PT to watch for an automated e-mail with the subject "PTCAS Observation Hour Verification Request."
    • If PTCAS e-mail is not received, instruct the PT to check spam/junk e-mail folders as some e-mail servers filter out messages from PTCAS.

    Paper PT Signatures

    Use this option if the physical therapist does not have Internet access or previously verified your PT hours on a different form (e.g., university form).  

    • Select the "PAPER" verification type
    • Print the PTCAS observation hours verification form (PDF) for that particular experience.
    • Each bar-coded form is unique to both you and the physical therapist.  
    • Deliver the form to the physical therapist.
    • Arrange for the signed form to be mailed to PTCAS.
    • If the physical therapist previously signed a different (non-PTCAS) form to verify your hours, attach it to the PTCAS verification form and send both forms to PTCAS in a single envelope.
    • Send only one signed form per experience, regardless of the number of programs you designate.

    Verification Not Required

    If PT hour verification is NOT required by any of your designated programs, follow the instructions below. 

    • Enter your PT experiences on the application.
    • Select the "ELECTRONIC" verification type for each.
    • Do NOT click the “Send for Verification” link next to the experience, once listed..
    • Alternatively, if an e-mail address for someone associated with the experience is not available, list the experience as “PAPER”. Do NOT print or submit the PT observation hours verification form. Please note: You cannot update PT hours with “paper” verification type after you e-submit your application.

    Name of Physical Therapist

    Enter the name of a LICENSED physical therapist that supervised you during the experience and/or can verify your PT hours.

    Requesting a Reference?

    Select YES, if you plan to ask the PT above to also submit a reference on your behalf. If you select "YES," you must also enter the individual's information in the References section.

    PT License Number

    If unknown, leave item blank.

    State of PT License

    If unknown, leave item blank.

    PT E-mail Address

    E-mail address is required for electronic PT signatures. You cannot change the e-mail address after the experience is saved in your application.

    Type of Experience

    If you work(ed) as a PTA, PT aide, athletic trainer, or other type of employee at this facility, select “Paid”. If you were a paid employee at the facility and also accumulated unpaid PT observation experiences, select “Both”. All others should select “Volunteer”.

    End Date

    If experience is planned or in-progress, enter the anticipated end date or leave item blank, as appropriate. 

    Select the PT Setting

    If you experienced multiple settings with the same PT, add a new entry for each experience separately in this section. An inpatient facility generally admits patients overnight. An outpatient facility has no overnight patients. Enter the number of hours completed and the number of hours planned/in-progress for each setting.

     Acute Care Hospital  Physical therapy is provided to individuals that are admitted to a hospital for short term patient care for reasons such as illness, surgery, accident, or recovery from a trauma. The goal in this setting is to discharge the person as soon as they are medically stable and have a safe place to go.
    Rehabilitation/Sub Acute Rehabilitation
    Use this category for both types of settings described here:

    Rehabilitation Hospital
    : Physical therapy is provided to individuals that are admitted to a facility or rehabilitation unit with the goal of providing intense therapy to improve the person's ability to care for themselves (typically three hours or more per day);

    Sub-acute Rehabilitation
    : Physical therapy is provided to individuals that are admitted to a special hospital that provides medical and/or rehabilitation care. The rehabilitation is less intense (typically less than three hours per day)
    Extended Care Facility /Nursing Home/Skilled Nursing Facility  Physical therapy is provided to individuals that are admitted to a facility that typically cares for elderly patients and provides long-term nursing care, rehabilitation, and other services.
    Free Standing PT or Hospital Outpatient Clinic  In this common physical therapy setting, individuals visit a physical therapist in a clinic, office, or other healthcare facility primarily to address musculoskeletal (orthopedic) and neuromuscular injuries or impairments.
    School/Preschool  Physical therapy services are provided within an educational environment, including preschool, elementary, or secondary education (high school and vocational) facilities.
    Wellness/Prevention/Fitness  Physical therapy services are provided to individuals with a focus on wellness. This approach to healthcare emphasizes preventing illness and injury and promoting healthy lifestyle, as opposed to emphasizing treatment of diseases.
    Industrial/Occupational Health  Physical therapy services are provided to individuals primarily to help them return to work or for the purpose of enhancing employee health, improving safety, and increasing productivity in the workplace.
    Home Health
    Physical therapy services are provided to individuals in a home setting rather than in a medical facility.  

    Indicate Physical Therapy Patient Diagnoses / Populations Observed

    Check off all that apply to the experience at the facility. Do NOT check off boxes for populates that the facility serves, but were not observed during the experience.

    End Date

    If experience is planned or in-progress, enter the anticipated end date or leave item blank, as appropriate.

    Updating PT Hours After You E-Submit

    You can update the PT Observation Hours section after you e-submit your completed application to PTCAS if the experience is listed as “in-progress” and is being verified electronically. Any changes will move your PT experience to “unverified” status. Your designated PT programs may not consider updated or unverified PT experiences in the admissions process.

    After E-Submitting Your PTCAS Application, You Can ...

    • add new PT experiences to the application,
    • make edits to in-progress and planned PT experiences if verified electronically,
    • request a physical therapist to verify an updated or new PT experience,
    • NOT make edits to PT experiences previously marked as "Complete,"
    • NOT make edits to PT experiences which have a status of "Verification Requested," and
    • NOT make edits to PT experiences previously marked with the "paper" verification type (regardless of whether PTCAS has received a signed PT hours verification form for the experience).

    Verification Request Denied

    Electronic Verification Denied

    • PTCAS e-mail will describe why the experience was not verified by the PT.
    • Login to your PTCAS application.
    • Click "Update" button to make necessary edits to PT experience.
    • Save changes.
    • Click the "Send for Verification" button.
    • Once re-submitted for electronic verification, PTCAS will automatically e-mail the PT again with instructions on how to verify your revised PT hours or make further recommendations for edits.

    Paper Verification Denied

    • Paper verification request is denied due to inaccuracies
    • Enter a new observation experience on your application with the correct information.
    • Print the verification form (PDF) for the newly entered experience.
    • Deliver the revised paper form to the physical therapist.
    • Arrange for the signed paper verification form to be mailed to PTCAS.
    • Contact PTCAS to have your incorrect PT experience removed from your application.

    Verification Request Rejected

    • You will receive an e-mail from PTCAS letting you know the request has been rejected.
    • Check to be sure you have sent the request to the correct PT, facility, and e-mail address.
    • Update any incorrect contact information and resubmit it to the correct PT for verification.

    PT Hours Verified on Old or Non-PTCAS Form

    Applicants are encouraged to have their PT observation hours verified electronically through PTCAS at the time they apply, rather than use a paper form. However, applicants with PT hours previously verified on an old PTCAS (or other) paper form are not required to have those hours re-verified using the new 2013-14 form. Once ready to apply, follow the steps below:

    • Enter the PT experience on the application.
    • Select “paper” verification type on the application.
    • Print the bar-coded (PDF) PT hours form for that experience.
    • Attach the bar-coded (unsigned) form to the previously signed form, so that can be matched to your file.
    • Send both documents to PTCAS in a single envelope.