Physical Therapist

Interview of Karlyn Dauplaise, physical therapist, Florida Hospital, and physical therapy alumna, University of Central Florida (UCF)
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Quick Facts

  • 100% - (ATHLETIC TRAINING) First-time pass rate on the certification exam by 2016 graduates
  • 2nd - (HEALTH SCIENCES) Ranking among the 15 most popular majors at UCF in 2016-17
  • 12 - (PHYSICAL THERAPY) Ranking among "100 Best Jobs" by U.S. News & World Report

Mailing Address

Department of Health Professions
College of Health and Public Affairs
University of Central Florida

4364 Scorpius Street
Orlando, FL 32816-2205

Phone: 407-823-2214
Fax: 407-823-2596

Frequently Asked Questions

  • General Program

    When should I apply to the AT Program? What must be done and what can be in progress?

    There is only one admissions process each year. Applications are due March 1st, unless March 1st falls on a weekend or holiday.  If this happens, applications are due the Monday following March 1st. Students must have the pre-requisites completed or be in progress with their final pre-requisites during that spring.

    Students must complete the 100 observation hours requirement before applying. Most students complete these requirements and are able to apply by the spring of their sophomore year. Applications are located online at /hp/athletic-training-program/.

    Where can I find the application?

    The program application can be found online at: /hp/athletic-training-program/admissions/


    How do I complete the 100-hour observation requirement?

    The 100 hour observation requirement is an opportunity to observe an athletic trainer (AT) in action. The person being observed must hold the credential of ATC®.  The aim of the observation hours is to show the student what a "typical" athletic trainer position entails and to give the student an idea of what clinical assignments will be like once in the program. The hour requirement must be complete at the time of application.


    Possible locations to complete observation hours include the Sports Medicine Department of the UCF Athletics Association (contact Jarrett Schweim at, the UCF Recreation and Wellness Center (contact Gabrielle Bell at, area high schools, and area outpatient rehabilitation facilities. At least 50 hours must be completed at a high school, college, or professional setting. The other 50 hours can be completed at the location of the student's choice.


    Documentation of completed observation hours is required and must be in the form of a verification letter from the athletic trainer(s) observed.  The verification letter must meet the following requirements: 1) be on company letterhead; 2) include the name and credentials of the athletic trainer(s) observed; 3) include the nature of the experience and total hours observed; and 4) include contact information and a signature of the athletic trainer. If multiple ATs were observed at the same setting, a letter from one athletic trainer that provides the necessary information is sufficient. If ATs were observed at different settings, a letter from each setting is required.  Most ATs will want the student to use a spreadsheet to track their observation hours.


    Students must complete training in bloodborne pathogens prior to beginning observation hours with an athletic trainer.  The American Heart Association offers an online course that can be found at Other companies offer online instruction as well. The course chosen must meet OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens standard.  Students should be prepared to show proof of course completion in order to complete their observation hours. Students completing observation hours may NOT engage in any activity that they are not trained for and/or that might present a violation of Florida AT licensure laws.

    What prerequisites are necessary to apply for the AT Program?

    Pre-requisite and AT Program course information can be found by visiting our webpage, accessing the catalog and locating the Athletic Training B.S. page. The link is The Undergraduate Student Services advisors (HPA 2, 115), Kristen Schellhase (Program Director, HPA 2, 121), Jennifer Plant (Clinical Education Coordinator, HPA 2, 122) and Carlos Gual (Instructor, HPA 1, 271) can also assist with this.


    PHY 2053C is a co-requisite.  Students need not complete it before applying to the program.  However, students are strongly advised to take it before entering the program because it is a pre-requisite for a course in the spring of the junior year and scheduling that course for the summer B or fall semesters is quite difficult. Scheduling physics during the summer A or fall should be a last resort. Scheduling physics during summer B or C is not allowed because it would interfere with the commitment required of an AT student.


    CHM 2045C is not a pre-requisite for AT. However, at UCF, either CHM 1032 (3 CR, no lab required) or CHM 2045C (4 CR, lab required) or the "split   chemistry option" (CHM 2040 + CHM 2041) is a pre-requisite for physiology (PCB 3703C) which is a pre-requisite for the AT Program. Students who are interested in graduate programs in PT, PA, MD or other health field should be aware that CHM 2045C is a very common pre-requisite for those graduate programs and this higher level CHM class will likely be expected for those programs. A placement test is required to enter CHM 2045C.  Please consult the Chemistry Department for details on how to sign up for the placement test ( If students are transferring to UCF with the physiology requirement already completed, they would not need the chemistry course as it is not a pre-requisite for the AT Program.

    I plan to take a prerequisite course at another institution, is that OK?

    The AT Program is not concerned with where a pre-requisite course is taken. Only that it is an acceptable equivalent course. A list of equivalent courses can be found in the "transfer notes" section of the AT Program page in the UCF Catalog ( or on the Florida Virtual Campus list of Common Prerequisites Manual (  UCF students who plan to take a course elsewhere need to file a "Transient Form". Information on being a transient student can be found at

    How many students are accepted each year? How hard is it to get in?

    The AT Program generally accepts 28 students each year. Meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure acceptance.  The AT Program is a restricted access program and has a competitive admissions process. The AT Program has stringent entrance criteria. Students are evaluated on four      criteria: Overall GPA (minimum of 2.75 required); pre-requisite courses completed (or in-progress with final pre-requisites the semester of application); 100 hour observation requirement completed; and a letter of interest. Selected students will be interviewed and the interview is used as a significant basis for admissions decisions.

    What are the practicum courses 1-4? What is the internship like?

    Students are sent into clinical sites during four semesters of the program. The program attempts to expose students to a wide variety of sports including upper extremity (ex. volleyball, softball) lower extremity (ex. soccer) equipment intensive (ex. football, lacrosse), and general medical conditions (rotations with a family practice physician). In addition, the program attempts to provide students the experience of working with male and female sports and semester-long single sport exposure (and possibly travel with the team). Internships provide students the opportunity to use knowledge and skills they learned in the classroom. Internships are assigned by the Clinical Education Coordinator. Students do not need to find their own place to intern once they are in the AT Program.  Placement decisions are made by the Clinical Education Coordinator.



    What is the time requirement for the internships?

    The time requirement varies with the location are assigned. Schedules are highly dependant on games, practices, and sport seasons.  Students generally put in 16-22 hours a week during an internship. Students must understand that internship time requirements are outside of the standard university calendar and outside of standard class hours.  Internships often require attendance on late nights, early mornings, weekends and semester breaks. Once admitted, students are expected to consult the Clinical Education Coordinator, Jennifer Plant, before planning to be out of the area. Family vacations, jobs and other outside activities are not considered adequate reasons to miss internship requirements.  Students who work jobs in excess of 10 hours per week, or participate in other extracurricular activities (like fraternities and sororities) will find that the AT Program schedule is intense and dynamic. While the AT Program does not forbid these kinds of outside activities, they are not allowed to interfere with AT courses or practicum/internship requirements. Only students with exceptional time management skills will be able to do both.

    What other courses should I take to fill my schedule?

    Students who have almost completed pre-requisites but cannot yet apply to the program are advised to develop a meaningful schedule. There are several options for students who have room in their schedule.


    Applicable minors are Health Services Administration, Health Sciences, Fitness Training, Sport Business Management, and Education. PT/MD/PA pre-requisites or education courses may also be of interest to an AT student.

    Students interested in being an athletic trainer at a high school are advised to take subject area courses (ie take physics courses if you want to teach physics) and/or education courses and investigate Florida teaching certificate requirements (

    Other courses of interest include:

    • Upper Extremity Function and Measurement (ATR 3203C)
    • Lower Extremity Function and Measurement (ATR 3204C)
    • Injury, Management and Rehabilitation (ATR 3312C)
    • Professional Development in the Health Professions (HSC 4008)
    • Medical Self-Assessment (HSC 3110)
    • Preventive Healthcare (HSC 3211)
    • Clinical Nutrition (HSC 4572)
    • Health Psychology (CLP 4314)
    • Pathophysiology I and/or II (HSC 4555 and 4558)
    • Introduction to Pharmacology (HSC 3147)
    • Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases (HSC 4501)
    • Occupational Safety for the Healthcare Professional (HSC 3432)
    • Medical Terminology (HSC 3537)
    • Health Law and Ethics (HSC 4652)
    • Health Sciences Research Methods (HSC 4702)
    • Applied Health Research Methodology (HSC 4730)
    • Exceptional Populations in School and Society (EEX 2090)
    • Writing about Health and Medicine (ENC 3453)
    Do I need to be an athletic training major if I want to be a physical therapist? Is an athletic training degree going to help me get into physical therapy school? What is the difference between a PT and an AT?

    Many people are confused about the difference between AT and PT. While there are some similarities in the disciplines, students should understand that there are major differences in patient population and scope of practice. An AT usually works with a population that

    includes physically active individuals who are young adult to middle aged. ATs very often treat musculoskeletal conditions, but are also trained for some general medical concerns (illnesses that affect sport participation) and trauma (ex. Spinal cord and head trauma).  The job of an athletic trainer includes prevention of injury, recognition and evaluation of injuries and illnesses, emergency care, rehabilitation, and administration. ATs provide immediate care for those who sustain injuries, and often continue providing care as the patient goes through surgery, rehabilitation, and return to play. ATs perform on-field evaluations and make "return to play" decisions during competitive events.

    Physical therapists do not generally do most of these things. Physical therapists treat a wider age range of patients and a wider diversity of physical concerns (ex. neuro, burns, MS, CP). Students must also understand that the work settings are very different in many cases.

    Although some ATs work in an outpatient rehabilitation environment (like a PT might), most work in high schools, colleges and professional sports where hours will be more varied (long hours/early and late/holidays and weekends are common), environment will be harsh at times (heat/humidity/rain), and the patients are often very dirty. Students who desire to be in the AT Program must be excited by the description of an athletic trainer and not simply using the program as a bridge to Physical Therapy. If a student is not interested in the above description of an athletic trainer, they are encouraged to investigate the Health Sciences Pre-Clinical major in the College of Health and Public Affairs.

    What is the difference between personal training and athletic training?

    ATs primarily deal with medical issues. Personal trainers mainly deal with strength and conditioning, aerobic fitness, and nutrition.  However, there is some overlap because ATs also use principles of strength and conditioning and nutrition when rehabilitating athletes. ATs must possess a 4 year degree from an accredited institution and sit for the Board of Certification (BOC©) examination. To be a personal trainer, one only needs to sit for an examination.  No formal academic training is required (for certain certifications). If a student is interested in personal training, they may want to consult the College of Education advisors about a Sports and Exercise Science Major or a Fitness Minor.


    How can I stay involved with athletic training before I gain admittance to the AT Program?

    There is a club associated with the AT Program called SATO. This club is open to students interested in getting into the program and those who are already in the program. To find out more and get on an email list write to The program also has a Facebook page.  You can "like" us through "UCF AT Program".

    Can I have a job and still be in the Athletic Training (AT) Program?

    As adults, students must make this decision on their own.  The AT Program mandates that outside activities cannot interfere with internship courses.  Internship courses happen during the fall and spring of each year, and are VERY time intensive.  Some involve early mornings, late afternoons, weekends and/or holidays. In addition, schedules are highly dynamic, changing often at the last minute.  Most outside employment interferes with that kind of schedule. It is not acceptable for a student to tell their internship that they can only work certain days of the week, or certain times of the day. If the internship has a scheduled day off, students may use that time as they please.


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Program Contact

Contact the program office for general program information and questions.

Office: HPA II - 119
Phone: 407-823-2747
Fax: 407-823-2596



Our new student organization, the Health Awareness Prevention Society, focuses on promoting a healthy lifestyle by increasing awareness of healthy living through education and prevention.
— Suha Saleh,  Assistant Professor, Health Sciences Director
It was great to see Jennifer [Plant] honored with the statewide Athletic Trainer of the Year Award. She is an exceptional teacher, a professional leader and an amazing colleague.
— Kristen Schellhase,  Interim Chair, Athletic Training Director
The event [for children with disabilities] was a huge success. We had about 30 children, and the students did a phenomenal job. I'm already receiving inquiries about next year's event.
— Jennifer Tucker,  Physical Therapy Instructor
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