How To Write a Physical Therapy Recommendation Letter in 8 Steps

Writing a physical therapy cover letter can feel entirely daunting. If you’re not a writer, you might spend hours agonizing over the process of getting every single word right. This can cause you to spend tons of time on a single application for a physical therapy job, while you might be wise to send out applications to 2-3 jobs at a time.

Getting the BEST Letter of Rec for Physical Therapy School

What to include in a recommendation letter for physical therapy

A recommendation letter is an opportunity to highlight the qualities, talents and accomplishments of a candidate you know. Here are some elements to include in a recommendation letter for physical therapy:

Why is it important to write a letter of recommendation for physical therapy?

A physical therapy letter of recommendation is important for candidates seeking a physical therapy job, promotion or admission to a PT school or program. This document provides employers or admissions committee members with official proof of a candidates credentials, skills and work ethic and acts as an integral element in a job or program application, along with a resume and cover letter. In addition, its a significant factor in an employers hiring decisions and it helps employers choose the best candidate for a role. Writing an engaging and professional letter can provide many advantages to everyone involved.

Here are some benefits that recommendation letters provide to candidates:

Here are some benefits that recommendation letters provide to the supervisors, professors, mentors or other professionals who write them:

How to write a physical therapy recommendation letter

Here are eight steps for how to write a physical therapy recommendation letter:

1. Ask the candidate for information

Gather as much information as you can from the candidate. Ask them to send you their resume, cover letter and any essays to learn about their qualifications and understand their motivations for seeking a PT job. You might also look through the candidates previous school work if youre their professor. Examine their projects, papers and reports to remind yourself of their performance in your class.

2. Include a topic sentence

Start your letter with a strong topic sentence to explain the reason youre writing the committee. Mention the candidate youre recommending by name so the employer can keep track of the candidates application documents. It can also be helpful to reference the company or program name for which the candidate is applying.

3. Mention your qualifications

Briefly mentioning your own qualifications as a professional in the physical therapy, health care or academic field can show that you have the proper credentials to judge performance and success. Outline your own professional background, including your educational credentials, work accomplishments and practical skills. Adding creditability to your letter can help you develop a more compelling case for your candidate.

4. Describe your relationship with the candidate

Discuss the relationship you have with the candidate. You may be their professor, supervisor or another mentor figure. Be specific about how long youve known them and under what circumstances. Clarifying your relationship with them shows you can measure their abilities well.

5. Discuss 2 or 3 examples of the candidates skills

Include two to three specific examples of how the candidate has used their skills in academic or professional environments to achieve measurable results. Consider using the STAR method by describing the situation, task, action and result for the activity. Study the job description to gauge what qualities the employer is seeking. Then, highlight that the candidate possesses those.

6. Add a powerful concluding statement

At the very end of the body of the letter, write a powerful concluding sentence to ensure the employer remembers your recommendation. Emphasize your enthusiasm about recommending the candidate for the school by using a phrase like, “Without a doubt” or “Unequivocally.” You may also end the letter by describing the dedication, strong work ethic and other positive qualities of the candidate.

7. Mention that youre available to provide additional information

Sometimes, an employer may have further questions for the author of a recommendation letter. They may seek additional context about a previous job, project or another application element. For this reason, make sure to emphasize the fact that youre available for contact. Include your contact information, email and phone number, at the top or bottom of your letter. Consider mentioning your office hours or availability times to make it clear and easy for the committee to communicate with you.

8. Address and sign the letter

As a recommendation letter is a formal application document, its critical that you can address and sign it professionally. At the top of the document, outline your name, job title and work or school address. After writing the date, include the name, job title and address of the recipient. To end the letter, sign your name in print and signature form. Repeat your job title and include your phone number and email. Use company or school letterhead, if you can.

Template for a physical therapy recommendation letter

Heres a template that may help you in writing your own recommendation letter:

[Full name of writer]
[Job title of writer]
[School or company name]
[School or company address]


[Full name of recipient]
[School or company address]

Dear [Recipient],

Im writing to recommend [candidate name] for [job title or program position]. Ive known [candidates name] for [amount of time youve known the candidate] as my [student or employee] at [school or company name]. Throughout our relationship, Ive found [candidates name] to be [a description of the top, positive and relevant qualities of the candidate].

[Two to three examples expressing the academic and professional skills and accomplishments of the candidate.]

As a [your job title] with [years of experience or other impressive qualifications], Ive worked with [number of students or employees youve supervised]. [A description of how the candidate compares to other students, employees or professionals in the field.]

In conclusion, [concluding statement]. If I can provide any additional information on [candidate name]s behalf, please dont hesitate to contact me.

[Full name of writer]
[Job title of writer]
[Phone number of writer]
[Email of writer]

Example of a physical therapy recommendation letter

Reviewing the following example of a PT recommendation letter may assist you in your writing process:

Luke Colson
Clinic director
Green Grass Health
1111 North St., Richmond, VA 23224

21 December 2021

Johnson Physical Therapy
2222 South St., Seattle, WA 25143

Dear Johnson Physical Therapy,

Im writing to recommend Barbara Smith for the job of physical therapist at Johnson Physical Therapy. Ive known Ms. Smith for over four years as my employee at Green Grass Health. She started as a summer administrative intern and, after completing PT school, became a PT assistant. Throughout our relationship, Ive found Barbara to be an intelligent, organized and caring individual who invests a large amount of time in helping others and gaining professional skills.

Barbara has shown her excellent health care and customer service skills through her high level of performance in the clinic. Every client shes assisted has left a positive review through our automatic poll system. In addition, one of my favorite qualities of Barbara is her commitment to overcoming challenges. Once, when a customer was expressing frustration at the pain they felt, she worked with them to calm them and establish clear goals for pain reduction. The customer noted, “Barbara listened to my concerns, addressed them and made me feel more hopeful about my treatment plan.”

As a clinic director with over 10 years of experience in the PT field, Ive worked with over 100 employees. Out of all of them, Barbara has shown unparalleled kindness and positivity. Wherever career path she takes, I can guarantee that she excels in her duties. Without hesitation, I suggest you select her for this position. If I can provide any additional information on her behalf, please dont hesitate to contact me.

Luke Colson
Clinic director
[email protected]


How do I write a letter of recommendation for a physical therapist?

Recommendation letters should be professional in tone and should focus on highlighting your skills and experience. Recommendations should include strong vocabulary and be persuasive in tone. The letter should convince the reader to hire the person being written about. Personal anecdotes are helpful.

What should a letter of recommendation include for PT school?

What is a recommendation letter?
  • Physical Therapists (most programs will require a letter from at least one that you’ve shadowed)
  • Physical Therapy Assistants.
  • Advisors.
  • Professors/Teaching Assistants.
  • Employers/Supervisors.
  • Co-workers.
  • Healthcare Professionals.
  • Politicians.

Do you need letters of recommendation for physical therapist?

Many physical therapist programs require one to four letters of reference (also known as “letters of evaluation” or “recommendations”) as part of the admissions process. You may need to submit references from a particular individual, such as a physical therapist, science professor, or academic advisor.

Are therapists allowed to write recommendation letters?

The therapist-client relationship is not a professional, academic, relationship. Contact with a therapist is based on a therapeutic relationship. The primary job of a therapist is to provide services, not to write a recommendation. A therapist cannot provide an objective perspective on your professional competencies.

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