Physical and Occupational Therapy One-day Observation

I am interested in observing or volunteering at CHOP Physical Therapy and/or Occupational Therapy. What do I need to know?

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) takes observers in PT and OT for one-day observation experiences:

  • We accept observers Monday through Friday.
  • You must be 18 years or older and have graduated from high school

If you are looking for a longer experience, you can volunteer at CHOP with placement in OT/PT.

I am interested in observing CHOP PT and/or OT. How do I schedule?

Please email your request to the appropriate mailbox below:

It can take four weeks to process your clearances after submission to Human Resources.

How soon can I schedule my observation?

Once you receive an email from HR that you are cleared to observe, please email the appropriate contact ( or with the following information:

  • Minimum of three available dates when you can observe in the upcoming one to two months. The more dates you provide, the easier it is for us to schedule.
  • Preferred location to observe:
    • Philadelphia Campus
    • King of Prussia
    • Brandywine Valley
    • Bucks County
    • Princeton (NJ)
    • Mays Landing (NJ)
    • Virtua in Voorhees (NJ)
  • Preferred area(s): outpatient, adolescent sports, inpatient rehabilitation, acute care, all areas

Scheduling may take an additional two to three weeks after your email to the OT and PT department.

I am interested in observing a specific specialty clinic. Can this be accommodated?

This cannot be guaranteed and is subject to the therapist’s availability and the area of practice.

I am interested in observing for more than one day. Can this be accommodated?

Due to the high volume of requests, we are only able to accommodate one-day observations.

If you are trying to attain a certain number of hours for graduate school, we recommend that you observe a variety of locations as you will not be able to achieve all of these hours at CHOP.

If you are interested in a longer-term opportunity, please refer to CHOP’s Wawa Volunteer Services for more information.

I have been scheduled for observation. What do I need to know?

For observers in the Main Hospital:

Parking and transportation

Parking is available for a fee in the Buerger Center garage. The Hospital is also easily accessible by public transportation, which we strongly recommend you use. Visit our Patient and Visitor page for directions and more information. 


Upon arrival, all visitors to the Hospital must stop at the check-in desk. Please present your photo identification to receive a visitor’s pass.

If you are scheduled to observe in outpatient or sports medicine, please arrive at the 4th floor of the Buerger Center for Advanced Care, and a staff member at the check-in desk will page the PT/OT (you will need to provide your therapist’s full name). The therapist will meet you in waiting area A.

Please allow sufficient time to obtain a visitor’s pass on the 1st floor.

For observers in CHOP specialty care locations:

  • Upon arrival, you may park anywhere in the parking lot.
  • Check in at the front desk and ask them to page the PT/OT (you will need to provide your therapist’s full name).

Preparation for the day

Please eat a good breakfast and drink plenty of water. You will be on your feet and it may be tiring, if you are not used to it.

Dress code

You should dress in business casual attire with comfortable footwear.

You may NOT wear:

  • Torn, ripped or frayed clothing
  • Midriff or off-the-shoulder blouses, sweaters or dresses
  • Tight, sheer, revealing or see-through clothing
  • Logo T-shirts
  • Spaghetti strap or strapless shirts or dresses
  • Halter tops or low-cut tops
  • Any sleeveless tops or dresses
  • Skirts (unless for established religious customs)
  • Denim jeans, Jean leggings (jeggings), regular leggings, tight-fitting/"skinny” jean type or regular knit type skin-tight pants
  • Shorts, including Bermuda shorts, flip-flops, beachwear
  • Sports attire (i.e. jogging suits, warm-up jackets and/or pants, sweat pants, or lycra leggings)
  • Hats, caps, bandanas, head scarves, durags, unless for safety purposes or established religious customs
  • Sunglasses are not to be worn indoors during observation hours unless prescribed by a physician
  • Cologne/perfumes or scented oils may be prohibited or restricted if found to have an adverse effect on patients, families or co-workers
  • Open-toed shoes or sandals; we recommend that you wear comfortable footwear as you may be walking and on your feet for long periods of time
  • Tattoos and body piercing other than in the ears should not be visible

Other considerations and expectations of behavior

The carrying, use of or wearing of all personal electronic devices (including personal cell phones, beepers, mp3 players, iPads) in clinical areas is prohibited during observation hours.

We expect professional behavior from our observers. While observing, please refrain from:

  • Consuming beverages or food of any kind
  • Chewing gum
  • Listening to personal electronic devices
  • Texting or making phone calls


You will have an hour to eat lunch during the day. You may bring or purchase lunch.

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