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Where Can I Get a School Physical?

A Physcian Examines a Pediatric Patient's Neck

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You may wonder why your child needs a school physical every year. It's a common misconception that physicals are unnecessary. But in reality, annual school physicals can help prevent and detect serious health problems.

Your child may have subtle signs of ongoing issues, and a school physical can catch them early. Physicals can also ensure your child is fully prepared for academic and physical activities throughout the year.

So, where can you get a school physical today? Take a closer look at why school physicals are a good idea each year — and where you can schedule your child's appointment.

What is a School Physical?

School physicals are an important part of children's health care. From childhood through adolescence, your child will go through many changes. A school physical allows parents and providers to ensure children are on the right track to healthy development. The start of a new school year is ideal for completing this assessment.

A school physical looks for any signs and symptoms of underlying health problems. These conditions can even include behavioral and mental health problems, like anxiety and depression.

Annual physicals serve many purposes and promote the health and safety of every child in school.

What to Expect During a School Physical

It's important to find the right provider for school physicals. Knowing what to expect can help both you and your child prepare for their school physical exam.

Vital Signs

Your child's vital signs are a basic measure of their overall health. At a back-to-school physical, your health care provider will take your child's vital signs before beginning the rest of the exam.

Vital signs may include:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Height
  • Lung sounds
  • Weight

If all these measurements are normal, your provider will move on to the rest of the physical.

Physical Examination

Your child's health care provider will perform an in-depth physical examination to ensure your child has no obvious developing health concerns. They will evaluate both soft tissue and bone to catch developmental problems that may stunt your child's growth and well-being.

Your provider will start by checking for lumps and irregular hardness in your child's lymph nodes, stomach, and other areas. They will then examine your child's arms, legs, spine and other important skeletal areas. Your provider may also perform a reflex test using a hammer-like tool at your child's knee joint.

Discussions With Parents

If you have any concerns about your child's health, now is the time to bring them up to your provider. They will discuss any mental, physical and behavioral problems your child is facing. Most providers offer general advice on health, safety and other topics related to childhood and adolescence.

Benefits of School Physicals

School physicals can serve many purposes and promote the health and safety of every school-aged child. Here are some reasons your child's school physical is so important.

Preventive Health Checks

Health care professionals are trained to recognize signs of ongoing health problems in children. That is why school physicals play an important role in preventive health care.

At your child's annual physical, their provider will perform preventive health checks, meaning they'll look for things that can become problematic down the road, even if they're not threatening your child's health right now. Physicals can catch mild, moderate and severe problems you may not have noticed from a parent's perspective.

School physicals also help establish healthy habits in families and children, preventing future health problems. Your health care provider will discuss important topics like sleep, nutrition and physical activity.

Mental Health Support

Back-to-school time can be stressful for many children. Whether you have a pre-teen or kindergartener, a school physical can detect signs of behavioral health issues. From anxiety to depression and bullying, many mental health concerns can affect your child.

For example, suppose your child's back-to-school anxiety crosses the line into anxiety disorder territory. In that case, an annual physical can help detect that, and their health care provider will know what to look for in their mental and behavioral health.

They can also offer you suggestions to help cope with these concerns and support your child's well-being.


Vaccines are required for most children who attend public school systems. As a result, you'll need to submit updated vaccination records before each school year starts.

During your child's school physical, your health care provider can check their records and update their immunizations as needed. These routine vaccinations protect both your child and the rest of the community from dangerous contagious illnesses.

Sports Participation Clearance

If your child is going to play a school sport, they will likely need proof that they're healthy enough to do so. That's where a school or sports physical can come in. Your child's doctor can clear them for various levels of physical activity and recommend ways to stay safe in sports.

Where Can I Get a School Physical?

Most kids get school physicals from a primary care provider or a walk-in urgent care center.

Primary Care Offices

A child's primary care provider offers continuous care and knows your child's full medical history. It's important to schedule your child's school physical in advance, as many primary care offices can be especially busy during back-to-school season.

Urgent Care Centers

Routine school physicals are important, but they aren't complicated. You can trust urgent care providers to carry out medical exams just like your primary care provider. They know all the signs and symptoms to look for when evaluating children for school and sports.

Whether you're pressed for time and the first day of school is coming up soon, or you're new to the area and have yet to find new health care providers, you may want to consider urgent care for a school physical. Our AdventHealth Centra Care urgent care centers have flexible hours and allow walk-in visits, so you don't have to worry about making an appointment.

Start School with a School Physical from AdventHealth Centra Care

At AdventHealth Centra Care, we know what it takes to provide high-quality care and a comfortable experience. We offer the flexibility working parents need — so you can ensure your child's health without sacrificing your other responsibilities.

Schedule your visit or walk into one of our convenient locations today!

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