Colleges For Physical Therapy

sports medicine

Colleges for Physical Therapy – Choosing the Right School for Your Education

Thinking of a sports medicine career, or starting your search for colleges for Physical Therapy can be daunting.

In the United States you have a choice from 213 Physical Therapist education programs and 276 colleges offering certifications and degrees for Physical Therapist Assistants.

Of the 213 Physical Therapist education choices 12 offer Master’s programs, the other 201 schools all offer Doctoral Degrees.

These schools are all accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education or CAPTE.

See Below For A Detailed Listing of  Physical Therapy Colleges – Including  Contact Information

All of their accredited programs require you have completed a Bachelor’s degree before beginning in your Physical Therapy education.  Masters programs usually take 2 to 2 ½ years to complete.

Doctoral programs average 3 years of study to complete.  (Note:  Masters Programs are being phased out to be replaced by Doctoral programs over the next few years.)

Choosing The Right Colleges for Physical Therapy

There are three types of programs you need to consider:

  • Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • PTA to PT Bridge

The PTA to PT Bridge program is to help an existing Physical Therapy Assistant to continue their education to become a Physical Therapist.  This course is currently only offered by the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio.

Colleges for Physical Therapy – Finding One in Your Area

Almost every state has a sports medicine college offering courses in Physical Therapy and Sports Therapist.  One of the easiest ways to locate schools is to visit the CAPTE website.  They list all colleges by state, including schools in Puerto Rico and Washington, DC.

Determining the top Physical Therapy Colleges takes a little more work.  This is where visiting sites which evaluate programs becomes indispensable.  Make sure you read reviews about the schools you are considering.   A few of the top colleges for a Physical Therapy bachelors degree would include:

  • University of Southern California
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Iowa

These five universities were ranked as the top five colleges offering physical therapy in a 2008 study comparing programs.  Keep in mind all of the accredited schools are constantly undergoing evaluation to make sure their programs fulfill all requirements.  You can choose any accredited school with confidence.

For a complete list of Physical Therapy Colleges near you, click on the State of your choice:

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware 

District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho |Illinois | Indiana | Iowa

Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana |Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan

Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana |Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire

New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio

Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Puerto Rico | Rhode Island | South Carolina

South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington

West Virginia |Wisconsin | Wyoming


The Time Commitment to Become a Physical Therapist

Colleges for Physical TherapyYour time commitment in becoming a physical therapist is not going to be greatly affected by your choice of schools.  They each must abide by the educational requirements of CAPTE.

They all must require a Bachelors degree before you can enter into the advanced Physical Therapist training.  The difference in how much schooling to be a physical therapist will be determined more by your choice of a Masters or Doctoral program.

You can save about ½ to 1 year by selecting the Masters program, but you then do not have a Doctoral degree which carries prestige, potential higher earnings (see sports medicine salary and/or physical therapy salaries) and wider acceptance.

You will be spending approximately 4 years to attain a Bachelors degree followed by 2 to 3 years to complete your Physical Therapy education.

The Best Colleges for Physical Therapy Could Be An Easy Choice for You

There are two important criteria to keep in mind as you are choosing your college for Physical Therapy training.

1. Location

2. Cost

Location definitely contributes to the overall cost of your education, but there is a more important reason to consider location carefully. If you are intending to become licensed and practice in New York City would you believe the University of Southern California or New York University might focus more carefully on exam requirements for New York? Which University do you believe would have a greater number of contacts in the New York City area to help you find your first position or secure a residency at a preferred facility?

Cost should be a consideration only in a limited sense. Do not make a decision based upon a few hundred dollars in difference. Consider how your cost of education will be affected by travel, living expenses, communication, and other factors which can greatly affect your total education outlay. Staying within your own state can often reduce your costs dramatically.

Visiting with Medical Administrators and University Faculty to Influence Your Decision

This is an often overlooked factor in choosing colleges for Physical Therapy.  If you have a facility or institution you would enjoy working for take the time to visit with an administrator or the head of the Physical Therapy department.  Discover what University they recommend and which University they attended.

Physical Therapy Training

It is not uncommon for the hiring decision to be slightly in favor of graduates from their alma mater.  This should not be a major influence in your decision making process, but is one more item to add to the list.

After narrowing your list of choices visit with the faculty of your top choices.  Try to uncover which University has the highest success rate of students passing licensing exams on their first attempt.  In the final evaluation the most important criteria for top colleges for Physical Therapy should be your success.