Top Schools for Physical Therapy

In order to work as a physical therapist, individuals must pursue a graduate degree. Students in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs learn through academic coursework and clinical training. Continue reading to find out more about some top programs in the country.

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Top Schools with Physical Therapy Degrees

1. University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA

Established in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh is one of the oldest universities in the country and sits on a 132-acre campus. Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine named the school among the best value public colleges in the nation in 2011. In 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Pittsburgh's DPT program the second best in the country.

Students in the 3-year DPT program learn about pediatric, geriatric, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular physical therapy. Clinical placements are available in rehabilitation clinics, sports medicine facilities and orthopedic departments. The school also offers a master's degree in health and rehabilitation sciences for licensed physical therapists.

2. New York University in New York, New York

New York University (NYU) is a private university which was founded in 1831. The campus is located in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan near Washington Square Park. U.S. News and World Report ranked NYU 15th among physical therapy schools in 2008.

The Department of Physical Therapy offers numerous programs at the graduate level, including a DPT program which includes supervised clinical practice. It also offers a DPT for practicing physical therapists who want to upgrade their skills in accordance with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recommendation that all practicing physical therapists have a DPT by 2020 (www.apta.org). Other programs offered by the physical therapy department include post-professional Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy programs focusing on pathokinesiology research for helping those with physical disabilities improve motor controls.

3. Creighton University in Omaha, NE

Creighton University was founded in 1878 and is a Jesuit and Catholic university. In 1993, Creighton offered the nation's first DPT program. The entry-level DPT program offered through the university's Department of Physical Therapy lasts eight semesters and focuses on areas involving motor control, exercise physiology, physical therapy interventions, medical imaging and musculoskeletal physical therapy. It includes opportunities for general as well as specialized clinical practice in a variety of settings and geographic areas. U.S. News and World Report ranked the program the 19th best in the nation in 2008.

Ten Good Schools with Physical Therapy Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Arcadia University Offers a fully online transitional DPT program Glenside, PA
Columbia UniversityHas 560 national and international practice sites New York, NY
Creighton UniversityDean of the Graduate School received APTA's Lucy Blair Service Award Omaha, NE
MGH Institute of Health ProfessionsProvides post-professional options for licensed physical therapists Boston, MA
New York University Offers a clinical residency and weekend-intensive training in orthopedic physical therapy New York, NY
Northwestern University Physical therapy students participate in the Synthesis Project, allowing them to work in groups and focus study on a chosen topic of interest Evanston, IL
Ohio State University Division of Physical Therapy offers five clinical residency programs Columbus, OH
University of Delaware University out-patient clinic allows students to gain hands-on practice Newark, DE
University of Iowa Students have a 100% first-time pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) required for licensure Iowa City, IA
University of Pittsburgh Clinical education offered in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Centers for Rehab Services. Pittsburgh, PA
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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Alabama (2 campuses)
    • Arkansas (1)
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1)
    • Delaware (1)
    • Florida (9)
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    • Maryland (5)
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    • Associate
        • Military Physical Assistant Prerequisite Program
        • AS in Health Science
        • Nutrition and Diet Therapy
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        • Certificate - Health Administration

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