Physical Therapy Colleges in Miami, FL with Degree Program Info

The Miami area has 4 colleges that offer physical therapy programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for 3 of these schools, all within 15 miles of downtown, and make an informed education decision.

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Miami Schools with Physical Therapy Programs

This article looks at 3 schools within a half-hour of downtown Miami that offer physical therapy programs.There is also a table of information about each school, such as enrollment, tuition and the school types, which could be useful to individuals as they make a decision on their education. Following this is a brief paragraph about another area school with a relevant program.

  • Only 5 miles from the city center, the University of Miami (UM) provides Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy programs.
  • Miami-Dade College (MDC), about 6 miles from downtown, offers a physical therapy assistant program at the associate's degree level.
  • Florida International University (FIU), 12 miles from the heart of Miami, offers a doctorate in physical therapy.

University of Miami

The University of Miami's Department of Physical Therapy is part of the Miller School of Medicine and offers 2 physical therapy programs. Both doctoral programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Physical therapy residencies are available at the Miami Children's Hospital.

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Students who earn the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree are prepared to work as entry-level general practitioners of physical therapy. Applicants to the DPT program must have a bachelor's degree and 100 hours of physical therapy observation under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. With an emphasis on research, community service and quality patient care, UM's physical therapy doctoral program requires 32 weeks of internships that take place at the end of the second year and during the third year of study.

First-year courses include anatomy, therapeutic exercise and neuroscience. Students in their second year study electrotherapy, pharmacology, geriatric physical therapy and pediatric physical therapy. In the final year, students learn about rehabilitation, health promotion and medical diagnostic tests. Research is required during each year of the program.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy

Physical therapists interested in research and leadership roles can earn a PhD in Physical Therapy at the University of Miami. To enter the program, candidates must have advanced master's and Bachelor in Physical Therapy degrees or an entry-level DPT degree, in addition to being licensed in Florida as a physical therapist. The PhD program teaches candidates the advanced research and communication skills that are required for teaching physical therapy and advancing the field. Learning takes place through completion of a dissertation project, which concentrates on motor control, outcomes or prosthetic and amputee rehabilitation.

Students take core courses in their concentration, including research and education/teaching. For example, they can participate in biological research through the anatomical sciences track or undertake research in the motor control area of physical therapy, advancing the knowledge of amputee rehabilitation. Students examine the end results of health practices in the outcomes research concentration.

Miami-Dade College

The School of Health Sciences at Miami-Dade College offers both certificate and associate's degree programs in allied health. Students can pursue careers that include dental hygienist, sonographer, physician assistant and first responder. There is also a physical therapy assistant program at the school that was established in 1967.

Associate in Science in Physical Therapy Assistant

Students enrolled in the physical therapy assistant program must complete 74 credits of general education and science courses. The program teaches students how to perform therapies that involve massage, exercise, hot and cold pack treatments and electrical stimulation. Courses cover topics in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, therapeutic procedures, rehabilitation procedures and neurological deficits. The clinical portion of the program is completed in a Miami Dade County healthcare facility.

Florida International University

Florida International University (FIU) offers over 200 programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level. Housed in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, FIU's physical therapy program teaches students to practice physical therapy through medical simulation, rehabilitation, and biomechanics laboratories and media classrooms. There are 10 full-time faculty members and several adjunct professors.

Doctorate in Physical Therapy

Among the prerequisites for the DPT degree are a bachelor's degree and at least 60 hours of observation at a physical therapy facility. Degree candidates learn about medical and health sciences and practice clinical techniques through experiential problem solving. Students in the program have an opportunity to learn about movement and function, therapeutic exercise, diagnostic imaging, musculoskeletal diagnosis and pathophysiology of disease. Florida International arranges internships for physical therapy students in Miami and at locations around the world. Students spend 34 weeks out of the nine semesters working in a clinical setting.

Comparison of Schools

There are many factors to consider when choosing a college. The following table showcases important information so prospective physical therapy students can compare their options.

University of Miami Miami-Dade College Florida International University
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year, primarily associate's; public 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2011) 16,068* 62,736* 44,616*
Campus Setting Large suburb Large city Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $39,654* $3,164 in-state, $11,309 out-of-state* $5,678 in-state, $18,077 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2011) 81%* 81%* 91%*
Acceptance Rate (2011) 38%* N/A - Open admissions 51%*
Retention Rate for First-time Undergraduates (2011) 91% full-time, 100% part-time* N/A 82% full-time, 63% part-time*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (2011) 78%* 25% (13% transfer-out rate)* 43% (6% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

More School Options

Students in the Miami area can also pursue a DPT program at Nova Southeastern University, which is about 25 miles from the city.

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