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Physical Therapy Schools in Washington with Degree Overviews

Research physical therapy degree programs in Washington, which currently has nine schools offering programs. Read an overview of these programs, tuition info and program options for eight of these schools and decide which program is right for you.

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Physical Therapy Schools in Washington

Washington requires that all physical therapists (PT) and physical therapy assistants (PTA) be licensed. To be licensed in either position, an individual must graduate from an accredited, board-approved training program and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

The Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredits physical therapy and physical therapy assistant programs. There are nine schools in Washington that offer CAPTE-accredited programs. Of these nine, eight are public or private non-profit schools. This article focuses on these eight schools.

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University is located in Cheney and enrolls about 12,000 students. The school's physical therapy programs are offered through its College of Science, Health and Engineering. The university offers a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a pre-physical therapy option that requires a minimum of 90 credit hours of study. The pre-physical therapy option includes 43 credits of study in classes such as physics, abnormal psychology and chemistry. The school also allows students to create a course of study focusing on pre-physical therapy studies within its Bachelor of Science in Biology program. These programs are not accredited by the CAPTE.

Additionally, the university offers a CAPTE-accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy program that requires 161 credit hours of study and takes three years to complete. In addition to coursework focusing on subjects such as clinical anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and applied neuroscience, students in this program complete internships and clinical research.

Green River Community College

This community college is situated in Auburn and enrolls approximately 8,000 students. It offers an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant that includes a minimum of 110 credits of study. Classes in the program include functional training, therapeutic exercise and orthopedic therapy. The program's curriculum also includes multiple clinical experiences.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

The Lake Washington Institute of Technology is located in Kirkland. The institute, which enrolls about 4,000 students, offers an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant program. This 92-credit-hour program includes classes in topics such as PTA procedures, pathophysiology and lifespan psychology. Students in the program also complete several clinical experiences prior to graduation.

Olympic College

Olympic College is situated in Bremerton and enrolls about 8,000 students. It offers an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant program that requires approximately 111 credits of study. In addition to clinical experiences, students in this program complete coursework covering subjects like human growth and development, orthopedic conditions and pathology.

Spokane Falls Community College

Located in the city of its name, Spokane, this school enrolls about 9,000 students. It offers an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant that requires 103 credit hours of study. Coursework in this program includes applied anatomy, pathophysiology and physical therapy terminology. Students also complete several clinical experiences prior to graduation.

University of Puget Sound

Located in Tacoma, this school enrolls approximately 3,000 students. It offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy program that takes three years to complete. Students in this program learn about physical therapy theories, clinical practice techniques and neurophysiology. The final two semesters in this program consist solely of clinical experiences.

University of Washington - Seattle Campus

This school is located in Seattle and enrolls about 42,000 students. It offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program that requires 150 credit hours of study. The program's curriculum includes a project, three clinical internships and coursework in subjects such as kinesiology, neurophysiology and therapeutic exercise procedures.

The university also offers a Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program to licensed PTs. This program requires 12 months of study and includes clinical experiences at the University of Washington Medical Center. Students in the program learn about leadership, teaching and clinical practice.

Whatcom Community College

Whatcom Community College is located in Bellingham and enrolls about 5,000 students. The college offers an Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program that is available in a traditional, in-person format or an online, part-time format. The on-campus program requires two years of study. Classes in this program cover subjects such as PTA procedures, clinical neurology and tests and measures.

The part-time online program takes approximately three years to complete. The first year of this program is dedicated to general education courses, while the second two years are dedicated to PTA coursework. Students in this program must visit campus about once a month.

School Comparison Table

School Name School Type & Setting Physical Therapy Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)
Eastern Washington University 4-year, public; fringe town Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a pre-physical therapy option,
Bachelor of Biology with a specialization in pre-physical therapy studies,
Doctor of Physical Therapy
$7,933 for in-state and $18,678 for out-of-state students*
Green River Community College 2-year, public; small city Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant $3,961 for in-state and $10,047 for out-of-state students*
Lake Washington Institute of Technology 4-year, primarily associate's, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant $3,875 for in-state and $9,061 for out-of-state students*
Olympic College4-year, primarily associate's, public; small city Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant $3,726 for in-state and $4,197 for out-of-state students*
Spokane Falls Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant $3,467 for in-state and $8,657 for out-of-state students*
University of Puget Sound 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Doctor of Physical Therapy $40,250*
University of Washington - Seattle Campus 4-year, public; large city Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program
$12,383 for in-state and $29,938 for out-of-state students*
Whatcom Community College 2-year, public; rural fringe Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant $4,065 for in-state and $9,415 for out-of-state students*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator.

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