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Top Physical Therapy Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Physical therapists work with individuals who have physical impairments due to illness, injury or other medical conditions. They diagnose and assess patients' conditions and develop treatment plans, often in a collegial relationship with other medical professionals. Physical therapists must earn a postbaccalaureate degree and meet other requirements to qualify for state licensing.

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Top U.S. Physical Therapy Colleges and Schools

1. Arcadia University in Glenside, PA

Arcadia University is a small, private nonprofit college just outside Philadelphia that enrolls about 4,000 students a year in 75 areas of study, including physical therapy. In 2008, U.S. News & World Report ranked Arcadia's physical therapy program seventh among physical therapy schools accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The university offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program that can be completed in 2 1/2 years and an online transitional DPT program for licensed working professionals that can be completed in 1-3 years.

2. University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California (USC) was named the 23rd best university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, and its physical therapy program earned the top ranking among physical therapy schools in 2008 by the same publication. The school's Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy offers accredited research-centered physical therapy programs granting Master of Science (M.S.) in Biokinesiology, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biokinesiology and DPT degrees. The department also offers post-professional residencies in sports, orthopedic and neurological physical therapy.

3. Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, MO

Founded in 1854, this private nonprofit university offers more than 90 bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs. In 2011, this school was named a Best Value College for 2011 - Private by the Princeton Review. As of 2008, U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking year for physical therapy programs, Washington University in St. Louis tied for second place among schools offering accredited physical therapy programs. Available physical therapy programs include the entry-level DPT; a fellowship in orthopedics, specifically movement impairment syndromes; and a residency in women's health. Those interested in teaching and research can pursue a Ph.D. in Movement Science.

List of Ten Highly Rated Physical Therapy Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

School Name Distinction Location
Arcadia University Experiential learning trips to Guatemala, Jamaica and Peru Glenside, PA
Emory University Joint DPT/Master of Business Administration degree program Atlanta, GA
Northwestern University Joint DPT/Ph.D. in Engineering Chicago, IL
University of Delaware DTP students can work with the university's sports, orthopedic, neurologic and older adult clinics Newark, DE
University of Iowa Claims its students have 100% pass rate on the national licensure exam Iowa City, IA
University of Miami DPT and Ph.D. programs in physical therapy Coral Gables, FL
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Home to Center for Human Movement Science Chapel Hill, NC
University of Pittsburgh M.S. in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program with neuromuscular and musculoskeletal physical therapy concentrations Pittsburgh, PA
University of Southern California Orthopedic and neurologic physical therapy residencies Los Angeles, CA
Washington University in St. Louis 11 physical therapy research programs and facilities St. Louis, MO
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