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Top 10 Physical Therapy Schools in the US

April 25th, 2011

According to U.S. News & World Report, being a Physical Therapist is one of the 50 Best Careers of 2011, with employment of physical therapists poised to grow by more than 30 percent between 2008 and 2018 (according to the Labor Department) with median annual earnings of $74,480. You’ll need at least a master’s degree from an accredited program, a state license—and perhaps more. Most students these days pursue a doctoral degree. Many schools offer only a doctorate of physical therapy (DPT), and many more states are requiring it. The doctoral program is three years, compared with two years for a master’s. So where to get a world-class education in the PT field?

Here are the Top 10 Schools for Physical Therapy:

University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy was founded in 1945 and is located in Los Angeles, California. This beautiful, culturally diverse location has something for everyone. Since its inception, the USC Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy school has been the preeminent physical therapy research center in the world. USC touts a 94% graduation rate and all graduates are placed in jobs within 6 months of graduation.

University of Pittsburgh
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the “clinical education program is integrated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and its partner, Centers for Rehab Services. Within this setting, the program offers preferred placements in all settings, including acute care, pediatrics, geriatrics, short- and long-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient facilities, sports medicine, and orthopedics, as well as a variety of clinical specialties, including women’s health, industrial rehabilitation, comprehensive spine care, balance, and vestibular disorders.”

Washington University in St. Louis
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “the program embraces the view that the area of expertise unique to physical therapy is movement dysfunction. The clinical science of physical therapy is both knowledge of the structure and function of the human organism drawn from the basic biomedical and physical sciences and knowledge of human behavior derived from the social and behavioral sciences. The curriculum is designed to educate students to examine a patient for the presence of a movement-related condition, determine a diagnosis and prognosis and, as indicated, intervene directly and/or refer to another practitioner. Courses are organized by topic and combine lecture and lab format as is appropriate.”

University of Delaware
The University of Delaware Physical Therapy Department is located in Newark, Delaware, and offers a beautiful campus for students to learn and grow in. Focusing on general studies, the University of Delaware prepares its graduates to continue their education and specialize in a given area after first learning about the field of physical therapy more broadly. The program emphasizes lifelong learning and equips its graduates with the necessary skills to be educated consumers of scientific literature.

US Army-Baylor University
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “the DPT academic program comprises 14 months of didactic preparation and 13 months of clinical experience. It includes a research requirement, a comprehensive oral examination, and a final clinical internship. The curriculum is presented on a regional approach, with the anatomy of a region being presented followed by pathology, evaluation, and treatment of the same region.”

University of Iowa
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the “University of Iowa students live and work in a place that provides for a wide range of activities and stimulation both on and off campus. Iowa City is a picturesque and thriving Midwestern city. Intellectual, cultural, social, and recreational opportunities are abundant. The program has a strong research focus that nurtures superior intellectual activity through its outstanding facilities, talented faculty, and students. The University of Iowa Health Center is one of the most advanced health science centers in the United States.”

Arcadia University
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “the program is designed to enhance learning and integration across traditional course boundaries. Cases move from simple to complex, e.g., inability to weight bear because of acute ankle sprain to inability to stand following traumatic brain injury. Since all faculty members teach in each semester, principles are revisited and reinforced.”

MGH Institute of Health Professions
MGH Institute of Health Professions is located in Boston, a culturally rich city that boasts a student population of over 250,000. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “the program values clinical experience as an essential component of professional development. Students participate in clinical experiences during each semester of study. Throughout the program, students work with different patient populations and in varied health care settings as part of their clinical education program. Although most clinical sites are located within the northeast, students are responsible for travel and housing expenses associated with clinical experiences outside the Boston area.”

Northwestern University
Northwestern University has long been known as a preeminent learning institution in all departments, and their Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement is no exception. Located just outside of downtown Chicago, Northwestern provides a culturally diverse learning experience in the nation’s third largest city. The research focus, which supplements clinical practice, successfully prepares students for a wide array of future careers.

University of Miami
Located in sunny Miami, the University of Miami’s Department of Physical Therapy offers students a beautiful beachfront learning experience. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “students participate in faculty research as part of their required course work. The majority of students present their research projects at the Annual Conference of the American Physical Therapy Association or the Combined Section meeting of APTA; all students present their research at the Annual Research Colloquium of the Department of Physical Therapy.

Once you’ve earned that prized degree, let MedPro Healthcare Staffing place you in the perfect Physical Therapy position. We specialize in placing Physical Therapists in truly rewarding assignments across the U.S.

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