14 Best Physical Therapy Schools in the World

By | February 11, 2024

There are many physical therapy schools out there. But which one is the best for you? There are a lot of factors to take into account, such as cost, location, and student-to-student ratios. To help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled a list of the best physical therapy schools.

How to Apply to Physical Therapy Schools and Become a Physical Therapist | Best Graduate Schools | US News

14 Best Physical Therapy Schools in 2022


There are many different types of physical therapy schools, but the best ones offer a unique blend of education and practice. You’ll learn how to provide physical therapy services, as well as how to work with patients on a personal level. You’ll also get to know the different types of physical therapy care that can be provided. These schools also have a strong emphasis on research, so you can gain the most accurate information about physical therapy treatments.

Who Is A Physical Therapist?

As defined by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a physical therapist is a trained and certified medical expert with experience in diagnosing physical abnormalities, restoring physical function and mobility, maintaining physical function, and promoting physical activity and proper function.

Usually, certified physical therapists are found working in a range of healthcare settings which includes outpatient health care centers, private practice centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, geriatric homes, sports and fitness settings, schools, occupational settings, research centers, etc.


What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Physical therapists provide care for individuals with physical impairments. They work with people of all ages and abilities, from infants to seniors.physical therapists work with a variety of methods to help people regain their ability to participate in their community and daily lives. Some common methods include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and sign language interpretation. physical therapists also provide care for individuals who have mental health challenges.

People with serious injuries or illnesses often face difficulties in controlling pain and movement. They depend on physical therapists to help them recover. So part of what you will be doing as a physical therapist is helping patients go through all phases of healing, from initial diagnosis through the restorative and preventive stages of recovery.

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Through specific exercise programs and individual attention, these professionals help patients regain range of motion, develop strength, increase flexibility and control pain while recovering.

A sports therapist can help an athlete to maximize their performance through strengthening specific parts of the body and using muscles in new ways.

A healthcare provider or physical therapist can advise individuals about the benefits specific to their personal medical history and their need for treatment.

Below are some of the specific duties of a physical therapist:

  • Providing physical exam and evaluation, including health history and certain testing procedures, including evaluation of posture, movement and flexibility, and of muscle and joint motion and performance
  • Providing clinical diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care, and short and long term goals
  • Providing physical therapy treatment and intervention based on the patient’s needs
  • Provide self-management recommendations to the patient.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Physical Therapist?

To start your career as a physical therapist, you must acquire some appreciable level of training. You must at least earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and pass the licensing examination.

But basically, pursuing a career as a physical therapist would require about 4 years, in particular, to complete and with nothing less than 150 hours of the volunteer within a physical therapy setting or hospital.

In addition to the 4 years, you would be acquiring your bachelor’s degree, you will spend also about 3 years at a DPT program. Hence, making it a total of 7 years of education to become a physical therapist.

Meanwhile, some of DPT programs are in a six-years format in which students take pre-professional courses for the first three years. And then start up with the DPT courses for the second half of the program.

The duration of time it takes to become a physical therapist may be long but you can certainly be sure it’s worth all the time.

What are the requirements to become a Physical Therapist?

Generally, the basic education a Physical therapist requires is to complete a master’s degree program in physical therapy. That is after you must have completed your undergraduate studies in a science-related field of study.

Basically, very few undergraduate programs are specific to physiotherapy. Many university students who aspire to become physiotherapists must choose a program related to science, kinesiology, exercise physiology or biology as a specialty.

Furthermore, you will have to pass your state licensing exam to practice in the state.

The next step for you is that you must take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and the Law Exam.

To really be on top of your career, it’s advisable you also get a doctorate degree.

What is the Average GPA for Physical Therapy Schools?

Different schools may require different grades and scores to admit students into their physical therapy programs. Most of the schools require a minimum of 3.0 GPA, but the acceptance rate of many schools too may require GPA scores as high as 3.75 average. So it usually differs.

So, the advice is for you to really make some research and find out what score your dream school accepts.

Where can I find the best Physical Therapy Schools?

Physical therapy is an important service that can help improve your health. However, it’s not easy to find the best physical therapy schools. There are many different types of physical therapy schools, and they all have their own unique programs and techniques. To get started, you might want to explore the options available on our website. We’ve gathered some of the best physical therapy schools in the country, and we’ve broken them down into 10 categories.

  • University of Delaware
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Southern California
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Emory University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Iowa
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • U.S. Army-Baylor University
  • Duke University

University of Delaware

Number of Programs: 8

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Graduation Rate: 94.34%

University of Delaware has been ranked Number 1 in the list of best physical therapy schools.

The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to advance physical therapist practice by providing outstanding entry-level and post-graduate education, translating science to deliver quality clinical services, leading federally funded rehabilitation research, and training the next generation of rehabilitation researchers and leaders of our profession.

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University of Pittsburgh

Number of Programs: 11

Acceptance Rate: 59%

Graduation Rate: 82%

The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburg is among the best physical therapy schools in the world. The school is known for its excellence in academic and clinical education, and high-impact, multidisciplinary research.

The school has been leading the way to help people of all ages and stages of life to overcome movement, function and mobility challenges.

The University of Pittsburg School of Health and Rehabilitation has been listed as the second-best accredited physical therapy schools.

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University of Southern California

Number of Programs: 10

Acceptance Rate: 13%

Graduation Rate: 92%

University of Southern California has been ranked as the 3rd best physical therapist school in the world. Their three degree programs allow graduates to choose an educational path to help them reach their goals and become leaders in the field.

The majority of the students are enrolled in our pioneering, three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), which is delivered in both hybrid and residential formats. The school also offer one of the top programs in kinesiology — the study of the biological bases of movement, with a master’s degree and a PhD.

The University is leading residency programs preparing advanced practitioners in the following areas: neurological, orthopedic, pediatric and sports physical therapy.

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Washington University in St. Louis

Number of Programs: 9

Acceptance Rate: 15%

Graduation Rate: 94%

The Washington University Program in Physical Therapy is leading in advancing human health through movement, integrating interdisciplinary research, outstanding clinical care, and education of tomorrow’s leaders to drive optimization of function across the lifespan.

The Program in Physical Therapy has pioneered a unique, movement-based approach to physical therapy.

The Washington University physical therapy has been ranked as the fourth best PTschools.

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Emory University

Number of Programs: 7

Acceptance Rate: 19%

Graduation Rate: 91%

The Department of Physical Therapy has been a destination of choice for many prospective physical therapy students. There is something about the program that fosters exceptional skills, creativity, reflectivity, and humanity while instilling self-confidence as students transform into outstanding professionals.

The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to cultivate the well-being of individuals and global communities through exemplary leadership in physical therapy education, discovery, and service.

The school is the fifth-best school for physical therapy.

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Northwestern University

Number of Programs: 9

Accceptance Rate: 8%

Graduation Rate: 94%

The Department of Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University maintains the richest possible educational environment for students to acquire training in physical therapy.

Northwestern is committed to excellent teaching, innovative research and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.

Northwestern University is the sixth-best school that offers physical therapy training.

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Find other Physical therapy schools here:

  • University of Iowa
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • U.S. Army-Baylor University
  • Duke University

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Just like many other medical careers, it will take you a lot of rigorous processes to really become a licensed physical therapist. But I can tell you, the profession is worth all the rigors. By acquiring your training from any of these listed best PT schools, you can be sure of a swell time in your career.


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