What Are The Top Physical Therapy Schools?

physical therapy school

Physical therapy is a popular career choice and there are top schools across the country

In a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal’s Career Journal physical therapy was rated as one of the eight best careers. In some of the other surveys it ranks second in job satisfaction, next only to the clergy. This proves why physical therapy is one of the most flourishing and lucrative professions of today. This occupation has its application in the restoration, maintenance and promotion of optimal physical functions of the human body. The satisfaction of witnessing tangible improvement in people’s lives is what drives an aspiring student to choose this profession.

Physical therapy programs and their pre-requisites

Once you have made up your mind to select physical therapy as your profession it is very important that you start acquiring the necessary qualifications for it. There are several schools in the United States that offer a number of different degrees in this field. Some of these schools offer a program at the undergraduate level. A Student has to complete the required undergraduate training for 2 to 3 years. After completing the necessary training, a Bachelor’s degree is awarded. For admission into a graduate program of 2 to 3 years, the student must already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. Once they have completed their graduate program, they can further opt for a master’s degree if desired.

Most of the renowned schools in this area accept students with grade points between 3.5 and 4.0. Therefore, a grade lower than 3.5, might make it very difficult to gain admittance into the best schools in the country. Low grades can be supplemented by participation in health related voluntary service. While the specific admission requirements vary from one school to the other, some of the common pre-requisites for any PT school are a minimum of one year of studying Biology, a minimum one semester of Physics and Chemistry, and credit hours for other fields of science. The General Record Examination or GRE is a common test that all students need to take for admission into the master’s program. There are some schools that also require the Allied Health Professions Aptitude Test or the AHPAT. Some of the common subjects include courses in biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as specialized courses such as biomechanics, neuroanatomy, human growth and development, manifestations of disease, examination techniques, and other therapeutic procedures.

Top physical therapy schools and ranking criteria

The search for the best physical therapy schools which will cater to your exact needs is both time consuming and effort intensive. Physical therapy school rankings depend on several deciding factors such as program cost, school location, National Examination pass rate, classes required, available financing or scholarships, etc. Amongst all the accredited PT schools here are the top ten, their ranks, scores and distinctions.

Ranked #1: University of Southern California; Los Angeles, CA; score 4.4. This school’s Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy offers an accredited research-centered physical therapy program awarding 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.

Ranked #2: University of Pittsburg; Pittsburg, PA score 4.3; offers a Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation with neuromuscular and musculoskeletal physical therapy concentrations.

Ranked #3: Washington University in St. Louis; St. Louis, MO boasts of 11 physical therapy research programs and facilities.

Ranked #4: University of Delaware, Newark, DE score 4.2; students that attend this university can work with the university’s sports, orthopedic, neurologic and older adult clinics.

Ranked #5: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA score 3.9; claims its students have 100% pass rate on the national licensure exam.

Ranked #6: US Army-Baylor University; Fort Sam Houston, TX score 3.9 and Arcadia University; Glenside, PA score 3.8 which offers learning trips to Guatemala, Jamaica and Peru.

Ranked at #7 are five universities: MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA with score 3.8; Northwestern University, Chicago, IL offers a joint DPT/Ph.D. in Engineering.

University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL offers DPT and Ph.D. programs in physical therapy.

Emory University, Atlanta, GA; score 3.7 offers a joint DPT/Master of Business Administration degree program.

By choosing any of the above schools, you will benefit from the assurance of their proficiency and get exposed to some of the best faculty members in the entire country. Once you get the offered degree, finding a placement will become much easier with their name on your CV.

How to choose the right school

It is important to remember, whatever the criteria or distinctions of a school might be, the ultimate selection depends on personal needs and situation, because it is unique for every student. Experts offer some tips to help in the selection process. It is vital to determine the personal expectations from a school and the requirements of the different schools. Before beginning to map the two it is vital to choose a focus area. For some the focus is on the program offered, for others it is the fastest response time. There are several other elements worth considering. If a student needs a residential environment or is considering an out of state school, then it is important to focus on universities offering a dorm or boarding facilities. Some of the schools prefer adult learners; therefore make sure to check the average age of the students accepted. If a student is looking to supplement their tuition and wants to work, the credit hours of the program is important. A school with part time programs or offer teaching assistantship might be suitable in this case. Some schools are culturally and geographically more diverse than the others. This is a significant factor for maximizing the learning experience. The class size could also be important to some students. All of these factors are vital for fostering a conducive academic and social environment for a student. It could be essential to ponder upon these points before the final decision is made. These valuable tips will make the selection process both efficient and effortless.

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