Best Physical Therapy Schools In 2024

Best Physical Therapy Schools

Looking for a future as a physical therapist? You will have to choose the right school. It can be difficult to find the best physical therapy schools. But don’t worry, we are going to help you.

In this article, we will look at some of the best physical therapy schools in the USA. Maybe you want to go to an elite school or a specific program, we will talk about everything. The most important things to think about when finding best physical therapy schools lies in its curriculum, faculty expertise, accreditation and facilities.

By the end of reading this blog, you would understand how to tell apart top-notch physical therapy schools. You would come closer than ever before towards making your wish become true. So let’s begin! Are you ready to find the best physical therapy schools in the USA? 

How To Choose Best Therapy Schools?

To find the best school for physical therapy, some factors must be considered. Here are some steps which will help you make a wise decision:

1. Accreditation

You should make sure that the institution is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Through accreditation, it can be ensured that the program meets quality standards and prepares you to obtain a license.

2. Curriculum 

You should check if its curriculum fits your academic as well as career goals. Look out for programs with a wide range of courses including clinical experiences and specialization options.

3. Faculty

You should find out about faculty backgrounds and credentials. This way experienced and knowledgeable teachers can act as mentors who will enhance your learning experience.

4. Clinical Opportunities 

You must identify institutions that provide adequate hand-on practice through extensive clinical opportunities. Some factors to consider when selecting such schools include the number of clinical settings available and support given for clinical placements.

5. Facilities 

You should go to the campus or take virtual tours so that you can evaluate facilities provided by each college or university under review. It is important to pay attention to laboratories quality, equipment available and resources provided for students’ learning.

6. Student Support Services 

You should review services offered like academic advice, career counseling and student organizations for learners’ support systems that can promote their achievement level as well as well-being.

7. Location and Cost  

You should always check the location where the school is located. Having your school in an urban area will increase your exposure during hands-on experience. Having one in a rural area will surely decrease your chances. Always select a school that fits your budget while providing a location that is suitable for your academic growth. 

What to expect from physical therapy school?

Your professors will teach you about the human body. They will teach you how it works and how to fix its problems. You would be learning about anatomy, physiology, and many more subjects! You would not just read.  Labs and clinics would let you put what you learn into action and you would work with real patients. 

You can expect to get good at explaining things too, as you would chat with patients, classmates. You will meet classmates who share your passion for helping others move better and feel their best. You will learn and grow together. You would also learn to support each other through the challenges. It is tough but as you learn and practice, you will become a skilled and caring physical therapist.

List of 10 Best Physical Therapy Schools 

Choosing the best  physical therapy school online is important. It helps to launch your career perfectly in the healthcare field. To help you explore the options, we have curated a list of best physical therapy schools across the USA. Let’s dive deeper into them:

1. The University of Southern California

The University of Southern California
The University of Southern California

The University of Southern California (USC) offers a 3-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) program. The program is held for 6 semesters and 2 summer courses. It includes 115 units covering physical therapy knowledge and skills. You will gain practical experience throughout the program. You will achieve this with the help of clinical rotations. You should maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75. You must pass all clinical clerkships and meet professional standards. 

  • Established: 1880 
  • Institution Type: Private Research University
  • Acceptance Rate: 9.9%
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

2. The University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh offers a three 3 year course that you can finish in 9 semesters. Once you finish this course, you will get your D.P.T degree. This is a full-time course. All the students are required to do their final 1 year of internship once they finish their course. It is one of the prestigious therapy schools in the USA. 

  • Established: 1787 
  • Institution Type: Public State-Related Research University
  • Acceptance Rate: 66.7% 
  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

3. Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University was founded in 1942. This university offers a full time course. The course spans over a duration of 3 years. The program is not just restricted to classroom teaching. It helps the students to get clinical exposure as well. The faculty at the university is known for its excellence in the neuromuscular and the orthopedic conditions.

This is a win-win situation for the patients and the students. The in-depth knowledge provided by the faculty helps the students to expand their knowledge of the impairment movement classification. With this knowledge in hand, students can easily treat as well as diagnose the patient’s movement impairment. 

  • Established: 1853
  • Institution Type: Private Research University
  • Acceptance Rate: 13% 
  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA

4. The University of Delaware

University of Delaware
University of Delaware

The University of Delaware deals with the physical therapist program extensively. The curriculum is designed in such a way that students would develop life-long learning skills. These skills will help the students become best in their respective fields. 

The program’s main focus is to help students develop relationships between clinical research and practice. The faculty at the university believes that the university is the best place to prepare the future students and turn them into world class physical therapists. 

  • Established: 1787 
  • Institution Type: Privately governed, state-assisted land-grant research university
  • Acceptance Rate: 72.3% 
  • Location: Newark, Delaware, USA

5. University of Iowa

The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation is located in the Carver College of Medicine. This is one of the most unique departments in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The school offers degrees like DPT, MA and Ph.D. Only 40 students are admitted in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. 

The program spans over 2.5 years. It starts every year in the month of july. This is a 35 weeks program which consists of the classes and the clinical experience as well. The student is allowed to sit in the national level licensing exam once the student finishes the course in the designated time. 

  • Established: 1847 
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Acceptance Rate: 86.2% 
  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa, USA

6. US Army-Baylor University

The Army-Baylor University offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. It is a highly competitive program. This program is a 30-month program that trains students to become physical therapists in the U.S. Army. It is one of the top ranked DPT programs in the country. You must have a bachelor’s degree, a minimum GPA of 3.25 and completion of previous coursework.

You should submit an application through PTCAS by mid-September. This program combines rigorous academics with diverse clinical rotations in various military treatment facilities. After finishing this course , you would earn a DPT degree. All the graduate students must serve a 4-years active duty. 

  • Established: 1841
  • Institution Type: Joint academic institution of the Department of Defense and Baylor University
  • Location: Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas (Main campus); Waco, Texas (Baylor University affiliation)

7. Arcadia University

Arcadia University is one of the renowned universities in the USA. It offers two Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs. One is the Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and another is Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (TDPT). 

DPT programs can be completed both online and offline. The program duration is 25 months. The residential program is an on-campus program. On the other hand, the hybrid program includes online coursework. It gives the students exposure to on-campus labs and clinical experiences. 

The TDPT program is designed for licensed physical therapists. This is best for someone who wants to earn their DPT degree. It is offered entirely online. This program can be completed in 1-3 years.

  • Established: 1853
  • Institution Type: Private University
  • Acceptance Rate: 83% 
  • Location: Glenside, Pennsylvania (mailing address) with a campus in Christiana, Delaware, USA 

8. MGH Institute of Health Professions

The MGH Institute’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is one of the best in the country. It aims to prepare students for patient-centered and collaborative practice. You must have a bachelor’s degree. The course duration is 3 years. This program aims to bring clinical practice with classroom knowledge.

  • Established: 1977
  • Institution Type: Private graduate school
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

9. Northwestern University

University of Northwestern
University of Northwestern

Northwestern University is ranked 9th across the USA when it comes to DPT programs. This university offers a 32-month program. The students are expected to learn subjects like anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, and pharmacology. 

The university also offers them clinical experiences in various hospitals across the country. The students must pass the National Therapy Exam to become a licensed Physical Therapist.

  • Established: 1851
  • Institution Type: Private Research University
  • Acceptance Rate: 7% 
  • Location: Evanston, Illinois, USA (Main campus); Chicago, Illinois, USA (Smaller campus)

10. University of Miami

University of Miami
University of Miami

The University of Miami is one of the best schools in the country. This university offers a 36-month Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. This program prepares students for entry-level practice as physical therapists. 

You must have a bachelor’s degree to enroll in this program. The program starts every year in May. The program extensively deals with hands-on experience along with classroom learning. The students also get to learn about the lab work and clinical internships. 

Once the students pass the National Physical Therapy Exam, they can become licensed physical therapists. 

  • Established: 1925
  • Institution Type: Private Research University
  • Acceptance Rate: 19%
  • Location: Coral Gables, Florida, USA 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Criteria Define the Best Physical Therapy Schools in the U.S.?

The best physical therapy schools are often ranked based on criteria like accreditation status, graduation rates, licensure exam pass rates, faculty qualifications, research opportunities, and student feedback. 

2. Can Rankings for Physical Therapy Schools Vary?

Yes rankings play a vital role in choosing the right physical therapy school for your educational needs. It also helps you evaluate the services offered and the cost you would be paying to avail those services. At the same time, it would also help you to check the education standards of that school when compared to other schools. 

3. What Should I Consider When Choosing a Physical Therapy School?

There are a lot of factors that you must consider while choosing the best therapy school for you. It involves looking at the accreditation of the school, its curriculum, its faculty, the clinical opportunities offered at the school, the facilities provided at the school, the location, costs and more. 

4. Are There Online Physical Therapy Programs Available in the U.S.?

Yes there are plenty of courses available around online physical therapy. While researching make sure whether the course is online or you need to visit the school for practical exposure. Checking this aspect is a must. 

5. How Important is Accreditation for Physical Therapy Schools?

It is very important when graduating from physical therapy school. It is an essential step for licensing. Graduating from an non-accredited school can lead to problems with the license in the future. It ensures that the education in the school meets the standards set by the authorities across the country. 


When it comes to choosing the right best physical therapy schools, you need to be patient with your analysis. Choose something that fits your budget as well as your education needs. If you are looking to finish your course early, look for universities that are offering 2 years of course. If you want to get in-depth experience, choose courses that are of 3 years and more.

Look at what the school is offering you and is it something that really resonates with you. Don’t go just because your friend is going there. Carefully evaluate your options and then choose what’s best for you.

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