Physical therapists (PTs) play an integral role in every school district. However, before a physical therapist can practice in the school setting, they must first attend an accredited university. Currently, in the United States, there are over 200 different physical therapy schools and programs. Deciding on which to attend can be an overwhelming decision to make.
Deciding on a Physical Therapy Program
When trying to decide which physical therapy school or program to attend there are several things to take into consideration before you commit. First, you need to decide what type of program you would like to attend. There are different lengths of physical therapy programs that vary based on if they are a full-time or part-time program. The cost of tuition is another major deciding factor for many students. Looking to see if a school is private or public and in-state or out-of-state are two huge contributing factors to cost. Another important thing to look for when choosing a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is the average class size and the ratio of students to teachers. Lastly, look at the acceptance rate, enrollment size, and passing rates.
One alternative for aspiring physical therapists is to attend a 3+3 DPT program. Traditionally, students receive an undergraduate degree in four years and then apply to a graduate DPT program after that. However, some students who are determined to become a physical therapist can take three years of prerequisites, followed by three years of a graduate program with a 3+3 DPT Program. The benefit of choosing this route is that the student's curriculum is entirely focused on physical therapy.
Best Physical Therapy Schools
The U.S. News and World Report surveyed academics to determine the best health schools in America. One portion of the survey was specifically focused on finding the best physical therapy schools in the country. There was a four-way tie between the University of Delaware, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Southern California, and Washington University in St. Louis. Even though these four are considered the best colleges for physical therapy, there are still high-caliber PT schools across the country.
If you have questions regarding specific DPT programs, check with the American Physical Therapy Association's (APTA) website to find the schools that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).