When you are pursuing a physical therapy degree program and researching schools and colleges in your area, consider learning about some of the top physical therapist schools in your state or region. Some of the country's best schools offer rigorous training programs and can prepare your for a rewarding career in your field. You will need to complete at least a master's degree in your field in order to sit for the national licensing exam, so take some time to look at the physical therapy school rankings of different educational institutions you have your eye on and find out what types of graduate and doctorate degree programs are available.

Best Physical Therapy Schools in the United States

Top physical therapist schools in the United States include:

  • University of Southern California - Department of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
  • University of Pittsburgh - Department of Physical Therapy
  • Washington University in St. Louis - Program in Physical Therapy
  • University of Delaware - Department of Physical Therapy
  • U.S. Army-Baylor University - Doctoral Physical Therapy Program
  • Arcadia University - Department of Physical Therapy
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions - Graduate Program in Physical Therapy
  • Northwestern University - Department of Physical Therapy & Human Movement Science
  • University of Miami - Department of Physical Therapy
  • Emory University - Division of Physical Therapy
  • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill - Division of Physical Therapy

Applying to Top Physical Therapist Schools

When you're looking at school rankings and want to begin applying for various programs, you'll need to make sure you fulfill all prerequisite requirements and can provide letters of recommendation and other supporting documents with your application. Schools that have reached the highest physical therapy school rankings are very competitive and receive thousands of applications every year. Some of the best schools in the country require new students to hold at least a bachelor's degree in the field of physical therapy or in a related field, and to submit a personal essay or statement about their career and educational goals. Only the most dedicated and talented applicants will be admitted to programs at the top schools.

Before you begin sending applications to some of the country's best schools and training centers, you may want to get some volunteer experience in the field. Volunteering will help you gain valuable skills and experience in the field, and will also give you a chance to work closely with a licensed therapist. You will have the opportunity to work in a physical therapy setting and can figure out what branch or type of physical therapy is the best match for you.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recognizes two types of post graduate degrees. Most of the top schools offer both of these degree programs, so you will need to decide which degree would be the best match for your career and goals. The professional DPT program and the professional MPT program differ in the depth of coursework and content, and the length of training. Both programs typically require clinical education experience and will give you a chance to work on a number of hands-on projects.