Top Physical Therapy Schools in the US For You to Consider

The demand for physical therapists is growing by the day. There are hundreds of schools that have amazing programs for physical therapy. With so many different options, we know you’re asking yourself, “What school is the best one for me?”

We know it can be difficult to filter through the hundreds of different colleges, universities and grad schools to find the perfect one to fit what you need. That’s why we took it upon ourselves to find the top physical therapy schools for you!

After some research, we’ve narrowed it down to 10 of the top physical therapy schools all across the United States. Each school has its own unique programs and educational opportunities. Read on to explore and find out what the best option is for you to start your career in physical therapy!

Top Physical Therapy Schools

The University of Delaware

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First, on our list, we have the University of Delaware. This is one of the top physical therapy schools and is ranked number one in physical therapy by U.S. News. This school is set on producing the top “rehabilitation research scientists.”

They offer a wide range of studies and research, all made by the faculty and with the help of students. There are research labs and facilities, each designed for specific types of research. This ensures each student is given the best opportunity to learn and experience as much as they can.

Both entry-level and post-graduate forms of education are available. The University of Delaware has options for everyone, whether they are starting out or continuing their education.

Also, the average graduation rate from the University of Delaware is approximately 95%. The employment rate among graduates is 100%.

The University of Pittsburgh

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U.S. News ranked The University of Pittsburgh as number one. UP has one of the oldest physical therapy programs in the United States. There are three forms of training, entry-level, advanced, and doctoral training. Whatever you need, there is bound to be a program to fit what you need!

There are four major programs to choose from. 

  • Physical Therapy
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy with a Ph.D. in Bioengineering
  • Rehabilitation Science

Each of these programs has a series of requirements to begin and complete.

This school also offers a variety of research centers. This gives quality learning experiences to students to gain knowledge and experience. 

The graduation rate of students who attended the University of Pittsburgh’s physical therapy program is about 96%. The employment rate is 100% within six months of graduation.

The University of Southern California

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At The University of Southern California, they believe that strategy is key. They what they call a “Strategic Vision” This vision dedicated to helping their programs give their students the best educational experience.

Their program is a USC Division, one that focuses on biokinesiology and physical therapy. They combined the two to help create their outstanding programs to help students learn how to deliver the best possible care to the public.

This USC division offers three academic programs:

No matter where you are in your studies, there is something to help you continue your career.

The University of Southern California has a 97% on-time graduation rate. Graduates who searched for a job within six months of graduation had a 100% employment rate.

Washington University in St. Louis

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The Washington University in St. Louis uses a different approach to the education and research they provide their students. This has helped them become one of the top schools for physical therapy.

They use what they call the “human movement system.” This allows them to stand out as one of the four schools tied for number one with U.S. News.

At WUST, they offer a variety of programs. Doctoral programs, fellowship and residency programs, and programs designed to help you further your education.

Washing University has a 98.8% Ultimate Cohort graduation rate and 95.3% On-Time Cohort graduation rate. They have a 100% employment rate among graduates who searched for a job in their profession.

Emory University

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At Emory University, you will find several programs to take and discover exactly what you want out of your education. Ranked number five by the U.S. News. This school has excellent programs and research facilities as well. 

Students choose from one of six different programs. 

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Dual DPT/Ph.D.
  • DPT-MPH Program
  • Residency Training
  • DPT/MA-Bioethics Dual Degree
  • DPT-MBA 

With multiple research labs, Emory University is sure to help open your mind to the broad world of physical therapy. They want to help you find the perfect fit for your future career. They even offer a clinical practice to locals with a residency training program. This gives students some real experience in the workforce.

Emory University’s Physical Therapy program has a 97.85% graduation rate. Graduates have reported a 100% employment rate six months post graduation.

Northwestern University

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At Northwestern University, their department isn’t only physical therapy. They call it the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences.

Their students learn more than how to help rehabilitate patients. They learn and understand the basics of human movement and how it affects the type of physical therapy needed.

There are six programs for students to choose from. 

  • PT Residency Programs
  • DPT
  • DPT/Ph.D
  • programs to help students continue their education
  • PhD-MRS
  • DPT/MPH 

Each of their courses is designed to help students learn how to create and analyze new research. They choose their own topic based on their interests. Led by the faculty, the students get to learn how to collect and analyze data.

Northwestern University has a 100% ultimate pass rate and a 96.8% first attempt pass rate. There is a 100% pass rate overall. Employment within six months of graduation is 100%.

University of Iowa

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At the University of Iowa, students can choose from one of three programs: Doctor of Physical Therapy, MA/Ph.D., and a combination of DPT/Ph.D. These programs are all within the university’s Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.

They allow students to help develop research and studies in their different research programs. This helps the students to get more hands-on experience. Their goal is to help the students learn how to teach what they have learned to the society.

The University of Iowa graduates students with a rate of 100%. Post graduation, students have reported a 100% employment rate.

MGH Institute of Health Professions

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At the MGH Institute of He​​alth Professions, their department of Physical Therapy is in the top 10 according to U.S. News. Their goal is to help students learn and grow within their career as much as possible.

They offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy program and a Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy. In the residency program, they allow students to learn in-depth orthopedic practices. The also research while working side by side with professional clinicians in real clinics.

Students from the MGH Institute of Health Professions have a 98% graduation rate. These graduates have reported 100% employment within six months of graduating.

Duke University

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At Duke University’s physical therapy department, students experience team learning. They gain hands-on experience and take part in real clinical researches. Furthermore, they let students take part in research to help improve the lives of society.

They offer a Foreign Educated Physical Therapy program here. Other clinical education courses to allow students to continue their education after graduation. They have a residency program run by the faculty to allow students more hands-on experience.

Students have a 100% passing rate of 98% graduation rate from Duke University. For recent graduates, they have reported that the employment rate is also 100%.

Ohio State University

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Ohio State University’s Physical Therapy program offers a wide variety of courses and programs to choose from. With the DPT/Ph.D. program, students and get a dual degree in their chosen career.

The school also offers Clinical Education. Each program is taught by faculty with real-life experience. Each student is given opportunities and the ability to research and teach in the career they have chosen.

Residencies and clinical fellowships are also available. This gives students students real hands-on experience and knowledge they need to be successful. Each option offers a variety of choices for students to undergo and learn as much as they can.

Graduates from OSU PT program have a 100% passing rate, with over 95% passing the first time. Employment for students is 100% successful. Within six months of graduation, the graduates have found a job in their career.


All primary sources for the top schools in physical therapy in the hyperlinks in the above passages

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Author: Sandy Mayberry

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