Best Physical Therapy Schools in the World

The United States is your choicest location if you are looking for a place to acquire physical therapy training. So, if you want to pursue a career in physical therapy and be the best in your career, here are some of the best physical therapy schools in the world you would need to consider.

As with any medical practice, a physical therapist has a wide array of career options to choose from. A physical therapist may choose to major in orthopedic physical therapy, geriatric physical therapy, neurological physical therapy, etc.

Pursuing a career in Physical therapy is unarguably very lucrative and the kind of career that would give you the satisfaction you desire. Do really take your time to explore our list of top physical therapy schools here.

Who Is A Physical Therapist?

As defined by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a physical therapist is a trained and certified medical expert with experience in diagnosing physical abnormalities, restoring physical function and mobility, maintaining physical function, and promoting physical activity and proper function.

Usually, certified physical therapists are found working in a range of healthcare settings which includes outpatient health care centers, private practice centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, geriatric homes, sports and fitness settings, schools, occupational settings, research centers, etc.

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What do Physical Therapists do?

People with serious injuries or illnesses often face difficulties in controlling pain and movement. They depend on physical therapists to help them recover. So part of what you will be doing as a physical therapist is helping patients go through all phases of healing, from initial diagnosis through the restorative and preventive stages of recovery.

Through specific exercise programs and individual attention, these professionals help patients regain range of motion, develop strength, increase flexibility and control pain while recovering.

A sports therapist can help an athlete to maximize their performance through strengthening specific parts of the body and using muscles in new ways.

A healthcare provider or physical therapist can advise individuals about the benefits specific to their personal medical history and their need for treatment.

Below are some of the specific duties of a physical therapist:

  • Providing physical exam and evaluation, including health history and certain testing procedures, including evaluation of posture, movement and flexibility, and of muscle and joint motion and performance
  • Providing clinical diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care, and short and long term goals
  • Providing physical therapy treatment and intervention based on the patient’s needs
  • Provide self-management recommendations to the patient.
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How Long Does it Take to Become a Physical Therapist?

To start your career as a physical therapist, you must acquire some appreciable level of training. You must at least earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and pass the licensing examination.

But basically, pursuing a career as a physical therapist would require about 4 years, in particular, to complete and with nothing less than 150 hours of the volunteer within a physical therapy setting or hospital.

In addition to the 4 years, you would be acquiring your bachelor’s degree, you will spend also about 3 years at a DPT program. Hence, making it a total of 7 years of education to become a physical therapist.

Meanwhile, some of DPT programs are in a six-years format in which students take pre-professional courses for the first three years. And then start up with the DPT courses for the second half of the program.

The duration of time it takes to become a physical therapist may be long but you can certainly be sure it’s worth all the time.

What are the requirements to become a Physical Therapist?

Generally, the basic education a Physical therapist requires is to complete a master’s degree program in physical therapy. That is after you must have completed your undergraduate studies in a science-related field of study.

Basically, very few undergraduate programs are specific to physiotherapy. Many university students who aspire to become physiotherapists must choose a program related to science, kinesiology, exercise physiology or biology as a specialty.

Furthermore, you will have to pass your state licensing exam to practice in the state.

The next step for you is that you must take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and the Law Exam.

To really be on top of your career, it’s advisable you also get a doctorate degree.

What is the Average GPA for Physical Therapy Schools?

Different schools may require different grades and scores to admit students into their physical therapy programs. Most of the schools require a minimum of 3.0 GPA, but the acceptance rate of many schools too may require GPA scores as high as 3.75 average. So it usually differs.

So, the advice is for you to really make some research and find out what score your dream school accepts.

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Where can I find the best Physical Therapy Schools?

Quite a number of schools around the world offer various physical therapy programs that you would need to consider. These are the top physical therapy schools in the world. Most of them are found in the United States. Take your time and read through.

University of Delaware

Number of Programs: 8

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Graduation Rate: 94.34%

University of Delaware has been ranked Number 1 in the list of best physical therapy schools.

The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to advance physical therapist practice by providing outstanding entry-level and post-graduate education, translating science to deliver quality clinical services, leading federally funded rehabilitation research, and training the next generation of rehabilitation researchers and leaders of our profession.

University of Pittsburgh

Number of Programs: 11

Acceptance Rate: 59%

Graduation Rate: 82%

The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburg is among the best physical therapy schools in the world. The school is known for its excellence in academic and clinical education, and high-impact, multidisciplinary research.

The school has been leading the way to help people of all ages and stages of life to overcome movement, function and mobility challenges.

The University of Pittsburg School of Health and Rehabilitation has been listed as the second-best accredited physical therapy schools.

University of Southern California

Number of Programs: 10

Acceptance Rate: 13%

Graduation Rate: 92%

University of Southern California has been ranked as the 3rd best physical therapist school in the world. Their three degree programs allow graduates to choose an educational path to help them reach their goals and become leaders in the field.

The majority of the students are enrolled in our pioneering, three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), which is delivered in both hybrid and residential formats. The school also offer one of the top programs in kinesiology — the study of the biological bases of movement, with a master’s degree and a PhD.

The University is leading residency programs preparing advanced practitioners in the following areas: neurological, orthopedic, pediatric and sports physical therapy.

Washington University in St. Louis

Number of Programs: 9

Acceptance Rate: 15%

Graduation Rate: 94%

The Washington University Program in Physical Therapy is leading in advancing human health through movement, integrating interdisciplinary research, outstanding clinical care, and education of tomorrow’s leaders to drive optimization of function across the lifespan.

The Program in Physical Therapy has pioneered a unique, movement-based approach to physical therapy. 

The Washington University physical therapy has been ranked as the fourth best PTschools.

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Emory University

Number of Programs: 7

Acceptance Rate: 19%

Graduation Rate: 91%

The Department of Physical Therapy has been a destination of choice for many prospective physical therapy students. There is something about the program that fosters exceptional skills, creativity, reflectivity, and humanity while instilling self-confidence as students transform into outstanding professionals.

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The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to cultivate the well-being of individuals and global communities through exemplary leadership in physical therapy education, discovery, and service.

The school is the fifth-best school for physical therapy.

Northwestern University

Number of Programs: 9

Accceptance Rate: 8%

Graduation Rate: 94%

The Department of Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University maintains the richest possible educational environment for students to acquire training in physical therapy.

Northwestern is committed to excellent teaching, innovative research and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.

Northwestern University is the sixth-best school that offers physical therapy training.

Find other Physical therapy schools here:

Best physical therapy schools: Frequently Asked Questions

Can you become a physical therapist online?

Student who have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in physical therapy from an accredited college or university and have one to two years of experience working in the field as a licensed PT in the U.S. may go on to earn online physical therapy degrees called transitional doctorates.

How much does it cost to become a physical therapist?

Tuition for the 2.5-year master’s of physical therapy alone totals about $12,500 for state residents and $32,000 for out-of-state students. Tuition at private schools can cost significantly more. So, if you add up what it will cost you to go through the undergraduate level and your certification program, it might cost you about $200,000 to fully become a physical therapist.

Are physical therapists in demand?

Yes! According to APTA, there is a high demand for physical therapists in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 36 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Can you make good money as a physical therapist?

Yes! According to PayScale, physical therapists with home health skills earn an average yearly salary of $75,261, with a reported salary range of $60,428 to $109,578 annually. The highest paid PTs with home health skills are in Dallas, where the reported average yearly salary is $89,000.


Just like many other medical careers, it will take you a lot of rigorous processes to really become a licensed physical therapist. But I can tell you, the profession is worth all the rigors. By acquiring your training from any of these listed best PT schools, you can be sure of a swell time in your career.

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