Physical Therapist in the hospitalThe demand for physical therapists is skyrocketing, with growth rates reaching 36% over the next 8 years.  Salaries are also expected to remain healthy…ranging from $68,000 to $124,000 (depending on the supply and demand within certain areas). In fact, US News and World Report released its annual Best Jobs of 2015 report, and they ranked physical therapist as the sixth “best job” among all professions, not just health care.

To truly succeed as a PT, you will need at least a master’s degree from an accredited program and a state license. However, most students pursue a doctorate of physical therapy (DPT), which adds an additional two and a half to three years of study, on top of the two years needed for a master’s.

To help with decision making, below is a list of the top ten physical therapy graduate schools – based on rankings in the 2013 U.S. News Best Grad Schools report by US News and World Reports. It is the most up-to-date list available:

  1. University of Southern California. The DPT program has an average graduation rate of 94%.  It also has an ultimate pass rate of 100% for the licensure exam.  In addition, the school offers a PT residency program designed to help those who already hold a degree in physical therapy purse a specialized area of practice.
  2. University of Delaware. The DPT program has an average graduation rate of 96%, and every single student who has graduated from the program passed their licensing exam on the first try.  The DPT program has seven clinical internships.  Students will participate in 4 full-time internships and 3 part-time clinical internships.
  3. University of Pittsburgh. The program has an average first time pass rate of 95 % for the licensing exam. The school also offers a MS in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with an emphasis in Neuromuscular and Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy; it is designed to follow the DPT program.
  4. Washington University in St. Louis. This DPT program has an average graduation rate of 95%. Their ultimate licensure pass rate is 98%. Students will receive 125 hours of part-time clinical experience during the first two semesters. At the end of both the 2nd and 3rd semester, students will complete an 8-week full-time clinical internship. After the 4th academic semester student will have a 10-week internship followed by a 12-week internship.
  5. University of Iowa. The average graduation rate for this program is 95.3 % and the first time licensing exam pass rate is 100 %.The program includes 37 weeks of full-time clinical experience. Clinical experience is general and will involve placement in a variety of settings. There are opportunities for students who want to be certified as a specialist as well.

Runner’s Up: 

6. US Army – Baylor University (Fort Sam Houston, TX)

7.  Emory University

8.  MGH Institute of Health Professions

9.  Northwestern University (tied)

9.  University of Miami (tied)

9.  Marquette University (tied)

So if you are looking for an exciting career with fantastic potential and a great salary potential, consider a career as a physical therapist.  And when you are ready to look for your next “best fit” job, contact Snelling Medical Professionals.  We have the national network combined with the local know-how to help you find your perfect match today.

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