Top Physical Therapy Schools

Even though there are surveys which are used to give ranking scores to the various top physical therapy schools, it’s still best to only use the rankings as a general guide for determining which physical therapy school you should attend. There are some excellent online colleges that were not included in these results.


Top Physical Therapy Schools

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the school that will be best for your career path. Feedback from faculty and staff at these ranked schools is certainly valuable, but unless those schools match your particular situation and personal needs, it’s more important to look at the whole picture rather than just a poll when deciding which are the top physical therapy schools.

Physical Therapy Students Speak Out

When looking through various physical therapy blogs and forums, it’s quite apparent that most of the students rating their current or previously attended schools didn’t weigh the “peer assessed” rankings very heavily. Many students feel that their school was an excellent choice, even though it didn’t rank as one of the top physical therapy schools by its own faculty or staff.

A stroll through numerous blogs related to the top physical therapy schools reveals that the most important factors for current and graduating PT students when choosing the right PT school was:

School location
Program costs
Classes required
Available financing
National Exam pass rate (average first-time pass rate in the U.S. is about 85%)

Top Physical Therapy Schools – The Ranking Process

Top Physical Therapy Schools

The following list of schools was ranked by peer assessment surveys which were sent out to fully accredited physical therapy schools. Only those that were in good standing at the time were ranked.

It appears that not all schools returned their surveys, so it’s possible that schools that might have ranked highly had the surveys been returned do not even show up in the top physical therapy schools rankings below.

These surveys were sent to deans, administrators, and/or other faculty at each of these schools and they were asked to rate the quality of their school’s physical therapy program from 1 to 5.

The rating choices were:

5 = Outstanding
4 = Strong
3 = Good
2 = Adequate
1 = Marginal

Each respondent was told to select “don’t know” if they didn’t have sufficient knowledge to rate their school’s PT program.

The schools that did not score at least a 2.0 average are shown as “N/A” and are listed in alphabetical order rather than by rank.

These top physical therapy schools rankings are from the latest surveys available and are for the 2008 rankings. They include 199 physical therapy schools. Some of these schools may only offer physical therapy assistant programs.

Top Ranked Physical Therapy Schools – The Results

Rank School Location
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
2 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh , PA
2 Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO
4 University of Delaware Newark, DE
5 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
5 US Army-Baylor University Fort Sam Houston, TX
7 Arcadia University Glenside, PA
7 MGH Institute of Health Professions Boston, MA
7 Northwestern University Chicago, IL
7 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
11 Emory University Atlanta, GA
11 University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
13 Duke University Durham, NC
13 University of California – San Francisco/S F State University San Francisco, CA
15 New York University New York, NY
15 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
15 University of Illinois – Chicago Chicago, IL
15 University of Maryland – Baltimore Baltimore, MD
19 Creighton University Omaha, NE
19 Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
19 Ohio State University Columbus, OH
19 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
19 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
24 Boston University Boston, MA
24 Texas Woman’s University Denton, TX
24 University of Kansas Medical Center Kansas City, KS
24 University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston Galveston, TX
24 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
29 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
29 Regis University Denver, CO
29 University of Alabama – Birmingham Birmingham, AL
29 University of Washington Seattle, WA
33 Columbia University New York, NY
33 Mayo School of Health Related Sciences Rochester, MN
33 University of Colorado – Denver Aurora, CO
33 University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE
33 University of Wisconsin – Madison Madison, WI
38 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
38 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City, OK
38 University of Wisconsin – La Crosse La Crosse, WI
41 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
41 Ohio University Athens, OH
41 Simmons College Boston, MA
41 St. Louis University St. Louis, MO
41 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
41 University of Central Arkansas Conway, AR
41 University of Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
41 University of Montana – Missoula Missoula, MT
41 University of Tennessee Health Science Center Memphis, TN
41 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas Dallas, TX
41 University of Vermont Burlington, VT
52 Belmont University Nashville, TN
52 Indiana University – Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
52 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT
52 University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Newark Newark, NJ
52 University of Missouri Columbia, MO
57 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
57 Eastern Washington University Spokane, WA
57 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
57 Pacific University Hillsboro, OR
57 Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science North Chicago, IL
57 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey – Camden/UMDNJ Stratford, NJ
57 St. Ambrose University Davenport, IA
57 Stony Brook University – SUNY Stony Brook, NY
57 Texas State University – San Marcos San Marcos, TX
57 University at Buffalo – SUNY Buffalo, NY
57 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
57 University of Michigan – Flint Flint, MI
69 Bradley University Peoria, IL
69 Chapman University Orange, CA
69 College of St. Scholastica Duluth, MN
69 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
69 Medical College of Georgia Augusta, GA
69 Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC
69 Northeastern University Boston, MA
69 Samuel Merritt University Oakland, CA
69 SUNY Upstate Medical Center Syracuse, NY
69 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
69 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
69 University of Puget Sound Tacoma, WA
69 University of South Carolina Columbia, SC
69 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
69 University of Tennessee – Chattanooga Chattanooga, TN
69 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
85 Armstrong Atlantic State University Savannah, GA
85 Elon University Elon, NC
85 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
85 St. Catherine University Minneapolis, MN
85 SUNY Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, NY
85 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Lubbock, TX
85 University of Evansville Evansville, IN
85 University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI
85 University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio San Antonio, TX
85 University of the Pacific Stockton, CA
95 California State University – Fresno Fresno, CA
95 California State University – Northridge Northridge, CA
95 Concordia University Wisconsin Mequon, WI
95 CUNY – Hunter College New York, NY
95 George Washington University Washington, DC
95 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
95 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
95 Idaho State University Pocatello, ID
95 Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA
95 Marymount University Arlington, VA
95 Medical Univ. of Ohio/Bowling Green State Univ./Univ. of Toledo Toledo, OH
95 New York Medical College Valhalla, NY
95 Oakland University Rochester, MI
95 Rockhurst University Kansas City, MO
95 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
95 Springfield College Springfield, MA
95 The Sage Colleges Troy, NY
95 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
95 University of Massachusetts – Lowell Lowell, MA
95 University of Nevada – Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
115 A.T. Still University of Health Sciences Mesa, AZ
115 Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI
115 California State University – Long Beach Long Beach, CA
115 Central Michigan University Mt. Pleasant, MI
115 Clarkson University Potsdam, NY
115 Des Moines University Des Moines, IA
115 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
115 Long Island University – Brooklyn Brooklyn, NY
115 Louisiana State University Medical Center New Orleans, LA
115 Mount St. Mary’s College Los Angeles, CA
115 University of New England Portland, ME
115 University of South Alabama Mobile, AL
115 University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD
115 University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences St. Augustine, FL
115 Wichita State University Wichita, KS
130 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
130 Bellarmine University Louisville, KY
130 California State University – Sacramento Sacramento, CA
130 Hardin-Simmons University Abilene, TX
130 Louisiana State University – Shreveport Shreveport, LA
130 Maryville University of St. Louis St. Louis, MO
130 North Georgia College and State University Dahlonega, GA
130 Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Pomona, NJ
130 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
130 Shenandoah University Winchester, VA
130 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
130 University of the Sciences – Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA
130 Wayne State University Detroit, MI
143 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
143 Arkansas State University – Jonesboro State University, AR
143 Carroll University Waukesha, WI
143 Clarke University Dubuque, IA
143 Franklin Pierce University Rindge, NH
143 Husson University Bangor, ME
143 Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL
143 Tennessee State University Nashville, TN
143 University of Hartford West Hartford, CT
143 University of Maryland – Eastern Shore Princess Anne, MD
143 University of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson, MS
143 Utica College Utica, NY
143 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
143 Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA
143 Widener University Chester, PA
158 Chatham University Pittsburgh, PA
158 Cleveland State University Cleveland, OH
158 College of Mount St. Joseph Cincinnati, OH
158 CUNY – College of Staten Island Staten Island, NY
158 Daemen College Amherst, NY
158 East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN
158 Gannon University Erie, PA
158 Governors State University University Park, IL
158 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
158 Southwest Baptist University Bolivar, MO
158 University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
158 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
158 University of Texas – El Paso El Paso, TX
158 Youngstown State University Youngstown, OH
N/A Alabama State University Montgomery, AL
N/A American International College Springfield, MA
N/A D’Youville College Buffalo, NY
N/A Dominican College Orangeburg, NY
N/A Florida A&M University Tallahassee, FL
N/A Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL
N/A Florida International University Miami, FL
N/A Hampton University Hampton, VA
N/A Howard University Washington, DC
N/A Langston University Langston, OK
N/A Lebanon Valley College Annville, PA
N/A Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
N/A Midwestern University Downers Grove, IL
N/A Missouri State University Springfield, MO
N/A Nazareth College of Rochester Rochester, NY
N/A Neumann University Aston, PA
N/A New York Institute of Technology Old Westbury, NY
N/A Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
N/A St. Francis University Loretto, PA
N/A Touro College New York, NY
N/A University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
N/A University of Dayton Dayton, OH
N/A University of Findlay Findlay, OH
N/A University of Mary Bismarck, ND
N/A University of Puerto Rico – Medical Sciences Campus San Juan, PR
N/A Walsh University North Canton, OH
N/A Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling, WV
N/A Winston-Salem University Winston-Salem, NC

Source: U.S. News & World Report,

When considering which are the top physical therapy schools for you personally, make sure to factor in such things as cost, location, National Exam pass rate, and if it’s a state you plan to work in.

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