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Physical Therapy Schools in Houston, TX with Degree Program Info

The Houston area has five schools that offer physical therapy programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within 20 miles of downtown to make an informed education decision.

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Houston Physical Therapy Schools

Students interested in a physical therapy (PT) program have several school options in the Houston area. Those looking for a physical therapist assistant (PTA) program have two schools to choose from, and individuals wishing to earn an advanced degree in PT have one school choice. All these schools are 25 minutes or less from downtown Houston. Following information about the schools and their programs is a table of statistics that a prospective student can use, such as school size, graduation rate and tuition. At the end of the article are a few facts about two other Houston-area schools with relevant programs.

  • Houston Community College is six miles from the heart of downtown and has an associate degree option for PTAs.
  • San Jacinto Community College offers a PTA associate degree program at its south campus location in Houston, roughly 19 miles from downtown.
  • An option for those looking to become certified as a physical therapist is Texas Woman's University. The university's Houston branch, about six miles from downtown, offers entry-level doctorate, traditional doctorate and transitional doctorate programs in physical therapy.

Houston Community College

Houston Community College was established in 1971 and offers educational opportunities for students in the greater Houston area through degree and certificate programs in more than 70 areas of study. The school's Coleman campus strives to be one of the leading health sciences community colleges in the county and houses the Coleman College for Health Sciences.

Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

The PTA associate degree program at Houston Community College is a 2-year program that can be completed in five semesters. The program will train students to assist physical therapists in the application of therapies such as massage and electricity, exercise, prosthetics and the overall rehabilitation of individuals. Coursework includes anatomy and physiology, basic patient care, physical agents, therapeutic exercise, rehabilitation techniques, psychology, human growth and several practicum experiences. In addition to the required coursework, lectures and labs, students will participate in clinical training at the nearby Texas Medical Center.

San Jacinto Community College

San Jacinto Community College serves nearly 30,000 students and offers more than 140 academic programs. The school's PTA program gives students the skills and knowledge needed to work under the supervision of physical therapists, as well as sit for the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination. Students must have two, 20-hour observation experiences performed at an outpatient or in-patient facility, hospital or home setting.

Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Students can earn an associate degree in PTA through San Jacinto - South's 72-credit program. In addition to lectures and labs, students must participate in three separate clinical experiences totaling 19 weeks at various designated locations. Coursework includes basic patient care skills, anatomy, physical agents, therapeutic exercise, neurological disorders, rehabilitation techniques and professional issues. Students will take their first clinical internship in the summer term before the start of their second year and the two remaining clinical experiences in the final semester.

Texas Woman's University

Established in 1901, Texas Woman's University was a women-only college that began admitting men in 1972. The university serves nearly 15,000 students annually through its three campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston, TX. The university offers several residency options (neurology and women's health) for licensed physical therapists interested in enhancing their skill level.

Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy program is 33 months and integrates lectures, classroom learning and clinical training. Students must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and have successfully completed all required prerequisites in order to be considered for acceptance. Coursework includes anatomy, developmental concepts, neuroscience, research methods, therapeutic exercise and intervention, psychosocial aspects of rehabilitation and pediatric physical therapy.

In addition to the required coursework, students will participate in three clinical experiences (six to seven weeks in length each) and one final clinical internship that lasts 12 weeks. Additionally, TWU offers a fast-track program for students who are enrolled in the entry-level DPT and plan on entering the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program. This 6-year program requires students to take 37 credits in the Ph.D. program, in addition to the DPT coursework completed before starting Ph.D. study.

Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy

The Ph.D. program at TWU emphasizes practical experience and provides students with intensive one-on-one training in an area of their choice. This flexible program allows students to maintain employment while they complete the required coursework on a part-time basis. Coursework is designed to advance a student's lab and clinical development, as well as research and writing skills to function in an academic environment. Students will take courses in client management, health care delivery systems, management of women's health and advanced mobilization. Additionally, students will participate in several advanced practicum experiences, field research, independent study and two dissertations.

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

TWU's transitional DPT program is designed for practicing, licensed physical therapists who would like to obtain a doctorate degree in physical therapy and already hold a master's or bachelor's degree in the field. The program consists of between 24 and 30 credits, depending on a student's previous academic experience. Students will take a combination of online and on-campus courses including evidence-based practice in physical therapy, client management, professional management and leadership, diagnostic imaging and health promotion.

Comparison of Schools

The following table contains information about these schools that is important to prospective students. They can look at it to help them determine which school is their best option.

Houston Community College San Jacinto Community College Texas Woman's University
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 4-year, public
Total Enrollment (2011) 63,015* 29,392* 14,718*
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Midsize city
Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $1,625 in-district; $3,233 in-state; $3,629 out-of-state* $1,182 in-district; $1,782 in-state; $2,982 out-of-state* $5,429 in-state; $12,941 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2011) 67%* 54%* 91%*
Acceptance Rate (2011) N/A - Open admission policy N/A - Open admission policy 88%*
Retention Rate (2011) 69% for full-time and 47% for part-time students* 66% for full-time and 51% for part-time students* 68% for full-time and 56% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (for students who began in fall 2008) 14% graduated within 150% of 'normal time'* 11% graduated within 150% of 'normal time'* 39% of students who began in 2005 graduated within 150% of 'normal time'*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator.

Other School Options

Additional options for students interested in a physical therapy program in the Houston area include Lone Star College System located approximately 32 miles from downtown Houston and offering a PTA associate degree program. Students interested in an advanced PT degree program could consider the University of Texas Medical Branch. Located roughly 50 miles from Houston in Galveston, the school offers several doctorate-level programs in physical therapy.

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