In Massachusetts, there are programs for aspiring physical therapists as well as physical therapy assistants. Physical therapy assisting programs are available at the associate degree level, while physical therapy programs are commonly offered as combined bachelor's and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree programs, which can be completed in six years. Entry-level and post-bachelor's DPT programs are also available. Existing physical therapists may be able to complete a bridge program to earn a doctorate; they may also continue their training by taking part in a residency. Physical therapy students often complete clinical experiences, and they can further develop their skills by working in on-campus research labs. Doctoral students may be able to complete some courses online.
American International College
Students at Springfield's American International College complete three undergraduate years and three graduate years while earning their DPT. While enrolled in the program, students study biostatistics, general psychology, general physics, exercise physiology and scientific inquiry. The college also features teaching laboratories and an anatomical lab complete with cutting edge technology and equipment.
Berkshire Community College
While attending Pittsfield's Berkshire Community College, students gain entry-level skills, learn didactic skills and complete a capstone project as well as a clinical education experience. Program courses include medical terminology, clinical education, functional anatomy, physics and behavioral and social science. The physical therapist assistant program also includes a seminar. From 2010 to 2012, Berkshire reported a 100% passing rate for graduates who had taken the licensure examination.
Boston's Boston University was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best physical therapy grad schools in 2012. Students have the chance to assist at research labs while earning their bachelor's degree. Students can earn a bachelor's degree and a DPT in six years. The program also allows students to participate in supervised clinical experiences during their freshman year. Students earning their DPT degree will work with patients and professionals at local clinical sites. The DPT program courses include pediatrics, healthcare management and the scientific basis of human movement in addition to there being seminars, practicums and an internship.
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Boston's Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences utilizes foundational sciences, evidence-based projects and management competencies. Students are able to earn their DPT degree in three years and may be ready for entry-level employment once they've graduated. The physical therapy degree program features a human anatomy laboratory and includes clinical experiences. The college also has a clinical laboratory focused on physical therapy.
MGH Institute of Health Professions
Boston's MGH Institute of Health Professions features world-class healthcare facilities and features programs that teach students with the help of master clinicians. The orthopedic clinical residency program is intended for physical therapists looking to advance their careers. Once they've completed the program, students might be ready to sit for their board certification exam. Students will also find several affiliation partners to choose from. The program can be completed part-time or full-time during the evenings or online.
Boston's Northeastern University has one of the longest accredited physical therapy programs in the nation and is the only program that offers cooperative education. Students can also learn abroad, complete an internship and can participate in research opportunities. Northeastern also has a Physical Therapy Student Club. The online transitional DPT program is intended for working individuals who are licensed physical therapists. The post-baccalaureate degree is for students with a degree in any field other than physical therapy, and the entry-level doctorate program is for freshman students.
North Shore Community College
After earning their degree from Danvers' North Shore Community College, graduates might be ready for entry-level employment in a variety of work settings, including hospitals, long term care facilities, rehabilitation facilities and various clinics. The associate's degree program includes laboratory experience in addition to clinical rotations. Program courses include therapeutic massage, composition, psychology of disability and case studies in physical therapy.
Boston's Simmons College offers an entry-level DPT degree as well as an advanced graduate certificate in health professions education. Students can major in physical therapy and complete the Post-Master's Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study Health Professions Education if they wish to have a career in higher education or as a health educator.
Springfield's Springfield College prepares graduates for their state license and for careers in assisted-living facilities, public schools and wellness centers. Students can earn a bachelor's degree and a doctorate degree in six years. During the last year of the program, students are able to choose from such concentrations as sports physical therapy, pediatric neurology and clinical ergonomics. Physical therapy facilities include a neuroscience laboratory, motion analysis equipment, an occupational therapy laboratory and a partial weight bearing system.
University of Massachusetts
Lowell's University of Massachusetts offers an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology and a DPT degree where students learn about wellness and prevention services as well as how to conduct research and act as leaders. The doctorate program includes a final research project and exposes students to a variety of practice settings. Students are assigned to either pulmonary or cardiac rehabilitation or a fitness setting while earning their bachelor's degree.
In order to qualify for a position as a physical therapist, individuals need to have a postgraduate professional degree, such as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). Physical therapists must also be licensed, which requires passing the National Physical Therapy Examination. Additionally, physical therapists are required to complete continuing education in order to retain their license. All institutions profiled in this article are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and prepare students for the licensure exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Physical Therapy Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|American International College||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsized city||Entry-level DTP||$35,680*|
|Berkshire Community College||2-year, public; rural fringe||Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant|| $5,492 (in-state)*,
|Boston University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training,
Bachelor of Science in Health Science,
|Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city||DPT||$33,620*|
|MGH Institute of Health Professions||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city||DPT||$66,630*|
|Northeastern University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| DPT,
|North Shore Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Physical Therapy Assistant|| $5,184 (in-state)*,
|Simmons College||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| DPT,
Post-Master's Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Health Professions Education
|Springfield College||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsized city|| Dual Degree: Bachelor of Science in Health Science/Pre-Physical Therapy + DPT,
Dual Degree: Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training/DTP,
|University of Massachusetts||4-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology,
| $15,180 (in-state)*,
Source: *NCES College Navigator