Physical Therapy Degrees in Nashville with School Information

Jan 02, 2019

Those looking for physical therapy degrees have multiple options in the Nashville, TN, area. To find out which one is right for you, read an overview of program requirements at three schools located within about 25 miles of downtown.

Nashville Physical Therapy Schools

Students interested in studying physical therapy in the Nashville, TN, area have several school options. Learn about the coursework and clinical training requirements for programs at three colleges. The article also includes a school stats table and information on a couple of other institutions in the area.

  • Belmont University is an interdenominational school situated less than three miles from downtown Nashville that offers a doctorate-level degree in physical therapy.
  • Another option for students wishing to enroll in an advanced physical therapy degree program is Tennessee State University (TSU). Approximately five miles from downtown Nashville, this school also offers a doctoral degree in physical therapy.
  • Volunteer State Community College is roughly 24 miles away from central Nashville in Gallatin, TN. The school offers a physical therapist assistant associate degree program that will provide students with the training to work as an entry- or mid-level physical therapy assistant.

Comparison of Schools

Check out this table to get additional details about the three schools, including information on costs, graduation rates and more.

Belmont University Tennessee State University Volunteer State Community College
School Type Four-year, private, not-for-profit Four-year, public Two-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 6,497 undergraduates and 1,515 graduate students 6,505 undergraduates and 1,672 graduate students 8,838 undergraduates
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $32,820 $7,776 in-state and $21,132 for out-of-state residents $4,133 for in-state and $16,109 for out-of-state residents
% of Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 93% of first-year students enrolled full-time 95% of first-year students enrolled full-time 94% of first-year students enrolled full-time
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 81% N/A - Open admission policy N/A - Open admission policy
Retention Rate (2017)* 85% for full-time 58% for full-time 52% for full-time
Graduation Rate* 70% of students who began their studies in 2011 graduated within 150% of 'normal time' 29% of students who began their studies in 2011 graduated within 150% of 'normal time' 23% of students of students who began their studies in 2014 graduated within 150% of 'normal time'

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

Belmont University

In 2019, Belmont University is ranked in the top ten best universities in the south by U.S. News & World Report. The School of Physical Therapy is housed in newly added facilities in the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The 133-credit Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program integrates research, lectures and clinical training to provide students with a solid foundation to excel in the physical therapy field. The three-year program begins with science-based classes and transitions to theoretical and practical coursework, research and field study. Coursework includes kinesiology, critical inquiry, therapeutic exercise, pathophysiology, neuroscience, ethics in health care, musculoskeletal physical therapy and strategic planning. A group research project and presentation are also built into the required curriculum. In addition to the required coursework, students will complete 38 weeks of clinical training in acute care, rehabilitation and outpatient facilities. Belmont works with more than 300 clinical sites throughout the nation and internationally to provide students with a variety of settings and experiences for the clinical portion of the program.

Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University was established in 1912 and in 2018 offers 45 undergraduate, 24 master's and seven doctoral-level degree programs, including one in physical therapy. The physical therapy department within the College of Health Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). For the graduating class of 2016-2017, 97.1% of students passed the national licensure examination, and 100% of those who passed found employment.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The 114-credit Doctor of Physical Therapy will prepare students to gain employment in the physical therapy field through lectures and hands-on training. Coursework for the three-year program includes anatomy, psychosocial behavioral issues, pathology, patient care principles, clinical medicine, therapeutic exercise, neuroscience, orthopedics and principles of education. In addition to the required coursework, students will participate in five, full-time, supervised clinical experiences at a variety of sites throughout the nation and may consider an international option.

Volunteer State Community College

Volunteer State Community College is a two-year, public institution that was founded in 1971 in Gallatin, TN. Today, Vol State serves 12 counties in the area and enrolls nearly 9,000 students annually. According to the school website in 2018, Vol State offers programs in 100 areas of study, including a physical therapist assistant (PTA) program.

Associate of Applied Science - Physical Therapist Assistant

Vol State's associate-level PTA program is a competitive, 69-credit program that will prepare students to work under licensed PTs in many different settings throughout the health care sector. Students are required to complete 17 general education credits before they can move on to the core classes within the major. The 52-credit core curriculum includes courses such as medical terminology, fundamentals of PTA, anatomy and kinesiology, neuroanatomy and medical conditions. The second year of the program uses hands-on training through therapeutic applications, seminars and two supervised clinical experiences totaling 200 hours per semester.

Other Schools

Located right in Nashville, Trevecca Nazarene University is a private, not-for-profit school affiliated with Church of the Nazarene that offers a pre-physical therapy concentration through its bachelor's degree program in exercise science. Lipscomb University is another 4-year, private, not-for-profit school located in Nashville. This school is affiliated with Churches of Christ and provides a pre-medical program that may be used as a pre-physical therapy program.

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