Physical Therapy Education in Seattle with School Overviews

Jan 02, 2019

The Seattle area has five schools that offer physical therapy education options. To find out which one is right for your goals, learn about the admission policies and program requirements for three of these colleges located within about 25 miles of the city's center.

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Seattle Physical Therapy Education Programs

Individuals interested in physical therapy education in Seattle can earn either an associate's degree, which qualifies them to become physical therapist assistants, or a Doctor of Physical Therapy, the terminal degree for a physical therapist. Graduates of doctoral programs are qualified to take the national physical therapy licensing exam. To find out more, read about the coursework and clinical components at three institutions. This article also includes a table of statistics on the profiled colleges as well as some information on a couple of other area schools.

  • At Lake Washington Institute of Technology, less than 10 miles from Seattle, students can enroll in a physical therapist assistant associate's program to prepare them for entry-level employment.
  • The University of Puget Sound, a four-year private not-for-profit school in Tacoma, offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The campus is situated about 25 miles from Seattle.
  • Students can attend the University of Washington at Seattle, which has a rehabilitative medicine department that offers medical services to local hospitals. It also offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy program and is located about three miles from the downtown area.

Comparison of Schools

You likely need to know about more than just the educational offerings in order to decide where to pursue training in physical therapy. Look over this table to get information on enrollment numbers, graduation rates and campus settings below.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology University of Puget Sound University of Washington at Seattle
School Type Four-year, primarily associate's, public Four-year, private not-for-profit Four-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 3,697 2,701 46,166
Campus Setting Large suburb Midsize city Large city
Tuition (2017-2018)* $4,137,in-state; $9,486, out-of-state residents $48,090 $10,974, in-state; $35,538, out-of-state residents
% of First-Year Undergraduate Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 53% 100% 57%
Retention Rate (2016-2017)* N/A 86% 94%
Graduation Rate (those who began their studies in Fall 2011)* 34% 78% 84%

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

The associate's degree program at Lake Washington Institute of Technology is a full-time program that meets mornings and afternoons. Clinical affiliations must be completed at community facilities off-campus and require 40 hours per week.

Associate of Applied Science - Physical Therapist Assistant

Graduates of the AAS degree program are prepared to work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics and home-health agencies. Courses include pathophysiology, topics in physical therapy, clinical biomechanics and psychology. Before being admitted to the program, students must fulfill prerequisites in medical terminology, biology, English and psychology.

University of Puget Sound

The university offers students hands-on clinical experiences and allows them to work in the free clinic with patients under the guidance of licensed therapists. Student resources include therapeutic laboratory equipment, student computer labs and office space.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Before being admitted to the program, applicants must have completed at least 100 hours of observation. Students begin to plan their research projects during the first year of the program and have their first full-time internship experience during their second year. The program features specialty clinical experiences in oncology physical therapy. During the final semester, students select a special area of clinical interest.

University of Washington at Seattle

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine offers services at four major local hospitals.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

This is a 165-167 credit hour program that includes a full-time clinical internship that begins between the first and second years of the program. Students take courses and labs in areas such as neurophysiology, modalities, kinesiology and gross anatomy. The latter part of the program is all clinical work. Students must also complete a capstone project.

Other Schools

Physical therapist assistant AAS degree programs are also offered at Olympic College, roughly 14 miles west of Seattle and across Puget Sound in Bremerton, WA, and at Green River Community College, about 24 miles from the city in Auburn.

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