Students interested in physical therapy can find programs at 4-year schools and universities in Florida. Programs are offered at two levels: physical therapy assistants at the associate's degree level, and physical therapy at the doctoral level. Both levels are hands-on programs where students participate in clinicals and labs. Students may also need to complete a project, internship, dissertation or comprehensive exam. Graduate level programs may have tracks, and students may be able to complete assistantships.
Located in Fort Lauderdale, Broward College offers a physical therapist assistant (PTA) associate degree that takes two years to complete. This program provides 74 credits of courses. Program classes include therapeutic procedures and pharmacology. Students learn practical skills in rehabilitation, and they also participate in three clinical experiences. Only a select number of applicants are accepted into the program.
Florida International University
Miami's Florida International University offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. Program courses cover musculoskeletal issues and neurological diagnosis. This program also includes labs, projects, clinical internships, and a seminar.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Located in Jacksonville, this college offers a 74-credit PTA associate degree program. Prerequisites like human anatomy and physiology must be taken before the actual program. Core classes include kinesiology, therapeutic exercise, and neuromuscular issues. In addition to the required coursework, students will participate in three separate clinical experiences.
Miami Dade College
This college in Miami offers an associate-level PTA program through its School of Health Sciences. This is a 74-credit program that integrates major courses, several clinical experiences, and labs. Program coursework will cover topics within the field, including neurological deficits, anatomy, and kinesiology.
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale's Nova Southeastern University offers several graduate-level PT degrees through its College of Health Care Sciences. The school has an entry-level DPT, a transitional DPT, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy. Entry-level DPT students participate in clinical experiences lasting up to 40 weeks; they also must pass a comprehensive exam.
The transitional DPT is geared towards individuals who are practicing physical therapists and are interested in advancing their knowledge in the field. The program covers topics in rehabilitation exercise, pharmacology and radiology. The PhD option consists of 60 credits and will take three semesters to complete. Students are required to complete several health care classes, PT courses, electives, a comprehensive exam, and a final dissertation.
Seminole State College of Florida
Sanford-based Seminole State College offers a 74-credit PTA associate degree program. Students take courses in kinesiology, patient care, and therapeutic exercise. In addition to the didactic coursework, students will participate in a handful of labs and clinical practicums at various locations.
St Petersburg College
Located in Clearwater, St Petersburg College has a 74-credit PTA associate degree program that is designed to either prepare students for entry-level employment or transferring opportunities. Students need to complete prerequisites in composition, medical terminology and human anatomy/physiology before taking PTA courses. Core classes cover therapeutic exercise, neurological disabilities, and patient care. Three clinical experiences are required.
University of Central Florida
Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida offers a 112-credit DPT program. This full-time program integrates didactic coursework with clinical experiences. Students must complete a handful of prerequisites prior to the program, including statistics and biology. Program courses include kinesiology, gross anatomy, patient care, and therapeutic exercise. A comprehensive exam is also required at the end of the program.
University of Florida
Gainesville's University of Florida offers an entry-level DPT and a joint DPT/Master of Public Health (MPH) program. The entry-level program requires 112 total credits of coursework, and the entire program takes eight semesters to complete. DPT courses cover topics in health promotion, therapeutic exercise, motor control, and musculoskeletal disorders. Practical and clinical experiences are also required.
The joint DPT/MPH program requires students to choose a public health concentration like environmental health or epidemiology. An internship and a culminating experience project are also required. Qualifying students who need financial aid may participate in assistantships in teaching or research.
University of South Florida
Based in Tampa, the University of South Florida's main campus offers DPT and transitional DPT programs through the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences. The three-year DPT program requires students to complete three intensive clinical experiences. Students will take courses like movement science and other PT-related topics. The clinical portion of this program takes a total of 36 total weeks to complete and provides students with extensive hands-on experience in the field.
The transitional DPT program has two tracks: one that is designed for students who have earned a bachelor's degree and the other for master's degree students. The bachelor's option requires students to complete 30 credits specific to the major. The master's track consists of 20 credits. Both programs require capstone projects.
All physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) must be licensed in order to legally work. Licenses can be obtained by passing educational requirements and the National Physical Therapy Examinations (NPTE). Students should note that licenses expire, and they are maintained by taking continuing education courses.
In order to become eligible for the NPTE, PTAs need to complete associate degree programs, and PTs must complete graduate-level programs. The Florida Department of Health requires students to complete degrees approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||PT and PTA Degree Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Broward College||Four-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$2,830 for in-state and $8,952 for out-of-state undergraduate students*|
|Florida International University||University, public; large suburb||Doctor of Physical Therapy||$6,556 in-district, $6,546 for in-state and $18,954 for out-of-state graduate students*|
|Florida State College at Jacksonville||Four-year, public; large city||Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$2,878 for in-state and $9,992 for out-of-state undergraduate students*|
|Miami Dade College||Four-year, public; large city||Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$2,838 for in-state and $9,661 for out-of-state undergraduate students*|
|Nova Southeastern University||University, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy,
PhD in Physical Therapy
|$20,620 for graduate students*|
|Seminole State College of Florida||Four-year, public; small city||Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$3,131 for in-state and $11,456 for out-of-state undergraduate students*|
|St Petersburg College||Four-year, public; small city||Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$2,682 for in-state and $9,286 for out-of-state undergraduate students*|
|University of Central Florida||University, public; large suburb||Doctor of Physical Therapy||$6,368 for in-state and $22,467 for out-of-state students*|
|University of Florida||University, public; midsize city|| Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Joint Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master of Public Health
|$6,381 for in-state and $28,659 for out-of-state graduate students*|
|University of South Florida||University, public; large city|| Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
|$6,410 for in-state and $17,324 for out-of-state graduate students*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.