Various public and private postsecondary institutions in Pennsylvania offer training in physical therapy. Physical therapy assistant studies are offered as associate degree programs. Aspiring physical therapists can find several doctoral-level programs, many of which are designed to take 3 years to complete. Some doctoral programs may only be open to existing physical therapists or students who have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in a science or healthcare field. Other doctoral programs may be dual degree programs for students pursuing a relevant bachelor's degree; these programs are designed to be completed in 6 years. Some programs may allow students to complete studies online.
Physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) must be licensed to work in Pennsylvania. The State Board of Physical Therapy oversees the licensure of PTs and PTAs in the state. Aspiring PTs and PTAs must complete a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Then, they must pass licensing exams. The 10 largest public and private not-for-profit schools listed below all have CAPTE-accredited PT or PTA programs.
California University of Pennsylvania
Located in the city of California, this university enrolls about 9,500 students. It offers an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant that requires 66 credit hours of study. Classes in this program focus on topics like physical therapy procedures and neurological impairments. The program's curriculum also includes 2 internships.
Community College of Allegheny County
The Community College of Allegheny County is located in Pittsburgh and enrolls approximately 20,500 students. The college administers an Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program that consists of classroom and clinical learning. Courses in this program cover topics like anatomy and physiology, physical therapy principles and human development. Students in the program also complete a clinical observation and several clinical experiences.
This university is situated in Philadelphia and has a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program that takes roughly 2 years to complete. In addition to coursework, this program includes 38 weeks of clinical experience. Classes in this program include kinesiology, cardiopulmonary physical therapy and prosthesis management. The department also offers advanced certificate programs in hand therapy or pediatric/school-based rehabilitation. Both programs are only available to licensed physical therapists.
Based in Pittsburgh, Duquesne University enrolls about 10,000 students. The school offers a DPT program that takes 3 years to complete. Courses focus on pharmacology, histology and orthopedic science. Freshman students may be admitted to combined bachelor's and doctoral degree programs, which can take 6-7 years to complete. Students may study undergraduate majors in biology/health sciences or athletic training. After completing the undergrad programs, students move on to the DPT program.
Lehigh Carbon Community College
This community college, which is located in Schnecksville, offers an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program that requires about 65 credit hours of study. Students in the program complete classes in areas like rehabilitation, therapeutic exercise and applied kinesiology. The program's curriculum also includes a clinical practice experience.
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Located in the city of its name, Slippery Rock, this school enrolls approximately 9,000 students. The university offers a DPT program that requires 8 terms of study and has 4 clinical experiences. Courses in the program focus on subjects like health care systems, gross anatomy and neuroscience. This program is open to all individuals possessing an undergraduate degree, but it's also available as a '3+3' program, in which undergraduate university students can earn both their bachelor's and doctoral degree in a total of 6 years. Only undergraduate students who have majored in related fields of science or healthcare can apply to this dual degree program.
Temple University is located in Philadelphia and enrolls about 37,000 students. The university offers a DPT program that requires 3 years of study. Classes in this program focus on subjects like neuroscience and movement science. The program's curriculum also includes full-time clinical experience. Temple University also offers a '3+3' program to qualifying undergraduate students, and they'll be able to complete their undergrad and DPT degrees in 6 years.
The school also offers a dual DPT and Master of Arts in Urban Bioethics program. This program is available to students who have completed their first semester of DPT studies. Additionally, Temple offers an online transitional DPT program to practicing physical therapists. The program has 12-24 credits of coursework.
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh, which enrolls about 29,000 students, is located in Pittsburgh. The school provides a DPT program to bachelor's degree holders. This full-time program requires 3 years of study and includes coursework and clinical experiences. Classes cover topics like geriatric, pediatric and neuromuscular physical therapy.
The university also offers a Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. This post-professional program is designed for physical therapists seeking to advance their knowledge of the field. Students in the program specialize in either neuromuscular or musculoskeletal physical therapy.
University of Scranton
Situated in the city of its name, Scranton, this university enrolls about 6,000 students. The 3-year DPT program is open to bachelor's degree graduates and has courses in orthopedic physical therapy and therapeutic exercise, among others. Clinical internships are also required.
The transitional DPT program is available to physical therapists possessing a bachelor's or master's degree. This program is delivered entirely online. Bachelor's degree-holding students complete 25 credit hours of study, while master's degree-holding students complete 16 credit hours of study.
Located in Chester, this university provides a physical therapy doctoral degree that takes 30 months to complete. Students complete clinical experiences and courses like kinesiology and global health. DPT students may also earn a certificate in special education/assistive technology or healthcare management.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Physical Therapy Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|California University of Pennsylvania||4-year, public; small suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$11,108 in-state; $15,726 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Community College of Allegheny County||2-year, public; large city||Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$4,315 in-district; $7,861 in-state; $11,251 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Drexel University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Advanced Practice Certificate in Hand Therapy,
Advanced Practice Certificate in Pediatric and School-Based Rehabilitation
|Duquesne University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Biology/Health Sciences and Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Doctor of Physical Therapy
|$38,178 (undergraduate); $23,112 (graduate)*|
|Lehigh Carbon Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$4,080 in-district; $7,350 in-state; $10,620 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania||4-year, public; distant town||Doctor of Physical Therapy||$16,387 in-state; $22,579 out-of-state (graduate)*|
|Temple University||4-year, public; large city|| Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master of Arts in Urban Bioethics,
Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
|$17,378 in-state; $23,588 out-of-state (graduate)*|
|University of Pittsburgh||4-year, public; large city|| Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
|$23,696 in-state; $39,586 out-of-state (graduate)*|
|University of Scranton||4-year, private not-for-profit; small city|| Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
|Widener University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Doctor of Physical Therapy||$22,600 (graduate)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator