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Individuals in Washington interested in completing an educational program in physical therapy (PT) have more than a few schools from which to choose a program. Programs lead to associate's degrees as a physical therapy assistant, pre-professional baccalaureate programs that can qualify students for admission into graduate degree programs in the field, and doctoral degree programs leading to licensing eligibility as a physical therapist. Most PT programs include practicum requirements that may be fulfilled with clinical rotations, fieldwork experiences, or internships, depending on the school.
Eastern Washington University
Eastern Washington University is located in Cheney and enrolls about 12,000 students. The school's physical therapy programs are offered through its College of Health Sciences and Public Health. The school allows students to create a course of study focusing on pre-physical therapy studies within its Bachelor of Science in Biology program. These programs are not accredited by the CAPTE.
Additionally, the university offers a CAPTE-accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy program that requires 161 credit hours of study and takes three years to complete. In addition to coursework focusing on subjects such as clinical anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and applied neuroscience, students in this program complete internships and clinical research.
Green River Community College
This community college is situated in Auburn and enrolls approximately 8,000 students. It offers an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant that includes a minimum of 110 credits of study. Classes in the program include functional training, therapeutic exercise and orthopedic therapy. The program's curriculum also includes multiple clinical experiences.
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
The Lake Washington Institute of Technology is located in Kirkland. The institute, which enrolls about 4,000 students, offers an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant program. This 92-credit-hour program includes classes in topics such as PTA procedures, pathophysiology and lifespan psychology. Students in the program also complete several clinical experiences prior to graduation.
Olympic College is situated in Bremerton and enrolls about 8,000 students. It offers an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant program that requires approximately 111 credits of study. In addition to clinical experiences, students in this program complete coursework covering subjects like human growth and development, orthopedic conditions and pathology.
Spokane Falls Community College
Located in the city of its name, Spokane, this school enrolls about 9,000 students. It offers an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant that requires 103 credit hours of study. Coursework in this program includes applied anatomy, pathophysiology and physical therapy terminology. Students also complete several clinical experiences prior to graduation.
University of Puget Sound
Located in Tacoma, this school enrolls approximately 3,000 students. It offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy program that takes three years to complete. Students in this program learn about physical therapy theories, clinical practice techniques and neurophysiology. The final two semesters in this program consist solely of clinical experiences.
University of Washington - Seattle Campus
This school is located in Seattle and enrolls about 42,000 students. It offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program that requires 150 credit hours of study. The program's curriculum includes a project, three clinical internships and coursework in subjects such as kinesiology, neurophysiology and therapeutic exercise procedures.
The university also offers a Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program to licensed PTs. This program requires 12 months of study and includes clinical experiences at the University of Washington Medical Center. Students in the program learn about leadership, teaching and clinical practice.
Whatcom Community College
Whatcom Community College is located in Bellingham and enrolls about 5,000 students. The college offers an Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program that is available in a traditional, in-person format or an online, part-time format. The on-campus program requires two years of study. Classes in this program cover subjects such as PTA procedures, clinical neurology and tests and measures.
The part-time online program takes approximately three years to complete. The first year of this program is dedicated to general education courses, while the second two years are dedicated to PTA coursework. Students in this program must visit campus about once a month.
Washington requires that all physical therapists (PT) and physical therapy assistants (PTA) be licensed. To be licensed in either position, an individual must graduate from an accredited, board-approved training program and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
The Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredits physical therapy and physical therapy assistant programs.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Physical Therapy Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Eastern Washington University||4-year, public; fringe town|| Bachelor of Biology with a specialization in pre-physical therapy studies,
Doctor of Physical Therapy
|$7,866 for in-state and $22,272 for out-of-state students*|
|Green River Community College||4-year, public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant||$4,344 for in-state and $4,751 for out-of-state students*|
|Lake Washington Institute of Technology||4-year, primarily associate's, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant||$3,880 for in-state and $9,218 for out-of-state students*|
|Olympic College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant||$3,837*|
|Spokane Falls Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant||$3,388 for in-state and $8,726 for out-of-state students*|
|University of Puget Sound||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city||Doctor of Physical Therapy||$30,077 (graduate)*|
|University of Washington - Seattle Campus||4-year, public; large city|| Doctor of Physical Therapy,
Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program
|$16,728 for graduate in-state and $28,326 for out-of-state graduate students*|
|Whatcom Community College||2-year, public; small city||Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$4,311 for in-state and $9,727 for out-of-state students*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator.