What Are The Best Physical Therapy Schools?

by MHeart

An article about choosing a top physical therapy school. Tips and advice on choosing a physical therapy career.

If you are seeking a career in physical therapy, then, no doubt, you are also interested in finding the best physical therapy schools in which to obtain your education. There certainly will be not be any scarcity of work in this field now or in the future so setting your sights on an occupation in physical therapy will be well worth the investment.

Find a School whose Curriculum is Centered on Passing the Licensure Exam

Definitively, a physical therapist’s main responsibility is to assist patients restore physical functioning as well as heal from injuries. Therefore, seeking a school that possesses high academic standards will carry you far in your career as a physical therapist. Top physical therapy schools have long-standing reputations of educational excellence and achievement. Since you have to pass a licensure exam in order to work as a physical therapist then, it’s important to find an institution whose curriculum will help you realize this goal.

Areas of Specialization

When reviewing what are considered the best physical therapy schools too, think about the area where you want to concentrate. Basically, in the physical therapy field, there are five key areas of specialization. These areas include:

  • Sports rehabilitation;
  • Cardiovascular/pulmonary care;
  • Geriatric care;
  • Pediatric care; and
  • Orthopedics.

Physical Therapists Continue to be Needed in Sports Rehab

Physical therapists can easily find employment in sports rehabilitation, given the number of athletes that pursue extreme sports or push themselves to the limit. If you choose this discipline, you will consistently be needed to treat and prevent sports injuries.  Physical therapists can also find excellent opportunities in cardiovascular and pulmonary care as heart patients often need to make lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to exercise. Also, with the large number of older people in the mainstream, physical therapists are needed to manage the special health concerns of the elderly.

Disciplines that Required Specialized Training

Children, too, have special needs that must be addressed. As their bodies are still developing, you will have to take additional training if you plan to work with this segment of the population. Orthopedics covers a broad range of physical therapy treatments too covering the musculoskeletal system, such as overuse and care after surgery. In this field, physical therapists who go on to graduate school must take advanced courses, such as kinesiology and biomechanics, in order to work in the field.

Once you Have Decided on a Discipline, Choosing an Educational Program will be Easier

Once you have decided on an area of specialization or a discipline, you are ready to review the various top physical therapy schools and the programs that they offer. All of the schools below are highly regarded institutions of learning, so your selection must be based on your own personal goals and your individual preferences.

Top Physical Therapy Schools

The following schools are considered to be some of the best physical therapy schools in the country when you take into consideration factors that measure the overall quality of the school’s teaching staff and research facilities.

  • Northwestern University (Chicago, IL);
  • US Army-Baylor University (Fort Sam Houston, TX);
  • University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA);
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA);
  • University of Delaware (Newark, DE);
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA); and
  • Univeristy of Miami (Coral Gables, FL).

Review Each School’s Website

When researching the above top physical therapy schools then, review the curriculums. See how many graduates have passed the National Physical Therapy exam at each school. Also, look at the opportunities that are offered for obtaining clinical experience while you are attending school. Take time out to fully review the website of the schools too. After assessing their programs, you’ll be better able to determine which schools will meet with your own specific educational requirements.

Updated: 02/17/2012, MHeart
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