11 Best Physical Therapist Schools In California

physical therapist schools in California

Physical Therapy is widely appreciated across the globe, and it is no wonder several talented individuals are looking forward to becoming physical therapists. However, to become a professional physical therapist, you must select a college or university that will provide you with the best education. Undoubtedly, there are several physical therapy schools in California.

The best physical therapy schools with good reputations are sometimes difficult to find, as there are over 40 schools offering quality physical therapy programs in California. However, pursuing the best physical therapy education implies that you are or strive to be an excellent student.

California is home to several physical therapist schools, and these schools are designed to provide you with quality academic and relevant skills that will help you advance as a professional. Therefore, in this article, we will provide a list of recommended physical therapist schools in California and everything you need to know about them.

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WHAT DO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS DO?

Physical therapist are in charge of several activities, including ensuring the proper healing of patients. Also, therapists examine and assess patients’ needs during their first therapy session.

A professional physical therapist will evaluate, assess, diagnose, educate, and work with individuals who have disabilities, injuries, or other health conditions. The goal of a physical therapist is to determine a diagnosis for your condition and tailor a plan of care to the patient’s needs.

Related: Easiest Physical Therapy Schools To Get Into 

HOW MUCH DO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS MAKE IN CALIFORNIA?

The national average salary that a physical therapist makes is about $100,000 annually. In the State of California, the average is about $110,000 as of February 26, 2024, with a range of $111,101 to $120,801 annually, according to salary.com .

Related: List Of The Best Physical Therapy Schools In Texas 

HOW TO BECOME A PHYSICAL THERAPIST IN CALIFORNIA

Below is a guide on how to become a physical therapist in California:

STEP 1: EARN A BACHELOR’S DEGREE

To become a physical therapist, you must earn a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree, so the first step to becoming a licensed physical therapist is to earn your undergraduate bachelor’s degree.

STEP 2: CHOOSE A DPT PROGRAM

The cost of a DPT program in California will vary depending on factors like the location of the school and accreditation. The average cost to pursue a DPT program in California is $9,000 to $80,000 for a public school and $30,985 to $90,000 for a private school.

STEP 3: GRADUATE FROM THE DPT PROGRAM

After choosing a DPT program that suits you, the next step is to graduate from your DPT program and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE).

STEP 4: PASS YOUR STATE’S LICENSURE EXAM

Each state in the USA has licensure exams for PT students. Hence, it is paramount to prepare and pass the state licensure exam. This will enable you to have the right to utilize your therapist skills.

STEP 5: COMPLETION OF RESIDENCY

The next step is to complete a residency or earn board certification (optional). Afterward, you can apply for PT jobs online or onsite.

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TOP 11 BEST PHYSICAL THERAPIST SCHOOLS IN CALIFORNIA

Here is a list of the best physical therapist schools in California:

1. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO (CSUS)

CSUS is one of the top physical therapy schools in California. The CSUS Doctor of Physical Therapy program is a three-year program dedicated to graduating professional, evidence-informed physical therapists who have the knowledge and skills to provide patient care in any practice environment.

Its mission is to develop the next generation of the profession’s leaders: graduates who are knowledgeable, highly skilled, adaptable, and reflective physical therapists, generalists, practitioners, and healthcare leaders.

Furthermore, California State University, Sacramento, has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

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2. UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC

physical therapist schools in California
Source: pacific.edu

University of the Pacific is a Stockton, California-based private university. It is one of the best physical therapy schools in California.

The university was originally founded as a Methodist-affiliated university in 1851; it was the first university in the State of California, the first independent coeducational campus in California, the first conservatory of music, and the first medical school on the west coast.

Many prospective physical therapy students have chosen to study at the University of the Pacific School of Health Sciences. The university is dedicated to providing quality clinical education throughout the physical therapy program. Something about the program fosters reflectivity, exceptional skills, and professionalism while instilling self-confidence in students.

The university prides itself on its teaching standards and boasts of its 100% on-time graduation rate, 92.6% overall NPTE pass rate, 91% first-time NPTE pass rate, and 100% employment post-licensure.

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3. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FRESNO

California State University is a Fresno-based public university. It is part of the California State University System, and it is one of the best physical therapy schools in California.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at California State University, Fresno, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program is currently ranked 8 among the best physical therapy programs in California. It is dedicated to excellence in physical therapist education by providing comprehensive academic and clinical experiences for diverse students.

The CSUF Doctor of Physical Therapy program prepares students for licensure and practice in the field of physical therapy. It boasts students who consistently pass licensure exams with a 100% pass rate annually.

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4. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

The University of Southern California is a Los Angeles-based private research university. It was founded in 1880 and is the oldest private research university in California.

The Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California focuses on research, training, and practice related to physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Furthermore, the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy’s mission is to promote individual and community well-being through leadership in physical therapy education by integrating research and clinical practice with the classroom.

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5. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LONG BEACH

physical therapist schools in California
Source: csulb.edu

California State University, Long Beach, is among the best physical therapy schools in California.

The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy at California State University Long Beach is to provide students with advanced physical therapy practice through high-quality teaching and research engagement to prepare patient-centered, highly competent clinicians who integrate the best scientific evidence into patient care to enhance the health, function, and quality of life of a diverse community.

Also, the school cultivates a faculty committed to excellence in teaching, research, clinical expertise, and service to Long Beach and surrounding communities, and also prepares graduates for entry-level practice as physical therapists.

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6. CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY

Chapman University is an Orange, CA-based private research university. It was established in 1861. The school maintains its founding affiliations with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ but is a secular university. It ranks as one of the best physical therapist schools in California.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Chapman University prepares students for licensure and practice in the field of physical therapy.

Its mission is to develop doctors of physical therapy who are excellent practitioner-scientists, skilled in delivering patient-centered ethical care in the global community, and prepared to be healthcare leaders. The program builds on the philosophy that interdisciplinary integration enriches, broadens, and increases the depth of student development in didactic, clinical, and professional settings.

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7. LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY

Loma Linda University is without a doubt one of the best physical therapy schools in California.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Physical Therapy degree at Loma Linda University is offered by the Department of Physical Therapy within the School of Allied Health, one of eight schools at Loma Linda University.

This program provides national and international physical therapy graduates with the skills necessary to pursue careers as researchers and educators. The PhD in PT is a research-oriented degree with emphases on 1) pain science (Domain 1: core), 2) movement science (Domain 2: specialization), and 3) lifestyle health and wellness (Domain 4).

The program’s objective is to prepare leaders in the profession of physical therapy who are capable of research to improve the lives of people through whole-person care, to serve as client and patient advocates, and to serve as educators in entry-level and graduate physical therapy programs.

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8. SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY

Leading as one of the best physical therapist schools in California, the San Diego Doctor of Physical Therapy program is cutting-edge and evidence-based, with a commitment to academic excellence and expression by adopting research, teaching, service, and public engagement.

Its mission is to cultivate nationally recognized faculty and enhance the health and function of the people of California and the global community by generating new knowledge and preparing physical therapists for general practice who are experts in the human movement system.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Graduates will receive a DPT degree and will be eligible to take the national physical therapy exam. The school boasts a 97.4% first-time licensure pass rate.

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9. AZUSA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY

physical therapist schools in California
Source: apu.edu

Azusa Pacific University is among the best physical therapy schools in California. Azusa Pacific University’s Department of Physical Therapy offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a PhD in Rehabilitation and Movement Science and Continuing Education. Throughout each program, faculty integrate a Christian perspective, focusing on ethics and providing compassionate, whole-person care.

Through these programs taught by faculty with experience in the field, students gain the ability to evaluate movement dysfunction, identify patient treatment goals, establish and implement individualized treatment programs, and make referrals to other healthcare professionals in settings such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, athletic programs, industries, and private homes.

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10. WEST COAST UNIVERSITY

West Coast University is a private, non-profit university focused on healthcare degrees with campus locations in Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Ontario, California; Richardson, Texas; and Miami, Florida.

Their vision is to educate caring professionals to serve, teach, and lead, with a mission to embrace a student-centric learning partnership that leads to professional success. The university delivers transformational education with a culture of integrity and personal accountability.

This institution’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program is committed to providing the support students need as they prepare for a rewarding career as a physical therapist. The DPT program provides a student-centric education that prepares graduates for caring, innovative, interdisciplinary, evidence-based approaches to patient-centered care.

11. SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY

San Francisco State University is a public research university in San Francisco. It was established in 1899 as the San Francisco State Normal School and is part of the California State University System.

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at San Francisco State University is offered jointly with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Its mission is to develop the next generation of the profession’s leaders. The curriculum is built on a strong theoretical foundation in basic, medical, and applied science.

Furthermore, the DPT program is accredited by the APTA Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). It has also been approved by the University of California, California State University, the California Post-secondary Education Committee (CPEC), and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A PHYSICAL THERAPIST IN CALIFORNIA?

Becoming a physical therapist in California will take up to seven years. Physical therapy students are required to earn a bachelor’s degree before enrolling in a physical therapy school, and this takes at least three to four years. After which, they will proceed to earn a doctor of physical therapy degree.

HOW MUCH DO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS EARN IN CALIFORNIA?

According to ziprecruiter.com, the average salary of a physical therapist in California ranges between $117,020 and $143,393.

CONCLUSION

Becoming a professional physical therapist in California comes with several benefits. This article has provided a guide on how to become a physical therapist in California. It also listed the top physical therapist schools in California, and we hope it is helpful to your search.

REFERENCE

  • Wikipedia.org
  • Worldscholarshub.com
  • Collegegazette.com
  • Niche.com

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