Best Physical Therapy Schools in California in 2022 | Updated |

Physical Therapy Schools in California

In the upcoming years, Physical Therapy will be one of the most demanding careers in the USA. As per reports, more than 30 percent population will be around 60 years till 2034.

And during the 60s, various muscular problems arise, including knee replacement. To avoid high-cost surgery, people rely on a physical therapist to modulate their body movement without surgeries.

California is among the top preferences for students to take education for physical therapy. The reason is the job availability in the state and more than 200 physical therapy schools in California, which gave students comprehensive options to select.

So, to help you, we have list best physical therapy programs in California, with the usage of various filters, which include NPTE Pass Rate, Graduation Rate, Clinical Rotations, Program Curriculum and many more, 

Prerequisites for DPT Programs in California

a.Bachelors – One needs to have a bachelor’s in particular subjects, including Physiology, Kinesiology, Biology and Chemistry.

b.Shadowing Hours – Applicants for DPT Program need to have volunteer observation experience under a licensed physical therapist and get the documentation of total working hours.

c.References – Physical Therapist Schools also mandate students to get 2 to 4 letters of recommendation from professors, licensed Physical Therapists (with whom you work for volunteer experience) and academic advisors.

And most important, these intervene individuals who give references should know about you and match up with the following attributes – maturity, leadership, communication skills, compassion etc.

d. GRE Scores – Most DPT institutions require Graduate Record Examination with minimum acceptable scores and the last acceptance date.

These are the essential prerequisites that each physical therapy school want from the applicant. For more additional prerequisites, you can once check the school websites before applying. 

Best Physical Therapy Schools in California

top rated physical therapy programs

UC San Francisco and San Francisco State University

Both reputed universities have been colloidally providing three-year DPT Programs and have been partners since 1989.

One of the main benefits of joining SFSU and UCSF physical therapy program, students have the opportunity to get access to both university campuses such as UCSF is known for intense research, while SFSU help with excellent academics, 

Prerequisites

In order to take admission in SFSU and UCSF physical therapy program, you need to fulfill some requirements which includes –

  • Bachelors – Yes
  • Shadowing Hours – 150 Hours minimum
  • References – 3
  • GRE Scores – Yes
    • Verbal Required – Min 50 % || Avg. 72 %
    • Quantitative – Min 50 % || Avg. 66 %
    • Analytical – 5

Program Overview

UCSF – SFSU’s three-year DPT program includes the following subjects –

First Year Overview – Courses include fundamental basic science such as anatomy, physiology and pathology. It also includes classes in movement science, orthopedics and acute care. 

Second Year Overview- In this year, more emphasis is on neurological and advanced orthopedics therapeutic exercise, research design and radiology.

Third Year Overview – In the final year, you will get more advanced doctoral coursework such as pediatrics, geriatrics, therapeutic exercise for specialized populations and medical screening.

The student and faculty Ratio in UCSF-SFSU is 1:11, which helps faculty to maintain a good focus on all students.

Facilities

You will get 32 weeks of full-time clinical experience in a three-year program. Clinical expertise (training for physical therapists) starts from the first year onward. Under this, students intervened in patient care experiences in orthopedic and acute care settings. 

University also provides an opportunity for inter-professional education, including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing students, simulated patient interviewing, and problem-solving.

Key Points

  • Accreditation – CAPTE
  • Type – Public
  • GPA – 3.0 || Avg. – 3.6
  • NPTE Pass Rate – 96.5 %
  • Graduation Rate – 97%
physical therapy schools in southern california

USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy

USC Division of Bio Kinesiology and Physical Therapy was founded in 1945. Institute includes both residential as well as hybrid DPT programs. It is one of the best private physical therapy schools in Los Angeles.

The school is well known for its faculty support to the students. To make fresher students feel confident, the college introduces a buddy system. Each fresher student is assigned a senior student, which helps fresher clarify their doubts regarding student life and courses.

Prerequisites

In order to take admission in USC Physical therapy program, you need to fulfill some requirements which includes –

  • Bachelors – Yes
  • Shadowing Hours – 150 Hours
  • References – 3
  • GRE Scores – Yes
    • Verbal Required – 150
    • Quantitative – 150
    • Analytical –

Program Overview

USC’s DPT program is based on the semester system and is known for its structured curriculum, which emphasises clinical practice. As per the school’s faculty, the course is updated as new research in physical therapy happens so that students use it in their clinical practice.

First Year Overview – Under this year, you will acknowledge with (Semester 1) fundamentals of basic sciences, cellular and system physiology along with (Semester 2) musculoskeletal disorders,

Second Year Overview – This year includes (Semester 3) cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders, additionally it is taught in acute hospital settings, while in (Semester 4) you will learn about neurologic disorders.

Third Year Overview – In the third year (semesters 5 and 6), students undergo full-time clinical rotation and part-time clinical rotation, including case-based instruction and lab practice courses. Both clinical rotations, full-time and part-time, are partially divided into two semesters. Half students undergo part-time in Sem 5 and then full time in next time in Sem 6,

In each semester, the school provide clinical experience to their students. Along with this, the student and faculty ratio in USC DPT Program is 16:1

Facilities

The college facilitates students with two research centres and focuses on the following research areas, which include

  • Exercise science and muscle physiology, 
  • Neuromotor control and neurorehabilitation,
  • Infant learning and motor control,
  • Musculoskeletal biomechanics and rehabilitation

Students are allowed to accompany interprofessional collaboration for the research part.

Key Points

  • Accreditation – CAPTE
  • Type – Private
  • GPA – 3.0 || Avg. – 3.5
  • NPTE Pass Rate – 95%
  • Graduation Rate – 95%
physical therapy graduate schools in california

Crean College of Health and Behavioural Sciences - Chapman University

Chapman University started the DPT program in 1928. It is recognized for running an accredited physical therapy program for more than nine decades, 

In the long run, colleges do not compromise with their education ethics. For four years (2017 to 2020), the school DPT program is giving a 100 percent employment rate and more than 95 percent graduation rate,

Prerequisites

In order to take admission in Chapman University Physical therapy program, you need to fulfil some requirements, which includes –

  • Bachelors – Yes
  • Shadowing Hours – min. 40 hours
  • References – 
  • GRE Scores – Yes
    • Verbal Required – 154
    • Quantitative – 153
    • Analytical – 4.0

Program Overview

It is one of the best DPT programs. University has structured its physical therapy curriculum on a trimester system (in one year, you will have three semesters). For your better understanding, we have highlighted the subjects you will learn in three years,

  • First Year
    • Functional Human Anatomy
    • Biomechanics of Human Movement
    • Developmental Anatomy
    • Clinical Pathophysiology: General Medicine
    • Physical Therapy and the HC System
    • Kinesiological Motion Analysis
    • Functional Human Neuroanatomy 
    • Applied Neurophysiology
    • Musculoskeletal Practice Management
    • Physical Agents
    • Interprofessional Education 
  • Second Year
    • Musculoskeletal Practice Management 2
    • Neurological Practice Management
    • Motor Control and Motor Learning
    • Cultural Diversity & Psychology in Health Care 
    • Physical Therapy and the HC System
    • Interprofessional Education 
    • Functional Human Anatomy 2
    • Rehabilitation Practice Management
    • Cardiopulmonary Practice Management
    • Paediatric Practice Management
    • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Third Year
    • Pharmacology
    • Geriatric Practice Management
    • Wellness & Complimentary Medicine
    • Leadership, Admin., Mgmt, & Policy
    • Elective in Physical Therapy
    • Clinical Experience

Facilities

Chapman University facilitates their DPT Students by providing a lab associated with each curriculum topic, which helps the student to learn things conceptually. Below is the list of various labs for DPT students –

  • Motion Analysis Lab
  • Gait Rehabilitation and Research Lab
  • Anatomy Wet/Dry Lab
  • Exercise Equipment Lab
  • Home Health Lab
  • Musculoskeletal Lab
  • Neuromuscular Lab
  • Paediatric Teaching and Research Lab

Key Points

  • Accreditation – CAPTE
  • Type – Private
  • GPA – 3.5 || Avg. – 3.71
  • NPTE Pass Rate – 100 %
  • Graduation Rate – 95%
csulb dpt requirements

College of Health and Human Services - CSU Long Beach

CSU Long Beach is one of the most affordable DPT schools in California. Being a public university, its overall tuition fees for the DPT program are $ 77,382, which is less compared to other universities in California, 

For your information, CSU Long Beach has got recognition as a larger university with 40,000 students, while DPT programs each year only admit 35 students. DPT program has a good record in first attempt NPTE Pass Rate, which is about 97%.

Prerequisites

To take admission in CSULB Physical therapy program, you need to fulfill some requirements, which include –

  • Bachelors – Yes
  • Shadowing Hours – min. 100 hours
  • References – 3
  • GRE Scores – Yes
    • Verbal Required – 153
    • Quantitative – 148
    • Analytical – 4.0

Program Overview

CSULB Physical Therapy Program is based on a trimester system, which underneath overall nine semesters and 118 credits, as per students, one of the best things CSU Long DPT Program is that they have a cohort of 35, which thereby helps to get one-on-one attention from faculties,

In each semester, the school gives you an experience of clinical rotation. We have highlighted some more information related to DPT program for each year,

First Year – In the first year, you get acknowledged with various topics, which include anatomy, neuroanatomy, tissue mechanics, motor control, physiology, acute care principles and many more. 

To surplus students with conceptual learning, from the first year, they make them influence with lab, as per students, in the first year they make students learn dissection with the usage of cadavers on the real body not on 3d models, to get a better understanding of muscle variation.

Second Year – This year, the college breakdown the students into small groups, whose goal is to perform new research in their physical therapy learnings and make a final submission for their research in 3rd year,

The topics you learn in the second year uncovers Imaging, Ortho practice, Different Diagnosis, musculoskeletal interventions, cardiopulmonary management, health care delivery, senior management, Prosthetics and orthotics. We have not listed all of them; it’s only an overview. 

Third Year – The Final Year of your college is mainly dedicated to clinical education. Students overall get 36 weeks of off-campus clinical rotation, 

Along with clinical internships, school shape students’ strong foundation with advanced studies of various topics such as Sports Physical Therapy, Cardiopulmonary Management, Ortho Practice, and Pathophysiology.

Facilities

CSULB facilitates their DPT students with various labs, which thereby not only help students in their doctoral projects analysis but also ease learning. Here is the list of labs –

  • Balance & Prevention of Falls
  • Clinical Movement Performance Laboratory (CMPL)
  • Clinical Rehabilitation and Biomechanics (CRAB) Laboratory
  • Electrophysiological Measurement
  • Path kinesiology
  • Spine Research Laboratory
  • The THRIVE Lab

Apart from this, CSULB also helps DPT students with career support, and as a result, the school acquires a 100 percent employment rate in the year 2021.

Key Points

  • Accreditation – CAPTE
  • Type – Public
  • GPA – 3.68 || Avg. – 3.75
  • NPTE Pass Rate – 100%
  • Graduation Rate – 97%
physical therapy colleges in california

College of Health and Human Services – San Diego State University

SDSU is one of the good schools for physical therapy, accredited by CAPTE. The goal of the school is to prepare the physical therapy graduate with four pillar structure which includes ethical, culturally competent, evidence-based and patient-centered,

Prerequisites

In order to take admission in SDSU Physical therapy program, you need to fulfill some requirements, which includes –

  • Bachelors – Yes
  • Shadowing Hours – min. 100 hours
  • References – 3
  • GRE Scores – Yes
    • Verbal Required – 150
    • Quantitative – 150
    • Analytical – 4.3

Program Overview

SDSU has a strong academic structure for physical therapy students, which helps students to build critical thinking and critical reasoning skills in them,

SDSU DPT curriculum is based on a trimester system (Summer, Fall, Spring) with 121 units. One needs to complete their degree in 3 years. No part-time feasibility is available right now, Below we have listed the topic which you learn each year –

 First Year 

  • Foundation of Physical Therapy Evaluation 
  • Clinical Anatomy
  • Neurosciences
  • Therapeutic Modalities
  • Therapeutic Exercise
  • Functional Neuro–Biomechanical Relationships 

 Second Year

  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Differential Diagnosis in Physical Therapy
  • Professional Development in Physical Therapy Practice
  • Life Cycle I (Geriatrics)
  • Musculoskeletal Therapeutics 
  • Cardiopulmonary Therapeutics
  • Neurophysical Therapeutics
  • Life Cycle II (Paediatrics)
  • Medical Therapeutics in Physical Therapy Practice
  • Psychosocial Aspects of Rehabilitation

Third Year

  • Interventions in Musculoskeletal Therapeutics
  • Interventions in Neuromuscular Therapeutics (Paediatrics)
  • Physical Therapy Organization and Administration
  • Doctoral Project
  • Clinical Internship

Facilities

SDSU facilitates students with various labs, which include Simulation Centre, Gross Anatomy Lab, and Injury Clinic.

In addition, the school intervenes in community services, which helps students get real-world experience, and many underserved communities get physical therapy consultations.

In 2015 and 2016, SDSU got California Outreach Award for most service hours.

Key Points

  • Accreditation – CAPTE
  • Type – Public
  • GPA – 3.45 || Avg. – 3.71
  • NPTE Pass Rate – 94.9%
  • Graduation Rate – 99.5%
pt school in california

School of Health Sciences- University of the Pacific

The University of the Pacific is one of the best private physical therapy schools in California.

University has been offering a DPT program since 1985. School is dedicated to research; Each year, the student-produced about eight new thesis under faculty mentorship.

UOP has an excellent alumni structure, with whom they organize various guest lectures. It provides students the opportunity to connect with them and learn new trends. 

Prerequisites

In order to take admission in UOP DPT graduate programs, you need to fulfill some requirements, which include –

  • Bachelors – Yes
  • Shadowing Hours –min. 50 hours 
  • References – 3
  • GRE Scores – Yes
    • Verbal Required – 150
    • Quantitative – 150
    • Analytical – 4.0

Program Overview

University of Pacific program is known for its faculty support. The college offers a DPT program with a small class size of 36, which means the student and faculty ratio is 1:8.

UOP offers accelerated physical therapy programs of 25 months which is based on three vital structure –

Basic Sciences – Under this, it makes students explore the basics of physical therapy, which is used in understanding theory and practice in clinical settings.

Professional Behaviours – To succeed in a physical therapy career, one needs to adopt behavioral changes with which they can express their knowledge professionally.

Clinical Experience – It is a mandatory practice that DPT students need to acknowledge, so they can be sure about the learning they are taught in the classroom. While if you want to check into the topics uncovered in the curriculum, you can see them on the official website.

Facilities

The University of Pacific helps their DPT students in preparation for NPTE Exam. The university provides modern clinical technology labs and a choice of clinical practice in 350 sites nationwide.

From a research perspective, students work under their faculty and are motivated by presenting their research at various conferences. 

Key Points

  • Accreditation – CAPTE
  • Type – Private
  • GPA – 3.0 || Avg. – 3.56
  • NPTE Pass Rate – 98.1 %
  • Graduation Rate – 98%
california physical therapy schools

College of Health and Human Sciences – CSU,Fresno

For more than 40 years, CSU Fresno has been offering physical therapy programs. University is known for the least expensive pt program in California, with tuition fees of $ 64,592.

As per current students, the reason for choosing CSU Fresno is structured academics, faculty support, clinical experience, in-house opportunities and low tuition fees.

Prerequisites

To get admitted to the CSU Fresno Physical Therapy program, you need to fulfill some requirements, which include –

  • Bachelors –Yes
  • Shadowing Hours – min. 100 hours
  • References – 3
  • GRE Scores – Yes
    • Verbal Required – 150
    • Quantitative – 150
    • Analytical – 4.5

Program Overview

CSU Fresno is one of the best pt schools in California. The program entails 110 hours of didactic and clinical coursework, under which students need to complete 30 weeks of clinical rotations, both offsite and university clinics & labs.

From the first year of the DPT program, students are started getting clinical experience. Faculty will mentor in each lab one by one.

We have listed some topics uncovered in the CSU Fresno DPT Curriculum. For complete information on the curriculum, visit the university’s official website –

  • Medical Terminology for Health Professionals
  • Advance Techniques in Physical Therapy 
  • Advances in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy I & II
  • Advances Clinical Anatomy I & II
  • Advances in Management of the Aging Population
  • Advances in Management of the Neurological Patient
  • Sport Injuries
  • Advances in Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Contemporary Issues in Delivery of Physical Therapy Services
  • Administration of Physical Therapy Services

Facilities

To make learning better, DPT students were made to serve the community. As per the current students, it is one of the advantageous practices for them, 

The university has three research labs, including Gait Analysis Movement Evaluation (GAME) laboratory, the Paediatric Motor Control Research laboratory and the Neuroscience Research laboratory.  

Key Points

  • Accreditation – CAPTE
  • Type – Public
  • GPA – 3.0 || Avg. – 3.6
  • NPTE Pass Rate – 100%
  • Graduation Rate – 95%

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