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Master’s in Physical Therapy in the US

A Master’s in Physical Therapy is a common graduate-level training program that is offered around the US and throughout much of the world. Students who engage in these programs are prepared to enter a variety of careers in a number of important fields. These rigorous programs involve studying a great deal about the human body, how it works, how it responds to injury and how to help it heal following a trauma. Students with exceptional abilities to understand the human body and its needs may be particularly well-suited to these programs and their respective careers.

What is a Master’s in Physical Therapy?

The requirements for a Master’s in Physical Therapy may vary from university to university. However, their differences are often much less than their similarities. This is because each program is designed by professionals in the industry to teach the next generation of physical therapists how to excel in their jobs. This means that each program usually offers many of the same core topics common to the industry. Some of these course topics may include:

  • Human gross anatomy
  • Human movement
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Pathokinesiology
  • Neurological evaluation and treatment
  • Musculoskeletal evaluation and treatment

Graduate seminars, special topic courses and research labs may also be an important part of these programs. Following completion of all coursework, students are also often asked to take part in a clinical practicum. Oral and written tests, research papers and a thesis requirement are also common components to many Master’s in Physical Therapy degree programs.

In some cases, students may specialise in a certain area that falls within the scope of physical therapy. For example, the University of Pittsburgh offers a musculoskeletal and neuromuscular concentration for their Master’s in Physical Therapy students. This extra expertise can give them an edge over their peers when competing for certain jobs.

In order to be accepted to a Master’s in Physical Therapy program, students must show they have completed some important coursework. These programs build heavily on prerequisites, so students should have a demonstrable, working knowledge of anatomy and physiology, systemic physiology, chemistry, physics, psychology and pharmacology.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s in Physical Therapy in the US?

Master’s in Physical Therapy programs are one of the few degree programs available that allow one person to have such a great impact on a person’s life. The work is often incredibly rewarding as patients work hard and change their lives with a physical therapist’s assistance. Additional benefits include:

  • Working directly with people.
  • Knowing how the body works and why.
  • Increased career opportunities.
  • Opportunities to receive higher salaries
  • Having the choice to work independently or as the part of a larger practice.
  • Continuing educational opportunities as a PhD candidate.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master’s in Physical Therapy?

Most students who graduate from a Master’s in Physical Therapy program in the United States chose careers as physical therapists. Some students opt instead to work as exercise scientists. However, the greatest diversity in career choice comes in the treatment setting graduates choose. Physical therapists are needed in many different settings, including

  • Outpatient
  • Skilled nursing
  • Home health
  • Sports prevention and wellness
  • Hospice care
  • Occupational environments.

A large number of physical therapists work in an outpatient clinic where patients make appointments to receive treatment, much like a chiropractor of primary care physician. It is at these appointments that physical therapists actively work with patients, teach them exercises and give them guidance on how to continue their care at home.

Alternatively, physical therapists also often travel to patients’ homes where they do the patient’s therapy. Many home health patients are pediatric or senior citizens who are unable to go to outpatient facilities. The same duties apply to home health as they do to outpatient facility care.

Sports prevention and wellness is a preventative type of therapy that physical therapists oversee to ensure that active sports professionals keep their body strong and their muscles working properly to avoid injury. They promote healthy eating and appropriate activities and activity levels. Treatment can take place in homes, sports training facilities and fitness centers.


A Master’s in Physical Therapy is the first step towards gaining a new career that is dedicated to helping others achieve a great level of health. Choose the program that best aligns with your particular needs and goals to be sure you stay on the path to the future you want.

University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, United States

  • 189SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 41,000Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

The University of Puget Sound is a private located in the North End of Tacoma, Washington, in the United States. The University offers a variety of master's degree programs....

Widener University

Chester, United States

  • 221SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 52,909Average Tuition
  • 65%Acceptance Rate

Widener University (Widener) is a private institution with campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Delaware, USA. The university offers a wide range of master's degree programs through its academic schools namely: School of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Nursing, Human Service Professions; Delaware Law School; and Widener Law Commonwealth....

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, United States

  • 224SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 34,549Average Tuition
  • 86%Acceptance Rate

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public research university in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. Through its twelve faculties, the university delivers master’s degree programs in the fields of accounting, anatomical science, anthropology of peace and human rights, art history, biology, biomedical and health sciences, biostatistics, business administration, civil engineering, clinical laboratory sciences, clinical pathologist assistant, clinical/medical social work, engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear medicine technology, nurse anesthesia and many more. ...

University of Kansas

Lawrence, United States

  • 227SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 23,700Average Tuition
  • 93%Acceptance Rate

The University of Kansas (KU) is a state-sponsored, public research institution located in Kansas, United States. KU is spread across five campuses and through its 14 colleges, the university offers a wide range of master's degree courses....

University of South Florida

Tampa, United States

  • 245SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 15,900Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

The University of South Florida (USF) is a public research institution located in the city of Tampa, Florida, United States. The university has three campuses through which it delivers master’s degree courses in the fields of health professions and related programs, business, management, marketing, and related support services, biological and biomedical sciences, social sciences, psychology, architecture, liberal arts, education and visual and performing arts....

Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, United States

  • 279SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 24,000Average Tuition
  • 73%Acceptance Rate

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is a learning and research institute in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA. Students can choose from over 150 master’s degree programs at EMU. ...

University of the Pacific

Stockton, United States

  • 389SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 47,300Average Tuition
  • 65%Acceptance Rate

The University of the Pacific (UOP) is an American Private University with a primary campus in Stockton, California. The university was founded in 185 and has a dedicated faculty through which it offers master’s degree courses ...

Florida International University

Miami, United States

  • 429SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 23,600Average Tuition
  • 50%Acceptance Rate

Florida International University (FIU) is Miami's first and only public research university. Located in South Florida, USA. FIU offers a wide range of master's degree programs....

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tallahassee, United States

  • 494SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 32,551Average Tuition
  • 49%Acceptance Rate

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), located in Tallahassee, offers 54 undergraduate, 29 postgraduate, 3 professional and 12 doctoral programs through its schools and colleges of Agriculture & Food Sciences Education; Engineering; Law; Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences; Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities; Science & Technology; Allied Health Sciences; Architecture & Engineering Technology; Business & Industry; Environment; Graduate Studies & Research; Journalism & Graphic Communication; and Nursing....

University of Toledo

Toledo, United States

  • 556SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 31,347Average Tuition
  • 94.7%Acceptance Rate

The University of Toledo (UT) is a research-intensive university with two campuses located in the city of Toledo in Ohio, United States. UT offers a wide range of master’s degree programs through 13 academic colleges, including: the College of Health and Human Services; College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; College of Education; and the College of Engineering....

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