The need for physical therapists is on the rise. While the average growth rate for most professions is around 14 percent, the projected rate of change between 2010 and 2020 for physical therapists is 39 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With such anticipated growth, getting the proper training to become a board-certified physical therapist is the first step toward getting into the field. Though admission into these programs is competitive, many universities offer the necessary graduate studies for physical therapists across the country.

University of Miami

The University of Miami 's Miller School of Medicine offers both the entry-level graduate Doctor of Physical Therapy program as well as a Ph.D. program in physical therapy. With a five-year pass rate of 96 percent for first-time takers of the national licensing examination, graduate course work in the areas of musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, integumentary and neuromuscular therapy are taught by board-certified clinical specialists within the profession.

George Washington University

Located in Washington, D.C., George Washington University is home to an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program. As part of the Department of Physical Therapy and Health Sciences, graduate course work at George Washington typically takes eight semesters to complete. Learning outcomes focusing on the legal and ethical aspects of patient care are embedded into program course work. Students who matriculate through this graduate program are required to complete a 34-week, full-time intern practicum at an approved medical facility.

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Students who select the University of Massachusetts - Lowell are prepared not only to become practitioners in the field of physical therapy, but to engage in basic and clinical research. The program incorporates small group and problem-based learning into its course curriculum. This enables students to participate in studies that enhance critical medical decision-making across the program curriculum. Courses, such as Directed Research and Research Methods, are unique to the University of Massachusetts Lowell program.

Texas Woman's University

Physical therapists looking to pursue a Ph.D. in their field can anticipate the requirement of an additional 45 hours beyond their entry level D.P.T. degree. The Texas Woman's University offers an entry-level D.P.T-to-Ph.D. fast-track program, which allows students to complete both degrees in a shorter time frame. By offering concurrent internships, academic practicums and entry-level course work on projects related to developing dissertation requirements, students who enroll in this graduate program can earn both degrees within six years.

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