The majority of the Best physical therapy schools in Florida are dedicated to training students with a world-class education and hands-on experience through their research facilities and experienced tutors. These universities are often renowned for their strong research programs, affordable tuition, and active student communities. Thus, a physiotherapy program in Florida can be the best choice for you if you want to study in a state with a beautiful landscape, affordable tuition, a lively student life, and excellent internship opportunities.
Typically, a physical therapy degree opens up a wide range of employment options for students, including those in medical, strength training, and even professional sports. As a result, there will always be job opportunities in this field.
Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a 17% increase in employment for physical therapists between 2021 and the next decade. This exceeds the national average for all occupations.
This post goes over the benefits and drawbacks of becoming a physical therapist, as well as the best physical therapy schools in Florida.
Who Is a Physical Therapist?
A physical therapist is a specialist who uses prescribed exercise and hands-on care to improve people’s lives. As a result, physical therapists examine individuals and devise a treatment plan to reduce or manage discomfort, restore function, and increase mobility. They help patients achieve fitness goals, regain or maintain mobility, and live active lives.
What Are The Benefits of Becoming a Physical Therapist?
As a physical therapist, you will have the opportunity to help people while earning a decent living. Here are some more reasons why you should become a physical therapist:
#1. Positive Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of physical therapists will grow by 17% between 2021 and the next decade. This is faster than the national average for all occupations. Not only that, but the average annual salary for physical therapists in May 2021 was $95,620. Hence, as a physical therapist, you will work to enhance patients’ lives while also making a living.
#2. Opportunity to Make a Difference
Obtaining a physical therapy degree will allow you to make a difference in people’s lives. As a physical therapist, you will help people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds regain mobility and manage chronic pain. As a result, the work of a physical therapist is undeniably valuable and extremely rewarding.
#3. It’s an Exciting and Evolving Profession
Physical therapy is a field that is forever evolving in terms of strategies and technologies. While your goal of assisting others will remain constant, how you assist patients will change. One day, you could be applying electrical stimulation to a runner’s knee, and the next, you could be assisting a stroke patient in regaining control of their facial muscles. Therefore, every day at work brings a new challenge and learning opportunity. It’s also rewarding to see your patients improve!
The Top 15 Best Physical Therapy Schools in Florida 2023
The following are our top picks for the best physical therapy schools in Florida:
#1. University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
The University of Florida is first on the list of best physical therapy schools in Florida. The University of Florida’s physical therapy students are known for their commitment to serving local and global communities. As a result, their physical therapy graduates work in clinics, hospitals, and schools to provide clinical services.
Furthermore, the Rehabilitation Education Activity and Community Health programs contribute to the University’s mission by providing vital rehabilitation services to those in need. Similarly, faculty and students investigate human disease and dysfunction using techniques ranging from molecular signaling to robotic-assisted training.
Therefore, physical therapy students will be able to improve their graduate experience and learn important skills through research, thanks to the university’s vast resources.
#2. Florida Southern College Lakeland, FL
FSC (Florida Southern College) is a private college located in Lakeland, Florida. Since its inception, FSC has upheld the mission of preparing students to make a positive and consequential impact on society through dynamic engaged learning. In 2019, the student population at FSC consisted of 3,073 students and 130 full-time faculty members.
In addition, the college offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and pre-professional programs, graduate programs in nursing, business, and education, and post-graduate programs in nursing, education, and physical therapy. Furthermore, Florida Southern College provides numerous opportunities for students to participate in student life, including fraternities, sororities, student organizations, and honor societies.
#3. University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL)
The University of North Florida, located in the heart of Jacksonville, is a nationally ranked institution dedicated to student success. UNF offers students small class sizes and individualized attention, numerous opportunities to gain real-world experience while in school, strong job placement, an active student life, Division I athletics, and a welcoming and engaged community.
Furthermore, the University of North Florida’s DPT program also equips graduates with the expertise needed to become skilled practitioners. Thus, students studying physical therapy at UNF will develop a solid foundation in subjects including physiology, kinesiology, therapeutic modalities, and neurology. Also, PT practice calls for knowledge of human mobility. Thanks to the Willed Body Program, students get the chance to work with anatomical specimens. As a result, UNF PT students can improve their understanding of anatomy and neuroanatomy to be better caregivers.
#4. Florida Atlantic University, (Boca Raton FL)
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is a public research university with its main campus in Boca Raton, Florida. Since its inception in 1961, FAU has quickly grown to become one of the state’s largest institutions in terms of enrollment. Enrollment has increased to over 30,000 students from 180 countries, 50 states, and the District of Columbia as of 2021.
In addition, Florida Atlantic’s 10 colleges offer over 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The student body at the university is made up of 24,663 undergraduates, 3,380 graduate students, 440 doctoral students, and 254 medical students.
#5. the University of West Florida, (Pensacola FL)
The University of West Florida is a public university in Pensacola, Florida. Established in 1963 as part of the State University System of Florida, the university sits on the third largest campus in the State University System, at 1,600 acres.
Currently, UWF has over 12,500 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs across its colleges. Also, UWF has awarded over 100,000 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees, placing it among Florida’s best physical therapy schools.
In addition, students can also join any UWF-registered student organization, such as academic clubs, Greek organizations, professional and honor societies, religious organizations, and special interest groups.
#6. University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL)
The University of Miami is another classic institution among the best physical therapy schools in Florida. The University of Miami is known for its medical programs, many of which are held at UM’s nearby Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine campus. At the University of Miami, students take classes from physical therapy professionals at the top of their field.
Additionally, physical therapy students also study unique courses while at the University of Miami. The Integrated Sports and Leisure course encourages students to collaborate with physically challenged people to learn everyday recreational activities.
#7. University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)
One of the reasons USF ranks among the best physical therapy schools in Florida is that it was one of the first state universities in Florida to offer a physical therapy degree. Also, physical therapy students have the opportunity to collaborate with students studying nursing, public health, physician assistant, and medicine.
Furthermore, PT students study at modern simulation labs that employ cutting-edge and creative technologies. Physical therapy students can attend the only fully accredited university in the entire state of Florida thanks to the USF Health Simulation Consortium. Specialized task trainers, virtual reality, and other simulators are used to teach students in the physical therapy curriculum.
Moreover, physical therapy students have the opportunity to participate in the university’s orthopedic residency every September. These advanced didactic and clinical educational opportunities aid in the development of hands-on clinical skills in orthopedic physical therapy.
#8. University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
The University of Central Florida is located in the Student Health Center, the school’s Physical Therapy Clinic. The facility combines physical therapy specialization with healthcare education. Thus, UCF PT students offer individualized therapy while honing their orthopedic and sports medicine expertise.
Similarly, the Institute of Exercise Physiology and Rehabilitation Science can help physical therapy students learn more effectively. Also, PT students work on mechanistic and translational research projects with the guidance of world-class instructors.
Finally, UCF students are actively engaged in service opportunities within their community. The Disney Marathon, Special Olympics, and Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk are just some of the events that physical therapy students participate in.
#9. Nova Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale is well-known for its high-quality physical therapy programs. From entry-level DPT programs to post-graduate PT residencies, NSU graduates enjoy significant career advantages.
In addition, the DPT squad took part in the yearly 2020 NSU Health Professions Division Ethics Bowl against other college healthcare programs. The physical therapy students demonstrated their expertise and took second place as a result of their effective use of ethical terms.
Interestingly, NSU physical therapy students can travel abroad to complete their clinical education requirements. Students gain the ability to adapt and use their talents in a variety of circumstances by becoming fully immersed in other countries’ healthcare systems. Moreover, NSU collaborates with Eduglobal, a non-profit management organization for health education, to offer students clinical experiences at rehabilitation facilities throughout Italy.
#10. Nova Southeastern University, Tampa (Clearwater, FL)
Nova Southeastern University, Tampa is another top University among the best physical therapy schools in Florida. PT students at Nova Southeastern University begin interacting with patients as early as their first year. This is done to encourage the early application of knowledge to real-world patients and provide immediate feedback.
After being exposed to patients in the classroom, physical therapy students will apply the professional and clinical practice in clinical settings. Three full-time clinical experiences last three months each and are supervised by a clinical instructor. As a result, students will gain cognitive, psychomotor, and effective skills by volunteering at local hospitals and clinics.
#11. Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers, FL)
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is a public university in Lee County, Florida, near Fort Myers. The university was founded on May 3, 1991, and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Consequently, students in the FGCU physical therapy program learn in cutting-edge facilities. Thus, students will gain the most up-to-date knowledge and skills in helping patients using modern laboratories. FGCU students have access to a wide range of library resources to supplement the information they learn in classes and laboratories. As a result, PT students can research a variety of databases, journals, and books relevant to their field of study.
#12. Florida State University, (Tallahassee FL)
Florida State University (FSU) is another classic institution among the best physical therapy schools in Florida. FSU, founded in 1851, is a public research university located on Florida’s oldest continuous site of higher education.
Furthermore, FSU comprises 16 distinct colleges as well as over 110 centers, facilities, labs, and institutes that offer over 360 programs of study, including professional school programs. Moreover, the university enrolled 45,493 students from all 50 states and 130 countries in 2021. Also, FSU has around 372,000 alumni. Its alumni can be found in all 50 states as well as many countries worldwide.
#13. Florida International University (Miami, FL)
Florida International University is another outstanding institution among the best physical therapy schools in Florida. Since its founding in 1965, FIU has expanded to become one of Florida’s largest colleges and the fifth-largest public institution in the US in terms of enrollment.
Interestingly, Florida International University students frequently have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of physical therapy to patients in the local community. Also, PT students can select from more than 450 internship possibilities at off-campus hospitals, rehab and outpatient facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and other locations.
#14. University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (St. Augustine, FL)
At USAHS, physical therapists train to have a beneficial impact on patient’s lives. For the convenience of the students, the DPT program is typically offered in two alternative versions. The adaptable DPT curriculum allows students who must work, have family responsibilities, or reside a distance from university to obtain their physical therapy degree.
Typically, these PT degrees require 131 credits and prepare students to sit for the national licensing exam. Also, students will take several courses, including electives in physical therapy, biomechanics, movement science, and evidence-informed practice.
Additionally, physical therapy students take part in three clinical experiences to put the knowledge they have acquired in class into practice. These six to twelve-week rotations impart crucial practical experience and patient care abilities. Consequently, clinical placements are decided based on the student’s academic needs.
#15. Palm Beach Atlantic University, FL
Palm Beach Atlantic University is the last on the list of best physical therapy schools in Florida. Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private Christian university in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The university was founded in 1968 as an outgrowth of a local Baptist church. It operated out of various buildings until 1982 when the first purpose-built campus building was completed. Moreover, Palm Beach Atlantic University has nine schools and over 50 undergraduate and graduate programs. In 2019, it had about 2,800 undergraduate students.
How Do I Become a Physical Therapist?
Generally, physical therapy is a very delicate field. Thus, joining this profession necessitates years of education, mastery of a wide range of skills, and obtaining licensure. The following steps should help you get started on your journey to becoming a physical therapist.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in a Related Field
A bachelor’s degree in a field related to health science or sports is usually required to work as a physical therapist. Additionally, some graduate physical therapy programs may require you to take prerequisite courses in physics, kinesiology, biology, chemistry, physiology, and human anatomy. In any case, make sure to look into the institution’s requirements and take the required classes.
Step 2: Complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree
Following the completion of a bachelor’s degree, the next step in becoming a PT is to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. As a result, you must enroll in and complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (DPT). Also, during your second year of the program, you’ll have to complete your white coat ceremony and enter the clinic for hands-on rotations supervised by a clinical teacher.
Step 3: Pass the NPTE
To become a licensed physical therapist, you must first pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). This computer-based exam has 250 multiple-choice questions divided into five sections. Also, the NPTE is given four times a year: in January, April, July, and October.
Step 4: Earn Board Certification
After becoming licensed and gaining professional experience in the field, you can become a board-certified clinical specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). To become board-certified, you must pass the National Physical Therapy exam and complete an American Physical Therapy Association-accredited residency program.
FAQs About The Best Physical Therapy Schools in Florida
Which country is best for studying physical therapy?
The best places to study physiotherapy are the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and parts of Western Europe.
How much does physical therapy school cost in Florida?
The cost of studying physiotherapy ranges between $27,000 and $97,000.
Is becoming a physical therapist worth it?
As a physical therapist, you will have the opportunity to help people while earning a good living. Furthermore, most physiotherapy jobs have flexible schedules. So, working as a physical therapist is worthwhile.
A career as a physical therapist will allow you to make a difference in people’s lives by assisting them in feeling better. Furthermore, looking at the job outlook for a PT, it’s clear that the demand for physiotherapists will continue to rise over the next decade. Therefore, if you enjoy making people feel better through hands-on care and physical exercise. Now is the best time to begin your career as a physical therapist!