15 Best Pre-Physical Therapy Studies Colleges 2024

pre physical therapy colleges
pre physical therapy colleges

Physical therapists are like superheroes of movement, and becoming one can be an excellent path! But before you suit up in that PT cape, there’s an essential first step: finding the best pre physical therapy colleges.

Pre-physical therapy colleges are like training wheels for PT school. They’re where you build a strong foundation in science and healthcare while getting a taste of physical therapy. It’s also where you’ll start prepping for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, which is the official PT degree.

So, if you’re ready to launch yourself towards a rewarding career in physical therapy, helping others regain their mobility and improve their quality of life, this is the perfect place to start!

We’ve compiled a list of the 20 best pre-physical therapy studies colleges offering comprehensive programs to prepare you for success in this field.

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What is Pre-Physical Therapy Studies?

Pre-physical therapy studies programs are designed to provide students with the necessary academic coursework and practical experiences to meet the requirements for admission into a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

These programs often focus on foundational science courses, hands-on lab experiences, and opportunities for shadowing and volunteering in clinical settings.

Why Choose Pre-Physical Therapy Studies?

Pursuing a pre-physical therapy studies program offers several benefits.

Firstly, it allows you to develop a strong scientific foundation and gain a deep understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology.

Additionally, these programs provide valuable hands-on experience and exposure to the field, enabling you to confirm your passion for physical therapy before committing to a more advanced doctoral program.

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What are the benefits of Choosing the Right Pre-Physical Therapy Studies College?

Selecting the right pre-physical therapy studies college is crucial for your educational journey and future career. Here’s why it matters:

Academic Excellence

The best pre-physical therapy studies colleges prioritize academic excellence. These institutions offer rigorous coursework, expert faculty members, and resources that allow students to delve deep into the core subjects of physical therapy. By choosing a college that values academic rigor, you ensure a solid educational foundation.

Hands-On Experience

Practical experience is vital in preparing for a career in physical therapy. The top pre-physical therapy studies colleges provide ample opportunities for hands-on learning through labs, clinical rotations, and internships.

These experiences allow students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings, develop critical skills, and gain exposure to different patient populations.

Research Opportunities

Engaging in research can significantly enhance your understanding of physical therapy and contribute to advancements in the field. The best pre-physical therapy studies colleges often have robust research programs, enabling students to work alongside faculty on groundbreaking studies. Participating in research can broaden your perspective and open doors to future opportunities.

Networking and Mentorship

Attending a reputable pre-physical therapy college means being part of a strong professional network. These colleges often connect with renowned physical therapy clinics, hospitals, and industry professionals.

Networking and mentorship opportunities can provide invaluable guidance, internships, and potential job placements after graduation.

Admissions Advantage for Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs

Applying to Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs can be highly competitive. Choosing a pre-physical therapy studies college with a strong reputation may give you an advantage during admissions.

DPT programs recognize colleges known for producing well-rounded, academically strong, and experienced candidates.

What are the best Pre-Physical Therapy Study Colleges?

Here below are some of the best pre-physical therapy studies colleges:

#1. University of California, Davis

At the top of our list for pre physical therapy colleges is the University of California, Davis. Renowned for its exceptional faculty and cutting-edge research facilities, UC Davis offers a comprehensive pre-physical therapy studies program.

Students benefit from rigorous coursework, state-of-the-art laboratories, and numerous opportunities for clinical observation and research.

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#2. University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh boasts a renowned Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, making it an excellent choice for aspiring physical therapists. With a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation, this program equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the field.

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#3. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan offers a highly respected pre-physical therapy studies program, providing students with a solid foundation in the sciences.

With access to world-class faculty and extensive research opportunities, students at this pre-physical therapy college are well-prepared for the rigours of doctoral-level physical therapy education.

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#4. University of Delaware

As a leader in physical therapy education, the University of Delaware offers a pre-physical therapy studies program that emphasizes academic rigor and clinical experience.

The program’s integrated approach ensures students develop critical thinking skills and practical competencies necessary for success in the field.

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#5. University of Miami

The University of Miami’s pre-physical therapy studies program stands out for its comprehensive curriculum and commitment to student success.

Students benefit from small class sizes, individualized attention from faculty, and clinical opportunities in the vibrant Miami community.

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#6.University of Southern California

Ranked among the top pre-physical therapy colleges in the nation, the University of Southern California (USC) offers a pre-physical therapy studies program that prepares students for excellence.

USC’s program emphasizes evidence-based practice, interdisciplinary collaboration, and hands-on clinical experiences.

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#7.University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, known for its esteemed physical therapy program, offers a comprehensive pre-physical therapy studies program.

With a focus on evidence-based practice and inter-professional collaboration, students gain the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their future careers.

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#8. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides an exceptional pre-physical therapy studies program with a strong emphasis on foundational sciences.

The program’s faculty members are leaders in their fields, and students benefit from cutting-edge research opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities.

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#9. Boston University

Boston University’s pre-physical therapy studies program prepares students for the demanding field of physical therapy. The curriculum combines classroom instruction, laboratory work, and clinical experiences, so graduates are well-prepared for the challenges of advanced physical therapy education.

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#10. University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a pre-physical therapy studies program focusing on interdisciplinary collaboration and evidence-based practice.

With opportunities for research, clinical observation, and community engagement, students develop a well-rounded understanding of physical therapy.

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#11. University of Florida

The University of Florida’s pre-physical therapy studies program offers a comprehensive curriculum combining theoretical knowledge and practical experiences.

Students can access cutting-edge facilities and faculty mentors who guide them through their academic and professional development.

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#12. University of Washington

The University of Washington’s pre-physical therapy studies program provides students with a strong scientific foundation and a focus on evidence-based practice.

With opportunities for research, clinical internships, and community engagement, students gain a well-rounded education that prepares them for success.

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#13. University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin offers a pre-physical therapy studies program emphasising critical thinking, communication skills, and cultural competence. Students benefit from a diverse learning environment, interdisciplinary collaboration, and hands-on clinical experiences.

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#14. University of Colorado Boulder

Known for its strong commitment to research and innovation, the University of Colorado Boulder’s pre-physical therapy studies program prepares students for the evolving field of physical therapy.

The program offers opportunities for specialized coursework and research projects tailored to students’ interests.

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#15. University of Iowa

The University of Iowa’s pre-physical therapy studies program focuses on developing well-rounded professionals who excel in clinical practice and research.

With access to state-of-the-art facilities and renowned faculty, students receive a comprehensive education that prepares them for the profession’s challenges.

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How to Choose the Best Pre-Physical Therapy Studies College

Selecting the best pre-physical therapy studies in college can be taxing. Consider the following factors to make an informed decision:

Location and Campus Culture

Think about the location and campus culture that aligns with your preferences. Do you prefer a vibrant city setting or a more serene campus environment? Consider factors such as climate, proximity to clinical opportunities, and extracurricular activities offered.


Ensure that a recognized accrediting body accredits the pre-physical therapy studies college you choose. Accreditation ensures the program meets high educational standards and prepares you for further studies or licensure.

Facilities and Resources

Evaluate the facilities and resources available at each college. Look for well-equipped laboratories, simulation centers, and access to clinical settings for practical training. Additionally, consider the availability of research opportunities and libraries with extensive physical therapy resources.

Faculty Expertise and Support

Research the faculty members at each college and their areas of expertise. Experienced and knowledgeable faculty can provide valuable mentorship and guidance throughout your pre-physical therapy studies. Look for faculty who are actively involved in research and clinical practice.

Alumni Success and Job Placement

Explore the career outcomes and job placement rates of the pre-physical therapy studies college’s alumni. This information can give you insights into the college’s ability to prepare students for successful careers in physical therapy. Consider factors such as licensure exam pass rates and alumni testimonials.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the prerequisites for a pre-physical therapy studies program?

Most colleges require a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics to be admitted into a pre-physical therapy studies program. Additionally, many programs look for relevant volunteer or shadowing experience in physical therapy settings.

How long does a pre-physical therapy studies program typically take to complete?

Pre-physical therapy studies programs typically span around two to three years, depending on the institution and whether the student attends full-time or part-time.

Can I transfer from a pre-physical therapy studies program to a Doctor of Physical Therapy program?

In most cases, students who complete a pre-physical therapy studies program can apply to Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. However, admission is competitive and typically requires additional requirements, such as a satisfactory GPA and completion of prerequisite courses.

Are there online options for pre-physical therapy studies programs?

While some colleges may offer online coursework for pre-physical therapy studies, it’s important to note that hands-on clinical experiences are a vital component of these programs. Therefore, choosing a program that provides ample opportunities for in-person learning and practical application of knowledge is advisable.

What career opportunities are available after completing a pre-physical therapy studies program?

After completing a pre-physical therapy studies program, graduates can pursue various career paths in healthcare and rehabilitation settings.

While becoming a licensed physical therapist is the most common choice, other options include working as a physical therapy aide or rehabilitation technician or pursuing a further specialization in sports or pediatric physical therapy.

Are pre-physical therapy studies programs only offered at universities?

Pre-physical therapy studies programs are predominantly offered at universities and colleges that have accredited physical therapy programs. However, some community colleges may also provide introductory coursework that can be transferred to a university program.

How can I finance my pre-physical therapy studies education?

There are several options to finance your pre-physical therapy studies education. Scholarships, grants, and work-study programs are familiar sources of financial aid. Additionally, you may consider student loans, but exploring scholarships and grants first is advisable to minimize debt.


Embarking on a career in physical therapy requires a solid educational foundation, and choosing the right pre-physical therapy studies college is paramount. The 15 best pre-physical therapy colleges listed in this article provide exceptional academic programs, hands-on experiences, and opportunities for growth and networking.

By carefully considering these colleges, you can set yourself on the path to success in the rewarding field of physical therapy.



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