Colleges with Pediatric Physical Therapy Programs

Check out our guide to get help finding schools that offer coursework for becoming a pediatric physical therapist. Find out about typical classes, what you might learn and licensure information. Schools offering Physical Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degree programs for physical therapists only exist at the doctoral level. You may see some practicing PTs with a master's degree, but these types of degrees are no longer offered in the U.S. Doctoral degree programs in physical therapy typically consist of intense training in fundamental sciences, physiology, musculoskeletal disorders and neurological disorders. Most also have a residency component, obliging students to do clinical rotations with a licensed physical therapist, and many are designed to get students ready for taking the certification exam (more on this below).

What's the Educational Path for Physical Therapists?

The educational path to becoming a physical therapist can be a long one. In fact, in order to get a license, you'll need to first graduate with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. This means getting a bachelor's degree and taking related coursework like anatomy, physics, physiology and chemistry. DPT programs typically take about three years to complete and involve advanced learning and hands-on experience working side-by-side with licensed physical therapists at a clinic, office or hospital.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Pediatric Physical Therapist?

There is no university degree program in the United States that is specifically designed to teach pediatric physical therapy. Rather, aspiring pediatric physical therapists can pursue a degree in physical therapy and, along the way, take coursework related to pediatrics. In addition, the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy offers courses, conferences and continuing education for physical therapists that can advance their knowledge in the field and help them pass the required tests to become certified.

How Do You Get Certified as a Pediatric Physical Therapist?

If you want to become a pediatric physical therapist, you'll first have to pass the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy's National Physical Therapy Examination. Once you're a certified physical therapist, you can apply to become a specialist in pediatrics. This is governed by the American Board of Certified Physical Therapy Specialists, the same organization that administers the 200-question test. Some schools, like Evidence In Motion in Louisville, KY, offer a program designed to help physical therapists prepare for certification.

Which Schools Offer Programs for Physical Therapy?

Many colleges and universities around the country offer doctoral programs for physical therapy. Some of these include:

  • The University of Southern California offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program
  • The University of Pittsburgh has a highly ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program
  • Emory University in Atlanta, GA, offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program
  • You can also get a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree at the University of Iowa
  • Northwestern University has a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program

What Can You Do as a Pediatric Physical Therapist?

Pediatric physical therapists are responsible for diagnosing and instituting therapeutic plans for children suffering from musculoskeletal disorders. This could be from an injury the child has sustained or from a chronic disorder. Pediatric PTs may work with children in a hospital setting, a clinic or a private office. PTs with some experience might be able to open their own offices with facilities for conducting physical therapy.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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