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10 Best Physical Therapy Schools in California

Best Physical Therapy Schools in California: Physical therapists use therapeutic approaches to increase mobility and reduce pain. They support people with illnesses or disorders that make it difficult for them to carry out daily tasks. Physical therapists can provide treatment for a variety of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, chronic pain, muscle strains, and spinal cord injuries. Physical therapy can lessen the need for surgery and prescription medications in addition to symptom relief.

Physical therapists contribute significantly to the creation of industry standards in addition to their work in clinical practice. These medical experts can also conduct research, inform the public, and instruct the upcoming physical therapists. Physical therapists need to complete graduate study and obtain a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in order to practice.

The circulatory and pulmonary systems, exercise physiology, the musculoskeletal system, and other topics are all covered by students in physical therapy school. Students can put the skills they gain in the lab and the classroom to use by practicing in the clinical setting. Student clubs, research, and community service are all significant avenues for fusing theory and practice.

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Physical Therapists Salary in California

There are many options for PT students to practice because there are over 200 PT schools. California, one of the states with the fastest-growing economies, is home to many prestigious universities. Additionally, the state has one of the greatest proportions of elderly citizens. Compared to the $87,000 national average, physical therapists in California make an average annual pay of $98,000.

Best Physical Therapy Schools in California

10. California State University Sacramento (Sacramento, CA)

Best Physical Therapy Schools in California
Best Physical Therapy Schools in California

Sacramento State uses both simulated and actual patient scenarios to engage students in clinical reasoning. Students learn how to apply their physical therapy skills in clinical practice during their 36-week full-time internships. In order to develop their interests within the profession, PT students do these assignments at three distinct sites.

With the use of patient simulators, students can practice their clinical skills in a variety of labs at the Simulation Learning Center. Students can practice practical skills while maintaining patient safety by simulating a hospital patient room’s appearance. Patients at these facilities range from adults to children to expectant mothers.

Five Community Clinics are available through Sacramento State in addition to lab courses and internships. These clinics offer free physical therapy and are operated by PT students under the guidance of qualified professionals. The primary areas of concentration for PT include adult neurology, orthopedics, amputee, pediatrics, and geriatrics.

9. California State University, Fresno (Fresno, CA)

Best Physical Therapy Schools in California
Best Physical Therapy Schools in California

The goal of the physical therapy program at Fresno State is to prepare a varied group of professionals who are dedicated to lifelong learning. Physical therapy students are equipped to assess, evaluate, and create treatment regimens for patients of all ages. Students from Fresno State are commended for their dedication to the community and professional skill.

All students, even those enrolled in the PT program, are required to complete multicultural education in order to graduate. In order to comprehend global viewpoints and learn about various communities, students can select from a number of courses. PT students can learn about various healthcare systems worldwide, from Prague to the Czech Republic, through study abroad programs.

Through the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, students studying physical therapy can put their expertise to use while performing community service. The institution collaborates with the local community in a variety of ways, including as volunteering, service-learning, and instructional activities.

8. University of the Pacific (Stockton, CA)

The University of the Pacific has been training physical therapists to be medical practitioners since 1985. The 24 committed faculty members have taught over 230 years in total. At the University of the Pacific, students might discover a professor who is actively involved in their topic of interest.

Students are the focus of all aspects of physical therapy education, including classes and extracurriculars. PT students actively participate in their academic careers by running leadership and groups on campus. Additionally, the University of the Pacific’s curriculum has a student-to-teacher ratio of 1:8, with just 36 students enrolled in each class.

A lot of PT students take involved in research to find out more about recent advancements in the area. They collaborate with academics to apply studies in real world settings. Physical therapy students create an average of 8 academic papers year with the guidance of teachers.

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7. Mount Saint Mary University (Los Angeles, CA)

The Mount Saint Mary’s PT program gives students a solid foundation for their future employment. 100% of graduates from the previous two academic years passed the licensing test. Additionally, all of the most recent physical therapy graduates were successful in landing jobs within a year of their graduation. Graduates go on to work in a variety of specialties, including geriatrics, neurorehabilitation, orthopedics, and sports medicine.

At Mount Saint Mary’s, physical therapy students take part in the wellness practicum during their first year. Through this program, PT students offer wellness evaluations and instruction to other healthcare students, employees, and other community members. This provides the practical critical thinking abilities required in need-based individual needs assessment.

Additionally, PT students play a crucial role in the wellbeing and security of university student-athletes. To prevent injuries, student teams will design team-wide training activities and readiness assessments. PT students are especially prepared for multidisciplinary work due to the integration of experience learning with other disciplines.

6. Chapman University (Orange, CA)

The longest-running physical therapy program in the country is housed at Chapman University, which has been accredited since 1928. Due to its extensive history, the university provides PT students with a wealth of resources, including cutting-edge lab facilities. Numerous centers, including the Motion Analysis, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromuscular laboratories, are located on the Chapman University campus.

The Gait Rehabilitation and Research Lab looks into fresh fall-prevention strategies. The team’s research helps people with neurological and musculoskeletal diseases by helping to build innovative equipment. Under the guidance of professors, students gain knowledge about perturbation training, daily activities, and stride interval complexity.

Students can take part in clinical activities all over the world to hone their clinical abilities in addition to research labs. For students to hone their skills in diverse settings, the physical therapy department offers experiences abroad Italy and Costa Rica.

5. Loma Linda University (Loma Linda, CA)

Physical therapists are trained by Loma Linda University to work as researchers, teachers, and carers. The university also offers post-professional PT and PT assistant programs in addition to a DPT degree. The distinctive PhD program in physical therapy is research-focused and places an emphasis on subjects like pain science and lifestyle health.

For students interested in orthopedics, Loma Linda University offers a residency program with superior knowledge and abilities in the field. PT students receive training in assessment, clinical decision-making, and therapy techniques from clinical supervisors. Through the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at the Medical Center, residents from the orthopedic residency program provide patient care.

To support regional and international communities, Loma Linda University provides special mission trips. Since 2015, physical therapy students have taken part in Street Medicine to offer their services to low-income San Bernardino locals. To influence the provision of physical therapy care globally, others travel to Haiti, Ethiopia, China, or Mexico.

4. San Diego State University (San Diego, CA)

PT students pick SDSU because of the state-of-the-art academic program and research infrastructure. These labs study everything from rehabilitation biomechanics to neuroplasticity. The SDSU Applied Sensorimotor Research Laboratory examines the mechanisms underlying pain and stress reactions. To prevent and treat chronic pain conditions, physical therapy students collaborate with researchers.

Students at SDSU do original research with the aid of professors. The PhD project work of physical therapy students in the Class of 2021 was successfully published in the journal Military Medicine. Their research focused on veterans’ post-traumatic neck pain.

There are several opportunities for student organization participation outside of classes and the lab. A statewide competition called the California Outreach Challenge encourages physical therapy students to volunteer in their local communities. The top 5 finishers in the individual competition were SDSU students, who finished second among PT programs.

3. Sam Merritt University (Oakland, CA)

One of the most cutting-edge healthcare simulation facilities in the West is located at Samuel Merritt University. Standardized patients and electronic mannequins can be found at the Health Sciences Simulation Center. PT students respond to lifelike scenarios as a part of a healthcare team through the use of technology. Patient safety is given top priority in this ideal setting, which also links theory and practice.

Another opportunity for PT students to put their skills to use is the Community Participant Labs. Physical therapy services are rendered to community members as part of a compulsory experience by students, who are supervised by certified teachers. Adult, pediatric, and occupational physical therapy are all practiced in these labs.

Through the capstone courses, students studying physical therapy can also combine theory and practice. They finish a case report, systematic review, or community-based research project in small groups. Students from SMU’s physical therapy program go on to present their research to peers or even at conferences across the country.

2. UCSF – San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA)

Each year, 50 students are accepted into the joint PT program between UCSF and SFSU, equipping them for success in their future jobs. 100% of PT graduates go on to pass the national license examination. Alumni of physical therapy programs can further their education through a range of symposiums, lectures, and other materials made available to the PT network.

The residency programs also follow a curriculum that emphasizes top-notch education. In order to prepare students for practice, the Acute Care Physical Therapy Residency Program offers coursework, mentoring, and teaching experience. PT residents have access to the resources and clinical knowledge of the UCSF health system as they learn to provide patient-centered treatments.

In order to apply exercise sciences to physical therapy practice, PT students can also deliver care through the UCSF PhysFit Wellness Center. Physical therapists provide both individualized and group training to enhance function, strength, and endurance.

1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

USC is committed to influencing the future of physical therapy as a top-ranked school in the discipline. The college provides both a conventional DPT curriculum and a cutting-edge hybrid one. Physical therapy students take classes on the virtual campus and visit the physical campus for hands-on training. Students in the hybrid program for physical therapy will be fully immersed in the USC experience while learning from the same esteemed professors as the standard program.

A recent Award for Leadership in Education was given to clinical physical therapy professor Julie Tilson. This honor, one of the highest conferred by the Academy of Physical Therapy Education, recognizes the professors at USC for their outstanding leadership.

To deliver the highest caliber of patient care, they place a high priority on interdisciplinary collaboration and translational research initiatives. Under the supervision of academic members, PT students do research to learn about rehabilitation in 14 laboratories and two research centers.

Best Physical Therapy Schools in California
Best Physical Therapy Schools in California

Frequently Asked Questions

In California, how long is physical therapy school?

The majority of California's on-campus DPT programs last three years to finish.

What physical therapy has the greatest salary?

The highest paying physical therapist positions can earn up to $125,500 annually. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapists (PTs) assist disabled patients with mobility and pain management.

Is it worthwhile to become a physical therapist?

Yes, it is worthwhile to work as a physical therapist.
A physical therapist can choose from a variety of jobs that are very different from one another, makes decent money, and has a flexible schedule. As if that weren't impressive enough, they also have excellent levels of overall health and job happiness.

Is nursing more difficult than Physical Therapy?

Given the level of schooling needed to start a career in either of these two disciplines, physical therapy is often seen as the more difficult option. In general, you need to get several degrees, including a PhD degree, to work as a physical therapist.



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