5 Best Physical Therapy Schools in Washington|Tuition & License

The physical therapy schools in Washington teach students how they can live healthy and active lives.

It might interest you to know that the average Physical Therapist in Washington, DC makes $137,977, 34% above the national average Physical Therapist salary of $103,300.

This pay is 18% higher than the combined average salaries of other metros in Boston, Chicago and Atlanta.

According to comparably.com, for an individual filer in this tax bracket, you would have an estimated average federal tax in 2018 of 24% and an added District of Columbia state tax of 8.5%.

After the combined taxes have been taken out, a Physical Therapist could expect to have a take-home pay of $100,445/year, with each paycheck equaling approximately $4,185.

The demand for physical therapists varies by geographical region and area of practice, but Physical Therapist unemployment rates are typically low across the country.

Therefore in the United States, the need for physical therapists is expected to remain strong as the population in the United States age and the demand for physical therapists grow.

Having looked at how much physical therapists make and how much they pay in tax, we will go further to describe the job outlook of physical therapists as well as give the list of physical therapy schools in Washington.

What do physical therapists do?

Physical therapists are movement experts who improve the quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.

They diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to people at the end of life.

As you know, many patients have injuries, disabilities, or other health conditions that need treatment.

Also, physical therapists care for people who simply want to become healthier and to prevent future problems.

What physical therapists basically do is examine each person and then develop a treatment plan to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function, and prevent disability.

Physical therapists can have a profound effect on people’s lives as they play a lot of roles, such as helping people achieve their fitness goals, regain or maintain their independence, and lead active lives.

Where can physical therapists work?

There is a wide range of settings where physical therapists can work and they include hospitals, outpatient clinics, people’s homes, schools, sports, nursing homes, workplaces, and fitness facilities.

How do I choose the best physical therapy program?

APTA does not rank DPT education programs. Programs are accredited by CAPTE, which assures quality in physical therapist education.

When choosing your Physical Therapy program, you must consider the following factors:

  • Demographics and setting
  • Program length
  • Cost and financial aid opportunities

Program length

The traditional DPT program is three years, but some programs compress academic requirements into a shorter time span which can help you manage the total cost of your education.

Demographics and setting

The physical therapy program that you are choosing must be such that will allow you to feel at home.

This is because you will be investing a lot into your physical therapy education.

Cost and financial aid opportunities

Most DPT students graduate with student loans. However, make sure you are financially aware and prepared.

The different programs offer different student experiences and have different costs.

Another thing you can do is to contact current students and recent graduates of the program that you are choosing or even employers in order to ask about the program’s strengths and weaknesses.

The types of Physical therapy degrees in the physical therapy schools in Washington

Over the years, many physical therapy certificates and degrees have been born. In the physical therapy schools in Washington, you can find bachelor’s in physical therapy, as well as master’s degrees in Physical therapy.

The physical therapy schools in Washington offer the following programs:

  • DPT (Traditional)
  • BS/DPT

DPT (Traditional)

A traditional DPT program takes three years to complete and includes a comprehensive curriculum covering everything from physical therapy basics to professionalism to health and wellness.

For you to be able to apply for a DPT program, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree, completed prerequisite science courses and GRE scores.

Before you can enrol in a physical therapy program, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree.

The majority of physical therapy schools will require that you complete certain science and health-based courses at the time you’re still taking your undergraduate studies.

You have to also be aware that there may also be GPA requirements for the physical therapy program that you are considering enrolling in, and if you did poorly in a required undergrad class, it is possible you could be asked to retake it.

Before you start a DPT program, you will need to complete courses like Human Anatomy with Lab, Chemistry with Lab, Statistics, and Physics with Lab.


If you do not have an undergraduate degree, there are schools that offer an accelerated BS/DPT program or 3+3 physical therapy specialization.

That means if you enter school as a freshman, you will graduate in six years as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Unlike a typical bachelor’s degree program where you can choose any major, a 3+3 program is designed with a specific undergraduate track. 

When researching different 3+3 physical therapy schools, courses like Exercise Science, Natural Science, Athletic Training, and Life Science, are some of the majors you will come across.

What will do after graduation

Physical therapists who are licensed can choose to pursue a residency or fellowship program to enhance their knowledge and practice.

A clinical residency is designed to advance a physical therapist’s preparation as a provider of patient care services in a defined area of clinical practice.

A clinical residency combines opportunities for ongoing clinical supervision and mentoring with the theoretical basis for advanced practice and scientific inquiry.

It combines opportunities for ongoing clinical supervision and mentoring with a theoretical basis for advanced practice and scientific inquiry.

A clinical fellowship is a planned program of post-professional clinical and didactic education for a physical therapist who demonstrates clinical expertise in an area of clinical practice related to the practice focus of the fellowship.

(Fellows are frequently postresidency prepared or board-certified clinical specialists.)

Physical therapists also have the opportunity to become board-certified clinical specialists through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties

Specialization is the process by which a physical therapist builds on a broad base of professional education and practice to develop a greater depth of knowledge and skills that is related to a particular area of practice.

PTs are not required to be certified in order to practice in a specific area.

The List of Physical Therapy Schools in Washington

  • Eastern Washington University
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Washington
  • Washington State University
  • Western Washington University

Eastern Washington University

  • Phone:509-368-6601
  • Class Size: 38
  • Tuition: ( In-State: $48,012, Out-State: $91,406)
  • Financial Aid

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at Eastern Washington University prepares students for successful careers as physical therapy practitioners. 

It is one of the physical therapy schools in Washington where students gain practical experience while learning from their skilled faculty.

Their graduates end up practicing in Clinics, hospitals, and practices across the country.

Their nationally-ranked program has one of the lowest tuition rates in the country.

You’ll complete a year of clinical internships with over 300 sites to choose from.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Eastern Washington University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

When you compare EWU’s tuition and fees to the average of other Washington public universities, you can save up to $11,199 over four years.

Eastern Washington University Tuition & Mandatory Fees:

  • Tuition Washington Resident: $6,713
  • Tuition WUE Recipient: $9,694
  • Tuition Non-Resident & International: $24,685

See the Tuition Details and find Program Details

University of Puget Sound

At the University of Puget Sound, within their vibrant academic community, physical therapy students at Puget Sound benefit from small classes and personal relationships with professors, as well as extensive, hands-on clinical experiences and a coordinated curriculum of written and oral communication woven throughout the program.

Students in this institution are taught to be critical thinkers and compassionate caregivers.

Students are therefore able to gain valuable experience through meaningful research, innovative programs and advanced clinical electives.

This clinical learning is integrated into students’ second and third years and is in addition to the program’s 32 weeks of full-time clinical internships.

Graduates of this program are clinically ready to become independent practitioners and collaborative professionals in the field.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Costs at University of Puget Sound:

For the 2021–22 academic year, the tuition charge for graduate students will be $5,245 per unit.

First-Year Tuition Costs For Fall and Spring Term 2021–22: $41,960

Second Year Tuition Costs For Fall and Spring Term 2021–22: $44,425

Third Year Tuition Costs For Fall and Spring Term 2021–22: $23,445

Financial aid available to graduate students is composed of federal loans and a limited number of departmental scholarships and fellowships.

See the Program Details

University of Washington

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Washington offers an exceptional, well-rounded education for students who want to graduate as physical therapy generalists.

At the UW, you will study in one of the top departments for rehabilitation services in the United States.

Their DPT program is offered by the Division of Physical Therapy in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, the fourth leading department for rehabilitation care in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The UW DPT program is accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Important dates:

  • June 15, 2021: Applications Open
  • October 15, 2021: Application Deadline
  • Early February 2022: Admission Offers Made
  • September 28, 2022: Program Begins

See the program details and how to apply.

Washington State University

Physical Therapists (PTs) examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.

PTs also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.”

Their staff will help you find PT observation hours, fit prerequisite courses into your major, and prepare you to apply to the DPT programs in which you are interested.

There are three DPT programs in Washington State, and 228 programs across the US.

To become a licensed physical therapist you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree and take the correct prerequisite courses. Admission is very competitive (often 3.32 cumulative GPA or higher), so a strong academic background and grades are important. Minimum GPAs of 3.0 and minimum grades of B- or C for prerequisite courses are common requirements. Other important factors include:

  • 40 to 300 observation hours in at least two different PT settings.
  • An essay for the PTCAS answering a specific question, and one or more essays for supplemental applications addressing your reasons for choosing PT and preparation for the field.
  • Strong letters of recommendation (up to four).
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores

Students typically apply to three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate programs during the summer/fall after junior year.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, applicants must have completed specific prerequisite courses.

Criteria vary by program, but generally include anatomy, physiology, a year each of general biology, general chemistry, and physics, plus statistics and introductory, developmental, and/or abnormal psychology.

While you can major in anything, popular majors for students at WSU include kinesiology and biology. Degree requirements will determine which prerequisite courses must be completed in addition to those for the major. See details.

Western Washington University

Students prepare for entry to a graduate program in physical therapy by obtaining a baccalaureate degree, completing the prerequisite course work for entry into specific programs, and by obtaining a broad variety of volunteer clinical experience under the direction of a physical therapist (200-500 hours). Find out more.

What can you become as a graduate of the physical therapy schools in Washington?

You can become the following:

  • Pediatric Physical Therapist
  • Geriatric Physical Therapist
  • Orthopedic Physical Therapist
  • Cardiovascular Physical Therapist
  • Neurological Physical Therapist

Physical Therapist Education and Licensure

To practice as a physical therapist in the U.S., you must earn a doctor of physical therapy degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam.

Usually, the length of the professional DPT programs is typically three years.

The primary content areas may include but are not limited to:

  • Biology/Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathology
  • Behavioural Sciences
  • Communication
  • Ethics/Values
  • Management Sciences
  • Finance
  • Sociology
  • Clinical Reasoning
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Cardiovascular and pulmonary
  • Endocrine and Metabolic
  • Musculoskeletal

Approximately 80% of the DPT curriculum is a classroom(didactic) and lab study in the physical therapy schools in Washington, while the remaining 20% is dedicated to clinical education.

PT students spend on average 27.5 weeks in their final clinical experience. If you are an internationally educated PT or PTA, please read more information on internationally educated PTs and PTAs.

Paying for the physical therapy schools in Washington

As long as you attend any of the accredited physical therapy schools in Washington, you are eligible for federal financial aid.

The aid can come in form of grants and loans.

Scholarships and grants are offered by community groups and non-profit organizations and will be paid back upon graduation.

Professional organizations and private individuals offer scholarships and grants as well.

You may have to spend some time digging for financial awards that you’re eligible for, but it can be worth it.

If you need to take out a loan to pay for any of the physical therapy schools in Washington, don’t be discouraged because there are loan forgiveness and repayments options that you may be eligible for in the near future.

Some of these loan repayment options include:

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Faculty Loan Repayment Program
  • National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program

Some Loan tips for you

+ When possible, borrow from the federal government instead of private lenders.

+ Understand the difference between unsubsidized and subsidized. With unsubsidized loans, you are responsible for the interest while you are in school but on the other hand in a subsidized loan, the government will cover the interest during school.

+ Know how much you can borrow as a graduate student because there are limits that depend mostly on the type of loans you receive.

For instance, you can borrow up to $20,500 per year with a Direct Unsubsidized loan, but only up to $8,000 with a Perkins Loan (depending on need).

What are your thoughts on all we have detailed on the physical therapy schools in Washington? Please share your thoughts with us.

The importance of physical therapists can not be overemphasized. They work to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans.

It is a respected profession and as such deserve to be celebrated just like family caregivers are respected during national caregivers month.

Editor’s Pick

References on Physical Therapy Schools in Washington:


Physical therapy schools in Washington:apta.org:https://www.apta.org/your-career/careers-in-physical-therapy/becoming-a-pt

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