6 Best Physical Therapist Schools in Michigan|Tuition & License

Physical Therapist Schools in Michigan
Physical Therapist Schools in Michigan

Physical therapist schools in Michigan offer physical therapy degrees and as you know, physical therapy has earned more recognition as a viable health care method.

Over the years, more physical therapist schools have been born alongside certificates and bachelor’s degrees in Physical Therapy.

Master’s degree in Physical Therapy soon followed, but today, all accredited schools offer one outcome, and that is the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

Read on to see the Physical Therapist Schools in Michigan.

Career Outlook and Opportunities for Physical Therapists

According to 2020 EMSI data, opportunities for physical therapists are expected to grow 12% in West Michigan, 11% in Michigan, and 13% in the U.S., of course, this is above the average growth when it is compared to many other occupations.

EMSI reported a median annual wage of $85,758 in West Michigan and $87,609 in the U.S. for physical therapists with doctoral degrees.

Graduates from the physical therapy programs are eligible to hold the following job titles:

  • Physical Therapists
  • Directors of Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Residents
  • Travel Physical Therapists
  • Clinical Directors
  • Therapy Supervisors

What certification will I need to become a Physical Therapist?

In addition to your degree, you are required to pass the national and state licensure examination in order to be certified to practice in your state.

For each state, their examination differs, but your physical therapy program should have you adequately prepared to pass the test.

If you choose to, you can become certified in a particular clinical specialty, like pediatric or sports physical therapy.

Since some physical therapist schools in Michigan have programs for specific certifications, you will need to research your school choices carefully to be sure that you are preparing yourself for a certification that meets your goals.

Things to learn in Physical Therapy Course

Most physical therapy degrees in the physical therapist schools in Michigan will require some level of commitment, but the right program will fully prepare you to take on the career.

Your classes will vary somewhat by program, an example of physical therapy courses are Human Anatomy, Fundamentals of movement, Research Methods, Clinical Practice, Exercise Physiology, Principles of exercise, and Kinesiology and biomechanics.

How long does it take to obtain a Physical Therapy Degree?

Your physical therapy program will take around two to three years to complete and this is on top of the four years that it will take to earn your undergraduate degree.

The number of years that you have to put into getting a physical therapy degree makes it a huge commitment.

However, physical therapy schools are worth the investment. This is because there are great earning opportunities that come with becoming a physical therapist.

Here’s the deal, for you to become a physical therapist, you need to earn your doctoral degree from a physical therapy program.

Before that, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree, and oftentimes, programs will require that your undergraduate hours include a specific number of science and health-based courses.

Before now, students had the choice between a master of physical therapy(MPT) or a doctor of physical therapy(DPT), but as of 2015, all accredited physical therapist programs are doctorate level.

PT programs recognize that aspiring physical therapists come from various backgrounds which is why there are multiple ways to earn your DPT. 

The List of Physical Therapist Schools in Michigan

  • Andrews University
  • Central Michigan University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Oakland University
  • University of Michigan-Flint
  • Wayne State University

Andrews University

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program prepares you to become a healthcare professional with a clinical entry-level doctorate that is dedicated to evaluating, treating and preventing physical injury and diseases.

In this course, you are taught how to design and implement the necessary therapeutic interventions to promote fitness, health and also improve your patient’s quality of life.

This program at Andrews University is unique and Christian values are a core part of their curriculum.

This 116-credit DPT program is completed by full-time students in three years (nine semesters).

Students who have completed 92 credits of specific college prerequisites prior to beginning the DPT program will earn a BHS after the first two semesters and upon successful completion of the program a DPT.

Students with a bachelor’s degree are eligible to apply and may complete the DPT program in nine semesters.

Priority application deadline is November 1, and their final deadline is December 16.

Undergraduate tuition package (12-16 credits): $31,464.00

See tuition details for Graduate and Distance degrees.

See Program Details.


Central Michigan University

At Central Michigan University, Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy is nationally recognized for developing Physical Therapy professionals who bring knowledge and skills to society for optimizing movement, health, and well-being.

This program embraces the core values of the physical therapy profession:

  • accountability
  • altruism
  • caring and compassion
  • excellence
  • integrity
  • professional duty
  • social responsibility

Below are the financial aid and tuition details.

  • Tuition:( In-State: $71,356, Out-State: $111,880)
  •  Financial Aid Home Page
  • Fees:( In-State: $3,900, Out-State: $3,900)
  • Phone:989-774-2347
  • Type:4 year ⇒ Public
  • Accredited: (since 1997)

See Program Details


Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is offered through the College of Health Professions

It is one of the physical therapist schools in Michigan whose program is valued for its ability to independently evaluate, diagnose, treat and prevent disorders of human movement in a wide variety of clinical and community settings.

Their program features 15 full-time faculty members, 12 of whom hold advanced clinical practice certifications. Their program is well situated along the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids and enjoys an outstanding reputation among its students and in the community.

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

Tuition for Michigan Resident:

  • $13,560 (per year)
  • $6,780 (for 12-15 credits per semester)
  • $570 per credit hour for 1-11 credits and for each credit hour over 15

Tuition for Non-Michigan Resident:

  • $19,296 (per year) 
  • $9,648 (for 12-15 credits per semester) 
  • $811 per credit hour for 1-11 credits and for each credit hour over 15

See details about tuition and other fees. See the Program Details.


Oakland University

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a professional graduate program in the Department of Human Movement Science, which prepares individuals for licensure and entry into the physical therapy profession.

Through research and hands-on training, as well as experiences, students develop skills to examine, evaluate, diagnose, plan and provide treatment for persons of all ages who have disabilities.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Oakland University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Oakland University satisfies educational prerequisites for professional licensure as a physical therapist in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. 

The estimated cost of tuition, fees, and textbooks for in-state students entering the DPT in 2020 was $99,233.50 for the three and one half year program.

The estimated cost for out-of-state students is $133,510.

See Program Details


University of Michigan-Flint

The University of Michigan-Flint is one of the physical therapist schools in Michigan that offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program that improves your abilities as a critical thinker and clinician who embraces evidence-based practice.

This program develops professionals who care for patients irrespective of their backgrounds.

This program prepares you to become a leader in the field, not just for you, but for the benefit of your patients.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program at the University of Michigan-Flint is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

  • Phone: 810-762-3373
  • Type: 4 year ⇒ Public
  • Population: 8,289 (undergrads 6,984)
  • Tuition: (In-State: $61,740, Out-State: $92,520)
  • Financial Aid

See Program Details


Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the physical therapist schools in Michigan that offers the Physical Therapy Program.

The Physical Therapy Program at Wayne State University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program is for individuals interested in becoming physical therapists.

The curriculum requires a 90-credit, pre-professional program and a three-and-one-half year, 123-credit, professional program.

Tuition and Fee Cost for Program in Full:

Resident: $108,841.16 | Non Resident: $209,954.54 | See tuition details.

See Program Details

The Skills Employers Want

The Doctor of Physical Therapy at GVSU will develop the skills that you need to land the job you want.

Whether the skills are advanced or general, you will be able to build a resume of qualifications that is sure to attract employers.

Below are some of the advanced, as well as common skills employers seek.

Common skills include; Presentations, Communications, Leadership, Coordinating, Research, Customer Service, Operations, Infrastructure, and Management.

For advanced skills employers seek:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Home Care
  • Treatment Planning
  • Neurology
  • Case Management
  • Acute Care

Clinical Experience for Physical Therapists

Some of your most important learning experiences will occur outside the classroom. Physical therapist schools design their curriculums with a significant focus on clinical experience. Students not only learn in a real-life setting under the supervision of a licensed PT, but they’re expected to be immersed in diverse environments.

When you’re deciding between physical therapist schools, you should consider the clinical experience requirements. Some programs require students to participate in clinical rotations outside of the town or city the campus is located in.

Physical therapy clinical experiences vary, but here are a few types of scenarios to review.

  • Practice setting minimums: Some schools require students to gain experience in at least three settings. While it may feel like a hassle to coordinate this many rotations, the purpose is to expose students to a wide range of patients and circumstances.
  • Specific setting requirements: Rural or urban? Outpatient or inpatient? Each location requires students to employ different skills they’ve learned and problem solve based on the setting. For instance, a student may need to determine how to practice in a rural clinic with fewer resources than, say, a large urban hospital.
  • Specializations: DPT classes will cover all types of populations and specializations over the 3-year curriculum, however, a clinical experience is when you can hone your skills in a certain area. Students interested in pediatrics, orthopedics, geriatrics or other areas typically have the option to choose a setting that matches their specialization interest. One school, D’Youville College, has a hippotherapy clinical site allowing students to gain experience in physical therapy using horses.

Clinical education hours vary by school. For example, some require 38 weeks while other programs want students to complete as many as 50 weeks in clinical internships. Typically, the rotations are done in 6, 8 or 12-week segments with the first one usually occurring after the first year. Once you complete a clinical rotation, you’ll be asked to provide an assessment of the experience, instruction and clinical instructors (CIs).

Although a clinical is full-time, you’ll still be required to complete coursework along the way. If your clinical setting isn’t in the same area as your campus, you’ll participate in distance learning classes.

Professional Licensure Notification

Federal regulations require any educational program in the physical therapist schools in Michigan to satisfy the educational requirement in order to obtain a professional license or certification to get enrolled students or applying students informed.

This is in order to help students determine if the program’s curriculum satisfies the educational requirements for the State Licensure

How to Become a Physical Therapist in Michigan|5 Best Steps

 Michigan had the fourth-highest concentration of Physical Therapy Assistant jobs in the country in 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

They reported that 3,350 such professionals practised in Michigan that year earning an average annual salary of $44,420.  Nearly 29% of Michigan’s Physical Therapy Assistants were employed in the Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills area. 

In 2013, 7,830 Physical Therapists practised in Michigan and earned an annual average salary of $80,820. Two Michigan cities were among the top cities in the country for the concentration of Physical Therapist jobs.  Jackson was second, while the Saginaw area was third.

Here are the steps you need to complete to become a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant in Michigan:

  • Earn a Physical Therapy Doctoral degree from an accredited program.
  • Apply for your Michigan Physical Therapist license and take the Jurisprudence Exam.
  • Submit your Fingerprints for a Criminal Background Check
  • Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
  • Renew your Michigan Physical Therapist license.

Earn a Physical Therapy Doctoral degree from an accredited program

In order to become a licensed physical therapy professional in Michigan, you will need a degree from the physical therapist school in Michigan that is Approved.

Apply for your Michigan Physical Therapist license and take the Jurisprudence Exam

Apply for your Michigan Physical Therapist license and take the Jurisprudence Exam. Once you have your CAPTE approved degree, you can apply for your Physical Therapy Assistant or your Physical Therapist license.  The applications come with extensive instructions that you must follow closely. 


Submit your Fingerprints for a Criminal Background Check

The application packet also includes a Livescan Fingerprint Request Form that you will use to get your fingerprints processed for a criminal background check. 


Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Your next step in obtaining Michigan licensure to practice Physical Therapy is to apply to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). 


Renew your Michigan Physical Therapist license

Your license will be good until the next expiration date for your profession.  This can range from 4 months to one year.  All subsequent licenses will be valid for two years. 

What are your thoughts about these physical therapist schools in Michigan? Please share your thoughts with us.

Editor’s Pick

Reference on the physical therapist schools in Michigan: How to Become a Physical Therapist in Michigan: https://www.occupationaltherapylicense.org/michigan-physical-therapy/

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