United States Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Graduate School Programs

Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Graduate Schools award masters degrees, doctorate degrees and graduate certificates in dynamic fields where rehabilitation, injury prevention and wellness are key. In most programs, students study theory and the clinical skills basic to their technical area.

Those who work towards their physical and occupational therapy degrees on campus could benefit from the in-person format. Aside from the community of students and faculty, live demos, campus facilities and interactive lab courses could help students learn by doing.

Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Graduate Schools & Degrees

Some Physical and Occupational Therapy Graduate Schools could offer degrees in more than one area, but you can also find universities that don’t, so you may want to search by category.

  • Athletic Training Graduate Schools
  • Kinesiology Graduate Schools
  • Occupational Therapy Graduate Schools
  • Physical Therapy Graduate Schools

Below are some examples of physical therapy and occupational therapy degrees that could be offered. Most programs presume students have earned a bachelors degree. That said, you should be alert to any other required material as well as application deadlines.

Popular PT and OT Graduate Programs

ProgramInstitutionInstitution Type
Master of Science: Athletic TrainingSacred Heart UniversityN/A
Doctor in Physical TherapyUniversity of HartfordPrivate not-for-profit (no religious affiliation)
DeSales University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)Desales UniversityPrivate not-for-profit (religious affiliation)

Athletic Training Graduate Schools

Athletic training graduate schools might offer a degree such as the Master of Science in Exercise and Nutrition Science. Students who work towards this degree could explore the link between both fields as they relate to the optimization of athletic

performance. In their courses, students might learn about sports nutrition, strength training, physiology and research methods. This type of athletic training degree might prepare learners to take several exams upon graduation. Two examples are the Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exams.

Kinesiology Graduate Schools

Kinesiology Graduate Schools could offer a program such as the Master of Science in Kinesiology degree. In some kinesiology schools, this type of program could focus on sport and human performance. Students who work towards this degree might study to advance their grasp of the links between movement and exercises that occur in the contexts of development, learning, rehabilitation, and training.

Physical Therapy Graduate Schools

Physical therapy graduate schools tend to offer Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Programs. The DPT degree is considered an entry-level professional physical therapy degree.i Typically, a DPT is a 3-year, full-time program. It could start out with a core of basic science courses that span gross anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics and more. As the program moves on, students could also take clinical content/lab courses, and applied clinical integration courses.

Occupational Therapy Graduate Schools

Occupational therapy graduate schools may award degrees such as the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DOT) degree, which is a terminal degree for OTs. Some DOT degree programs stress advanced leadership, pedagogy, and clinical knowledge. For instance, courses could highlight advanced geriatric practice, and pediatric or behavioral health interventions. To apply, students may need to possess a bachelors or masters in occupational therapy (or school approved background). Also, a valid license as an occupational therapist and work experience may be required.

Accreditation for Physical and Occupational Therapy Graduate Schools

Many physical and occupational therapy graduate schools are regionally or nationally accredited. This level of approval usually speaks to the financial stability of a school, faculty, student services and curricula. In terms of individual program accreditation, this could come from distinct agencies. For instance, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredits some Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree programs.And, some occupational therapy programs are approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.ii

Find Your Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Graduate School

To earn any one of these degrees, you will need to find the physical and occupational therapy graduate schools that offer them. Do this easily with the on-page tools. Conduct a location search to find physical and occupational therapy graduate schools by city, state or country. Refine by degree level, then look over the programs. Last, contact schools directly as soon as possible so you don’t miss the next program start date.

[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm

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