Best Physical Therapy Programs in Alabama

Updated on February 7, 2024

Alabama is home to several high-quality physical therapy programs that prepare students for successful careers as physical therapists. This article profiles the top 10 physical therapy schools in Alabama based on factors like admissions selectivity, affordability, reputation, and career outcomes. Whether you’re looking for a top-ranked research university or a smaller, teaching-focused college, Alabama has a physical therapy program to fit your needs.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Location: Birmingham, AL

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 11%

Tuition: $10,770 per semester (in-state), $24,630 per semester (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $86,850

Website: www.uab.edu

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UAB is widely recognized as one of the best in the state and country. Students receive an excellent foundation in evidence-based practice and clinical research methods. UAB also provides opportunities to complete clinical rotations at top hospitals and clinics in Birmingham. Graduates have an outstanding 100% ultimate pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Exam.

University of South Alabama

Location: Mobile, AL

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Tuition: $9,084 per semester (in-state), $17,964 per semester (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $83,150

Website: www.southalabama.edu

The University of South Alabama offers an affordable pathway to becoming a licensed physical therapist in just 2.5 years. Small class sizes allow for personalized attention from experienced faculty members. Clinical rotations take place across the Gulf Coast region. Graduates praise the program for its strong clinical focus and job search support.

Alabama State University

Location: Montgomery, AL

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 19%

Tuition: $7,176 per semester (in-state), $13,862 per semester (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $77,900

Website: www.alasu.edu

Alabama State University provides access to a quality, affordable Doctor of Physical Therapy program focused on serving underrepresented groups. The curriculum emphasizes evidence-based practice, cultural competence, and leadership skills. Clinical training sites are available across central Alabama. Graduates have a strong reputation among employers.

University of Alabama

Location: Tuscaloosa, AL

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 13%

Avg SAT Score: 1250

Tuition: $11,200 per semester (in-state), $28,100 per semester (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $88,300

Website: www.ua.edu

The DPT program at the University of Alabama is one of the most selective in the state, with competitive applicants needing stellar GPAs and test scores to get admitted. The program provides exceptional preparation in areas like orthopedics, neurology, and sports rehabilitation. Clinical training takes place at elite sports medicine clinics used by professional and college athletes.

Auburn University

Location: Auburn, AL

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 17%

Tuition: $10,746 per semester (in-state), $26,364 per semester (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $80,900

Website: www.auburn.edu

Auburn University’s Department of Physical Therapy is recognized nationwide for excellence in education and clinical training. Students gain extensive hands-on experience in the program’s pro bono clinics and diverse clinical sites across Alabama and Georgia. Auburn also offers combined DPT/PhD and DPT/MBA programs for those interested in research or administration.

University of Montevallo

Location: Montevallo, AL

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 21%

Tuition: $8,860 per semester (in-state), $17,720 per semester (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $77,300

Website: www.montevallo.edu

The University of Montevallo offers an affordable DPT program focused on building core physical therapy skills informed by the liberal arts. Students receive clinical training across a range of settings, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, and pediatric centers. Montevallo’s small class sizes ensure abundant faculty support and mentoring.

Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

Location: Dothan, AL

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Tuition: $9,750 per semester

Avg Salary: $85,100

Website: www.acomedu.org

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, a private graduate institution, provides top-notch education in evidence-based physical therapy informed by osteopathic principles. ACMO students complete clinical rotations across the Southeast at clinics chosen for educational quality. ACMO also emphasizes research skills and interprofessional collaboration.

University of North Alabama

Location: Florence, AL

Rating: 6/10

Acceptance Rate: 38%

Tuition: $8,964 per semester (in-state), $19,014 per semester (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $75,800

Website: www.una.edu

The University of North Alabama offers an affordable pathway to becoming a licensed physical therapist in the Shoals area of northwestern Alabama. Students complete clinical education experiences at a variety of sites across the Tennessee Valley. The program has a strong track record of developing competent clinicians prepared to serve rural populations.

Samford University

Location: Birmingham, AL

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 34%

Avg SAT Score: 1180

Tuition: $9,550 per semester

Avg Salary: $79,100

Website: www.samford.edu

Samford University’s Physical Therapy program emphasizes patient-centered care, evidence-based practice, and Christian values. Students complete clinical rotations across Alabama and Georgia, including placements at Birmingham’s leading hospitals. The low student-faculty ratio allows for meaningful mentoring relationships.

Spring Hill College

Location: Mobile, AL

Rating: 6/10

Acceptance Rate: 31%

Tuition: $9,690 per semester

Avg Salary: $76,200

Website: www.shc.edu

Spring Hill College offers a faith-based approach to physical therapy education at Alabama’s oldest Catholic college. In addition to developing clinical skills during rotations at clinics and hospitals in Mobile and across the Gulf Coast, students are prepared to address patients’ spiritual needs.

See Other Best Physical Therapy Schools in the South

Frequently Asked Questions

What GPA and test scores do I need to get into physical therapy school in Alabama?

The physical therapy programs profiled here are quite selective, with average admitted student GPAs around 3.6 and GRE scores in the 150 range or higher. However, values differ across programs, so check each school’s website.

Which physical therapy program in Alabama is the easiest to get into?

The University of North Alabama has the highest reported acceptance rate at 38%, making it one of the less competitive options for prospective PT students with lower GPAs or test scores.

Can I do clinical rotations outside of Alabama?

Most Alabama PT programs have agreements with clinics across the Southeast. However, out-of-state rotations are generally limited and competitive. Check with individual programs about their clinical education partnerships.

Are there any fully online physical therapy programs in Alabama?

No, due to the hands-on nature of physical therapy education, there are currently no accredited online DPT programs based in Alabama. However, some schools offer a small portion of courses online.

What specialty areas are covered in Alabama PT programs?

Common specialty focuses include orthopedics, neurology, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, manual therapy, sports rehab, and pediatrics. However, curriculum details differ, so prospective students should check program websites.

How much does it cost to apply to physical therapy school in Alabama?

Application fees range from $45 to $65 per school. Plus, there may be charges for sending official transcripts, test scores, and completing on-campus interviews required by some programs.

When do Alabama PT schools begin classes?

Most programs start in the summer semester. Application deadlines are typically in the fall and winter prior, but vary across schools. Be aware – some programs operate on a rolling admissions basis.

Are there any dual-degree PT programs in Alabama?

Yes, Auburn University offers combined DPT/PhD and DPT/MBA programs for those interested in research or administrative careers in addition to clinical practice. The University of South Alabama allows students to combine the DPT with an MBA.

Do Alabama PT grads have good job placement rates?

Yes, these programs have excellent reputations among employers, resulting in high job placement rates even in competitive markets. Most grads secure jobs prior to or soon after graduation.

Can I work while in PT school?

PT school is very intensive, so working during the program is extremely difficult. However, some students work per diem jobs during school breaks. Additionally, assistantships providing tuition relief or stipends are available to strong applicants.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.