Best Physical Therapy Programs in Louisiana

Updated on February 7, 2024

Louisiana has several excellent physical therapy programs that prepare students for a career as a physical therapist. Physical therapists play a critical role in helping patients regain mobility and manage pain through movement and hands-on care. The top physical therapy programs in Louisiana offer challenging curriculums, quality clinical training opportunities, and high job placement rates after graduation.

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program that is fully accredited and highly respected. The program takes 33 months to complete and incorporates clinical internships to give students real-world experience.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: Competitive

Tuition: $22,334 per year for in-state; $47,494 per year out-of-state

Avg Salary: $83,298

Website: http://alliedhealth.lsuhsc.edu/pt/

Description: LSU Health Science Center has an excellent reputation for physical therapy education. The program provides advanced coursework in areas like neurorehabilitation. Clinical rotations allow students to gain experience in various healthcare settings.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers a DPT program that focuses on evidence-based practice. The curriculum aims to make students skilled critical thinkers and compassionate caregivers.

Location: Lafayette, LA

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: Competitive

Tuition: $8,467 per year in-state; $21,761 per year out-of-state

Avg Salary: $78,324

Website: https://alliedhealth.louisiana.edu/pt

Description: This program emphasizes real-world clinical experience through rotations in diverse settings. The faculty includes many practicing physical therapists who bring their expertise to the classroom.

Northwestern State University

Northwestern State University in Shreveport offers a DPT program with competitive admission. The program takes 36 months to complete and incorporates clinical rotations.

Location: Shreveport, LA

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: Highly Competitive

Tuition: $8,377 per year in-state; $14,654 per year out-of-state

Avg Salary: $76,165

Website: https://www.nsula.edu/health-and-human-performance/doctor-of-physical-therapy/

Description: Northwestern State emphasizes evidence-based practice and hands-on clinical training. Students complete three long-term clinical rotations to prepare them for physical therapy practice.

Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech University offers a DPT program with two tracks – a 6-year entry level track open to high school graduates, and a 3-year track for those who already have a bachelor’s degree. Both tracks lead to a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Location: Ruston, LA

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: Moderately Competitive

Tuition: $8,800 per year in-state; $22,464 per year out-of-state

Avg Salary: $78,540

Website: https://www.latech.edu/healthsciences/dpt/

Description: Louisiana Tech aims to foster excellence and compassion in its DPT graduates. Students gain clinical experience across the lifespan in areas like orthopedics, neurology, pediatrics, and geriatrics.

University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

The University of St. Augustine (USA) has a physical therapy campus in New Orleans. They offer an entry-level DPT program on either a full-time or flex track.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: Moderately Competitive

Tuition: $31,536 per year

Avg Salary: $85,548

Website: https://www.usa.edu/campus/new-orleans/

Description: The USA focuses on professional development and hands-on training for physical therapists. Their DPT curriculum is designed around small classes and personalized attention. Clinical rotations begin early on.

South College

South College offers an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at their Baton Rouge, Louisiana campus. The program can be completed in 8 semesters.

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: Moderately Competitive

Tuition: $31,900 per year

Avg Salary: $77,165

Website: https://www.southuniversity.edu/campus/baton-rouge-louisiana/physical-therapy-programs

Description: South College incorporates clinical experiences beginning in the first semester to connect classroom learning to real-world practice. Their faculty have strong professional networks to facilitate clinical placements.

Louisiana State University at Alexandria

Louisiana State University of Alexandria offers an accelerated track to becoming a physical therapist. Qualified students with a bachelor’s degree can complete their DPT in just 26 months of year-round study.

Location: Alexandria, LA

Rating: 6/10

Acceptance Rate: Moderately Competitive

Tuition: $8,700 per year in-state; $20,394 per year out-of-state

Avg Salary: $74,165

Website: https://www.lsua.edu/program/doctor-of-physical-therapy/

Description: LSUA aims to produce ethical, caring DPT graduates ready to meet workforce needs, especially in rural areas. The program emphasizes clinical readiness through early patient interactions and mentoring.

University of New Orleans

The University of New Orleans offers a fast-track 28-month Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The curriculum provides advanced training in areas like neurological and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Rating: 5/10

Acceptance Rate: Competitive

Tuition: $8,736 yearly in-state; $20,186 yearly out-of-state

Avg Salary: $75,040

Website: https://www.uno.edu/coehd/hpls/PT

Description: UNO’s distinctive DPT curriculum focuses on patient-centered care and interdisciplinary collaboration. Students benefit from the school’s urban location and clinical partnerships across New Orleans.

Louisiana College

Louisiana College offers an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program based on a Christian worldview. The program aims to develop ethical physical therapy practitioners.

Location: Pineville, LA

Rating: 4/10

Acceptance Rate: Moderately Competitive

Tuition: $28,670 per year

Avg Salary: $67,040

Website: https://lacollege.edu/academics/graduate-professional-studies/physical-therapy

Description: Louisiana College’s faith-based DPT program emphasizes building character, compassion, and clinical excellence. Students complete clinical rotations at facilities across Central Louisiana.

McNeese State University

McNeese State University offers a rigorous DPT program to prepare graduates for physical therapy licensure and practice. The full-time program takes 8 semesters, including clinical work.

Location: Lake Charles, LA

Rating: 6/10

Acceptance Rate: Moderately Competitive

Tuition: $8,920 yearly in-state; $19,200 yearly out-of-state

Avg Salary: $72,600

Website: https://www.mcneese.edu/fhs/dpt

Description: McNeese State provides advanced physical therapy coursework coupled with mentored clinical training across diverse settings. The faculty includes research-focused educators.

See Other Best Physical Therapy Schools in the South

Frequently Asked Questions

What degree do I need to become a physical therapist?

You need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree to become a licensed physical therapist. DPT programs typically last 2-3 years beyond a bachelor’s degree. They include classroom instruction and supervised clinical rotations.

How competitive is physical therapy school admission in Louisiana?

Admission to Louisiana’s physical therapy schools is moderately to highly competitive with average acceptance rates ranging from 5-15% of applicants. Strong academic performance, healthcare experience, and essays are key.

What does it take to get into physical therapy school?

You’ll need an excellent GPA (usually 3.0+), competitive GRE scores, letters of recommendation, healthcare exposure, an essay explaining why you want to be a PT, and to meet all program prerequisites to get into PT school.

What classes do I need to take for physical therapy prerequisites?

Common PT prerequisites are biology, anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, chemistry, physics, statistics, psychology, and medical terminology. Each program may have specific requirements, so check with the schools you want to apply to.

Can I get into physical therapy school with a low GPA?

It’s quite challenging to get into PT school with a low GPA below 3.0. Programs look for strong academic performance as an indicator you can handle the rigorous DPT curriculum. Boosting your GPA should be a priority.

What type of degree does a physical therapist have?

Most physical therapists have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Some still have a Master of Physical Therapy degree if they graduated before the transition to DPT. A DPT program typically takes 3 years after a bachelor’s degree.

How much does physical therapy school cost in Louisiana?

Tuition for Louisiana’s public physical therapy schools is $8,000 to $9,000 per year for in-state students and $20,000+ out-of-state. Private PT programs cost over $30,000 annually. Plus living and other expenses.

What is the job outlook for physical therapists?

The job growth for PTs is projected to be about 18% between 2020-2030, much faster than average across all occupations. An aging population needing rehabilitation and increasing rates of chronic conditions are key drivers.

How long does it take to become a physical therapist?

Becoming a licensed PT takes 7-8 years total – 4 years for a bachelor’s degree plus about 3 years for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and clinical rotations.

Where do physical therapists make the most money?

Physical therapists earn the highest average salaries in states like California, Texas, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nevada, and Alaska. Those working in general medical and surgical hospitals also make more on average.

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