Best Physical Therapy Programs in New York

Updated on April 8, 2024

New York state is home to some of the top physical therapy programs in the country. With a mix of public and private institutions, New York offers varied options when it comes to physical therapy education. This article explores the ten best physical therapy schools in New York based on factors like admissions selectivity, cost, reputation, and career outcomes.

Columbia University

Location: New York, NY

Columbia University’s physical therapy program is routinely ranked among the best in the nation. The program emphasizes evidence-based practice and critical thinking skills.

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Tuition: $59,430 per year

Avg Salary: $86,850


Columbia’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program takes 28 months to complete. The curriculum includes coursework, research, and 36 weeks of clinical rotations. Small class sizes and abundant research opportunities give students close mentorship opportunities. Graduates have stellar pass rates on the National Physical Therapy Examination.

New York University

Location: New York, NY

The prestigious New York University offers a 3-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program based out of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Rating: 9.3/10

Acceptance Rate: 3.2%

Tuition: $51,772 per year

Avg Salary: $85,500


NYU’s program operates on a unique block schedule that concentrates on one subject area at a time. Students spend over 1,000 hours in clinical education across a variety of healthcare settings. NYU physical therapy grads have stellar job placement rates.

SUNY Upstate Medical University

Location: Syracuse, NY

SUNY Upstate offers an affordable option for physical therapy education in New York. The program is based out of Upstate’s College of Health Professions.

Rating: 9.2/10

Acceptance Rate: 3.8%

Avg SAT Score: 1250

Tuition: $32,745 per year (in-state), $46,805 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $78,300


This 3-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program uses a combination of classroom instruction and clinical work. Students spend over 30 weeks gaining hands-on experience in settings like outpatient clinics, hospitals, and pediatric facilities. Small class sizes allow for individual attention.

Long Island University

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Long Island University offers a 3-year DPT program with the option to specialize in areas like sports physical therapy, neurology, or pediatrics.

Rating: 8.8/10

Acceptance Rate: 11.3%

Avg SAT Score: 1110

Tuition: $40,500 per year

Avg Salary: $79,500


This program emphasizes developing cultural competence along with rehab skills. Students benefit from the university’s on-site clinics and extensive clinical affiliation network across NYC’s diverse neighborhoods. Extensive fieldwork prepares students to pass the NPTE exam.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Location: Brooklyn, NY

SUNY Downstate Medical Center offers physical therapy students rigorous clinical training opportunities right in the heart of New York City.

Rating: 8.7/10

Acceptance Rate: 3.9%

Tuition: $41,974 per year (in-state and out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $76,200


This public university provides physical therapy students with small classes and abundant patient interactions. Students spend over 1,200 hours in clinical rotations across medical centers and outpatient clinics in the NYC metro area.

Stony Brook University

Location: Stony Brook, NY

Stony Brook University is part of the SUNY system and is highly ranked nationwide for its graduate-level health programs.

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 36.9%

Avg SAT Score: 1345

Tuition: $28,590 per year (in-state), $46,170 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $73,500


Their physical therapy program takes 28 months to complete. The curriculum blends classroom learning with 38 weeks of clinical work across settings like hospitals, private practices, and school systems. Small class sizes allow for individualized instruction.

Ithaca College

Location: Ithaca, NY

Ithaca College’s Department of Physical Therapy is located within the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance.

Rating: 8.3/10

Acceptance Rate: 31.8%

Avg SAT Score: 1250

Tuition: $47,424 per year

Avg Salary: $69,100


Students in this 7-semester DPT program spend time working in Ithaca College’s on-site clinic in addition to off-site clinical placements. There is also an option to spend a semester studying physical therapy abroad in Italy.

Clarkson University

Location: Potsdam, NY

Clarkson University’s physical therapy program emphasizes evidence-based practice, critical thinking skills, and interprofessional training opportunities.

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 41%

Tuition: $50,100 per year

Avg Salary: $66,400


This program can be completed in just 2.5 years over 7 semesters. Students benefit from the university’s on-site PT clinic serving community members as well as 40 weeks of clinical experiences across the region.

D’Youville College

Location: Buffalo, NY

D’Youville College offers an affordable pathway to start a physical therapy career. The first year has a shared curriculum before students select their health profession.

Rating: 7.8/10

Acceptance Rate: 75%

Tuition: $32,166 per year

Avg Salary: $63,400


Over 102 weeks, students gain a foundation in areas like musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular rehabilitation. Extensive clinical opportunities provide students with a competitive skillset before taking the NPTE.

Mercy College

Location: Dobbs Ferry, NY

Mercy College offers competitive tuition rates combined with extensive fieldwork education opportunities.

Rating: 7.7/10

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Tuition: $34,880 per year

Avg Salary: $59,600


Their 121 credit Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program includes foundational courses and clinical rotations. Students train in Mercy College’s onsite PT clinic serving underserved members of the community.

See Other Best Physical Therapy Schools in the Northeast

Frequently Asked Questions

What degree do you need to become a physical therapist?

To practice as a licensed physical therapist, you must earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). DPT programs typically take 2.5-3 years to complete.

How competitive are physical therapy programs?

Physical therapy programs are highly competitive, with average acceptance rates below 15%. Applicants need stellar GPAs, strong letters of recommendation, and extensive healthcare experience. The best physical therapy programs have acceptance rates under 5%.

What is the job outlook for physical therapists?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 21% growth in physical therapy jobs between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the average profession. An aging population with more mobility needs will drive demand for rehab services.

Are there online DPT programs?

While no accredited physical therapy schools offer fully online Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degrees, some have hybrid options that blend online and in-person training. However, online programs still incorporate extensive in-person clinical requirements. On-campus programs remain the norm.

How much do physical therapists make in New York?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a physical therapist in New York state is $91,680 annually. Those working in hospitals ($95,900) and private practices ($94,930) earn more on average than rehab centers ($88,060) or schools ($75,660).

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