Best Physical Therapy Programs in Washington

Updated on April 8, 2024

Washington state is home to some of the top physical therapy programs in the country. With a growing aging population and demand for rehabilitation services, physical therapists are in high demand in Washington. We reviewed program rankings, reputation, affordability, and career prospects to compile this list of the ten best physical therapy schools in Washington state.

University of Washington

Location: Seattle, WA

The University of Washington’s physical therapy program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation. Students receive an excellent education at UW’s state-of-the-art facilities and have opportunities to work with world-class faculty.

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Tuition: $32,994 per year (in-state), $60,690 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $86,850


The DPT program at UW places heavy emphasis on developing real world clinical skills. All students complete 38 weeks of clinical rotations across the Puget Sound region. Graduates praise the program’s clinical focus and the ample patient interaction.

Central Washington University

Location: Ellensburg, WA

CWU offers an affordable pathway to becoming a physical therapist with competitive tuition rates and high NCLEX pass rates. Students gain hands-on experience across the lifespan in diverse settings.

Rating: 8.2/10

Acceptance Rate: 21%

Tuition: $24,954 per year (in-state), $37,905 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $83,150


The DPT curriculum provides training across continuum of care including acute care, neurological rehab, orthopedics, and pediatrics. CWU also places emphasis on research with lab spaces dedicated to movement science and biomechanics research.

Pacific University

Location: Hillsboro, OR

Pacific University takes an innovative approach that integrates knowledge of physical therapy with mindfulness and compassion. The program focuses holistic health and viewing clients as complex biopsychosocial beings.

Rating: 7.8/10

Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

Tuition: $117,475 total program cost

Avg Salary: $83,370


Pacific’s 36-month DPT program begins in the summer. Students complete clinical internships each semester to build real world skills. The curriculum emphasizes evidence-based practice and designing customized treatment plans.

St. Martin’s University

Location: Lacey, WA

St. Martin’s offers a faith-based approach to physical therapy anchored in benevolent values. The program focuses on developing competent and compassionate rehab professionals to serve rural and underserved communities.

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

Tuition: $31,998 per year

Avg Salary: $80,650


The 109 credit DPT program places emphasis on social responsibility and community service. Students complete three 8-week clinical rotations across variety of settings. Small class sizes and accessible faculty provide personalized guidance.

University of Puget Sound

Location: Tacoma, WA

The University of Puget Sound offers rigorous DPT program focused on evidence-based practice. Students work closely with faculty who are practicing clinicians and researchers.

Rating: 7.2/10

Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

Tuition: $121,486 total program cost

Avg Salary: $82,650


The full-time program takes 33 months to complete. Students complete clinical rotations across variety of settings in the Tacoma region. Small cohort sizes allow for individualized education and mentorship.

Eastern Washington University

Location: Spokane Valley, WA

EWU’s lies just outside downtown Spokane. The hybrid program combines online coursework with in-person labs and clinical work for added flexibility.

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

Tuition: $23,956 per year (in-state), $24,684 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $80,150


Students gain clinical experience across variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, and sports clinics. The program prides itself on strong community partnerships across Eastern Washington.

Whitworth University

Location: Spokane, WA

Whitworth’s faith-based program embraces a mind, body, spirit approach to physical therapy. The curriculum integrates science knowledge with compassionate care and ethical reasoning.

Rating: 6.9/10

Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

Tuition: $117,350 total program cost

Avg Salary: $79,550


Students develop clinical competence across continuum of care from general practice to highly-specialized areas like sports rehab and pediatrics. Graduates consistently score above national averages on board exams.

Bastyr University

Location: Kenmore, WA

For students interested in complementary medicine, Bastyr University offers a combined DPT and naturopathic doctor degree. The program integrates conventional rehab with natural treatment approaches.

Rating: 6.5/10

Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

Tuition: $50,412 per year

Avg Salary: $77,650


Students learn a holistic approach to physical therapy along with botanical medicine, nutrition, and mind-body therapies. Clinical training sites focus on integrative settings. The combined ND/DPT program takes 5 years to complete.

Sagepoint Graduate School of Therapy

Location: Redmond, WA

Sagepoint offers small cohorts (only 24 DPT students per class) taught by practicing therapists for maximum mentorship and hands-on learning. Their practitioner-scholar model focuses applying theory directly into practice.

Rating: 6.2/10

Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

Tuition: $101,745 total program cost

Avg Salary: $78,150


Sagepoint places heavy emphasis on mentorship and career guidance. All students are paired with a faculty mentor who assists with professional development. Graduates consistently find jobs soon after licensure.

Seattle Pacific University

Location: Seattle WA

Seattle Pacific takes personal approach to physical therapy education focused on leadership and Christian service. Beyond strong clinical skills, students cultivate moral character and wisdom.

Rating: 5.8/10

Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

Tuition: $31,860 per year

Avg Salary: $76,950


Clinical training sites including hospitals, private clinics, and specialty areas like pediatrics and neuro-rehabilitation. Small class sizes, accessible faculty, and emphasis leadership development provide standout student experience.

See Other Best Physical Therapy Schools in the West

Frequently Asked Questions

What GPA or GRE score do I need to get into PT school in Washington?

Most programs require minimum 3.0 GPA. Competitive GRE scores vary but many applicants score above 150 for both verbal and quantitative sections. Some schools, like University of Washington, place more emphasis on GPA.

How much does it cost go to physical therapy school in Washington?

Tuition for in-state residents ranges $24,000 – $35,000 per year. Out-of-state tuition runs $35,000 – $60,000 per year. Total program cost for 3-year DPT can range $75,000 – $120,000+.

Can I work while in PT school?

PT school is rigorous full-time commitment, however some students work per diem as PT aides. Recommended no more than 8-12 hours per week. Many students take out additional loans to avoid working.

Are there DPT programs in Washington with rolling admissions?

No, most have fall cohort start dates. Deadlines are early, usually in November or December prior. University of Washington has the earliest deadline – October 1.

Which physical therapy specialty has highest salary?

Orthopedics and sports rehab tends to be among highest paid PT specialties with average salaries $90,000+. Those working in skilled nursing facilities and schools tend to fall on lower end with salaries closer to $75,000.

What is the job outlook for physical therapists?

Job growth very strong nationally and across Washington state. Projected 21% growth from 2020-2030 due to aging population and increased demand for rehab services. New grads very employable.

Should I become a PTA or PT?

PT requires doctoral degree and advanced clinical skills. PTA may be faster and cheaper path requiring associates degree. Consider career goals and work environment fit. PTs tend to have more flexibility.

Is a DPT degree required to practice physical therapy?

In most states including Washington, DPT is now minimum degree required for licensure. Some practicing PTs were grandfathered in with masters degrees. All programs now granting clinical doctorates.

How competitive is the University of Washington DPT program?

Extremely competitive with only 30 students admitted per cohort. Focus is on candidates with outstanding academics, clinical experience, leadership skills and commitment to advancing PT practice.

What GPA is required for the DPT program at Central Washington University?

CWU states minimum admission criteria of 3.0 GPA in last 60 graded quarter hours or 90 semester hours. Average GPA of accepted students is 3.6. GRE also required.

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