Physical therapy is one of the many fields of study offered at colleges and universities. California is one of the states with physical therapy schools that confer certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees in the subject. You can find an accredited school through which you can train to become a professional physical therapist.
Students learn clinical sciences, research and arts that relate to physical therapy. The work of a physical therapist is to assess and treat physical body conditions whose cause is injury or disease. These conditions include back pain, cerebral palsy and fractures.
The number of physical therapists in California is higher compared to most states, which goes to show the demand for professionals in the field.
The Top 10 Best Affordable Physical Therapy Schools in California
1. California State University, Fresno.
The College of Health and Human Services at the California State University at Fresno is home to the Physical Therapy Department that offers programs in Physical Therapy such as the Doctorate of Physical Therapy.
Accreditation for the university comes from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
The two on-site clinics located at the university allow students to earn practical experience as soon as they begin the program.
The following courses serve as prerequisites for admission into the program: Human Physiology, Human Anatomy, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology and Abnormal Psychology, and statistics.
Other prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, an overall GPA of at least 3.0 in Upper division undergraduate work, and a minimum of 100 hours of observation experience, with 20 of those hours being in a general in-patient care setting. Standardized test scores for the GRE will also be required.
2. California State University, Long Beach.
With a curriculum designed to prepare professional physical therapists who are a key part of physical rehabilitation, the College of Health and Human Services from the California State University at Fresno offers a comprehensive Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
This university has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, with its physical therapy program being accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
In order to be admitted to this program, one must hold a bachelor’s degree in any field, have at least 100 documented hours of experience under the supervision of a licensed physical therapy professional, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 among many other requirements.
The program curriculum includes such courses as Pharmacology, Anatomy, Physiology, Tissue Mechanics, Biomech Principles, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Neuro Intervent, and a 6-week clinical practice. The course is comprised of over 115 units and can be completed in just 3 years.
3. San Francisco State University.
The San Francisco State University offers a 3-year entry level Doctor of Physical Therapy program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education, with the university itself receiving accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
With a curriculum that is built on a strong blend of theory and practice, students will be expected to take more than 30 weeks of clinical experiences. They will gain skills in critical thinking that will enable them to work together with patience for effective treatment.
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is required as a prerequisite for admission to this program, together with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a GRE score that places higher than the 50th percentile. The curriculum for this program features several topics in anatomy, and clinical health education.
4. California State University, Northbridge.
Through its department of physical therapy, the California State University at Northbridge offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program that is programmatically accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The university itself receives regional accreditation from the Western Association of Colleges and Schools.
This program prepares students to provide professional physical rehabilitation services and work in various settings such as rehabilitation facilities, schools, fitness centers, hospices, sports training facilities, and other such settings.
The degree takes 3 years to be completed. Prerequisites for the program include a bachelor’s degree in any major, 200 practice hours under a licensed physical therapist and the following courses: Biology, Physiology, Anatomy, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics and Psychology.
Students who choose this program will be equipped with the skills that they need to become competent physical therapy professionals with the ability to practice independently in any dynamic health care setting.
5. California State University, East Bay.
California State University at East Bay offers a Therapeutic Studies option that satisfies the coursework that is required for students to gain admission to other Physical Therapy schools.
One must complete 115 units in order to earn this degree. Coursework includes the following courses: Animal Biology, Light, and Modern Physics, Human Physiology and Anatomy, Force, Mass and Motion, Prevention and Care of Athletic injuries, among other lower division requirements.
Evaluation and Care of Athletic injuries is among the upper division requirements with Motor Learning and Control, Biomechanics, Sport Psychology, Sport in Contemporary Society, and other such courses falling among the core courses.
There are also 6 units worth of performance requirements that each student of this program must complete. This involves the satisfactory completion of activities such as Swimming, Team Sports, Dual Sports and other fitness activities.
Accreditation for this university comes from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
6. California State University, Sacramento.
Sacramento State continues to redefine the possible with its 3-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program that prepares professional physical therapists with the requisite skills for providing adequate patient rehabilitation in many different settings.
The curriculum for this program is designed to integrate real-world situations into learning, and students are required to complete 36 weeks’ worth of internships in different practice settings. Furthermore, the university has provided high-quality simulation labs that allow students to learn first-hand how to care for patients in emergency situations.
Sacramento state is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, while this Physical Therapy program receives its accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy.
Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Psychology, Statistics, Chemistry, Kinesiology, and Exercise Physiology are among the prerequisite courses that are required for students to gain admission to this program.
7. Point Loma Nazarene University.
Also referred to as PLNU, this university offers a major in Pre-physical therapy that is designed to give students who aspire to be professional Physical Therapists a head start. This program is made available through the institution’s department of Kinesiology.
With topics in athletic training, physical education and exercise science, graduates of this program will have an easier time when they go to physical therapy school.
The program is advised by excellent and committed faculty who will mentor students and place them in internships within the athletic training department. Students will also be assisted with letters of recommendation and will be adequately prepared for admission interviews by their advisors.
Graduates of this program will be able to pursue career opportunities such as being a Doctor, Physical Therapist and Health Care Professional.
PLNU is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
8. Chapman University.
The Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences at Chapman University offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program that has continuously received accreditation since 1928.
The entry level program is designed for students who aspire to become physical therapy professionals, while the transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy is for those who want to advance their physical therapy education.
The curriculum for this rigorous program requires the completion of 125 credits and begins with the learning of foundational sciences that are then applied to the relevant clinical courses. 40-44 weeks of practical clinical experience are required to complete this degree.
Functional Human Anatomy, Developmental Anatomy and Clinical PathoPhysiology are among the courses included in the curriculum. Others are Applied Neurophysiology, Kinesiological Motion Analysis, Diagnostic Imaging, Motor Control and Motor Learning Lab, Cultural Diversity and Psychology in Health Care and more.
This university is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
9. Saint Mary’s College of California.
Saint Mary’s College offers a pre-professional course in physical therapy for students who are strongly interested in pursuing a career in the field, from a strong Catholic background.
This program is a Health Science Major in Physical Therapy that will assist students to easily get into other physical therapy programs at the master’s and doctoral level.
The program comprises of courses in general chemistry, general biology, general physics and additional courses in human anatomy, statistics, human physiology and psychology.
The Saint Mary’s College of California is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
10. University of Southern California.
The Physical Therapy division at this university has been in operation since 1945. Its physical therapy program is ranked #1 in the United States by the U.S. News and World Report, and continues to set the standards when it comes to physical therapy education and research.
This Doctor of Physical Therapy will provide students with the necessary educational foundation for a successful professional career in physical therapy.
It is a 3-year program with the following prerequisite courses: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Psychology, Physics, Statistics and Mathematics, Psychology and a minimum of 150 hours of voluntary or paid clinical experience in different physical therapy settings.
The curriculum for this program includes such courses as: Cellular and Systems physiology, Clinical Imaging, Musculo-skeletal Anatomy, Principles of Disease, Neuro-Anatomy, Neuro-Pathology, Differential Diagnosis in Physical Therapy and many others.
This program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.