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22 July 2023

7 minutes read

Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA: A Comprehensive Guide


  • A Master’s in Physiotherapy in the USA offers advanced study in movement science and clinical skills to become proficient physiotherapists.
  • Top universities like the University of Delaware and the University of Pittsburgh provide cutting-edge education and diverse specialization options.
  • Eligibility criteria typically include a bachelor’s degree in a related field, GRE scores, and prerequisite courses in anatomy and physiology.
  • Graduates can pursue rewarding careers as physical therapists, sports rehabilitation specialists, or researchers in various healthcare settings.
  • International students, including those from India, can pursue physiotherapy programs in the USA, benefiting from quality education and ample career opportunities.

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What is a Masters in Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy, a dynamic profession, focuses on the use of physical approaches to promote, maintain, and restore physical, psychological, and social well-being. A Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA involves advanced study in movement science and hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose, and treat musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. This degree combines theoretical learning, research methodology, and extensive clinical practice, preparing graduates to become adept physiotherapists.

Overview of the Physiotherapy Program

  • A comprehensive educational program that combines theory and practice in the field of physiotherapy.
  • It is aimed at developing advanced skills and knowledge in assessing, diagnosing, and treating a variety of physical ailments and injuries.
  • Typically includes coursework in advanced human anatomy, rehabilitation techniques, patient care ethics, and physiotherapy research methods.

Theoretical and Practical Components

  • Theoretical learning covers the principles of physiotherapy, including an in-depth understanding of human physiology and biomechanics.
  • Practical components involve hands-on training in clinical settings, where students gain real-world experience under the supervision of licensed physiotherapists.
  • Students engage in clinical internships, participating in patient care, which is crucial for mastering the application of theoretical knowledge.

Importance of a Masters in Physiotherapy

  • Equips graduates with a higher level of expertise required for more advanced roles in the healthcare system.
  • Opens doors for specialization in areas such as sports physiotherapy, pediatric physiotherapy, or geriatric care.
  • Enhances research and academic career opportunities, contributing to the development of new techniques and knowledge in the field.

Movement is medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.

Carol Welch

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Why Pursue a Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA?

Cutting-Edge Facilities and Technologies

  • US universities offering physiotherapy courses are equipped with modern facilities and state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Students have access to advanced technology in rehabilitation, such as virtual reality systems and robotic therapy aids.
  • Exposure to innovative treatment methods and research facilities, fostering a forward-thinking approach to patient care.

Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals

  • Programs often include opportunities for collaboration with renowned healthcare professionals and researchers.
  • Students participate in multidisciplinary teams, gaining insights into holistic patient care and integrating physiotherapy with other medical services.
  • Collaborative projects and internships provide valuable networking opportunities, essential for future employment and professional growth.

Networking and Professional Development

  • The presence of a diverse professional community within top universities in the USA provides ample networking opportunities.
  • Students can attend national and international conferences and workshops, connecting with leading experts in the field.
  • Such a network is invaluable for career development, mentorship opportunities, and staying updated with the latest trends and research in physiotherapy.

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What are the Requirements for a Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA?

  1. Undergraduate Degree in a Related Field:
    • Essential for admission to Masters in Physiotherapy courses in the USA.
    • Should be from accredited universities and colleges, focusing on health sciences, kinesiology, or a relevant field.
    • A bachelor’s degree from an international university is also accepted, ideal for students worldwide, and particularly beneficial for Indian students and others studying abroad.
  2. Minimum GPA and GRE Scores:
    • A cumulative GPA (usually around 3.0 or higher) is required, to demonstrate academic competence.
    • GRE scores must meet the specific threshold set by the physiotherapy program.
    • These requirements ensure eligibility for top universities offering Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA.
  3. Prerequisite Courses:
    • Mandatory courses include human anatomy, physiology, and biology, forming the core foundation for the physiotherapy degree.
    • Additional courses may include biomechanics or psychology, depending on the university’s course curriculum.
    • These prerequisites are crucial for understanding the scope of physiotherapy and preparing for advanced studies.
  4. Letters of Recommendation:
    • Usually, 2-3 letters are required, ideally from academic advisors or professional supervisors.
    • These recommendations should reflect the applicant’s potential as a physiotherapist and readiness for a physiotherapy course in the USA.
    • It is essential for international students, including those from India, to demonstrate their capability and motivation for studying physiotherapy abroad.

Required Experience and Skills

RequirementDetailsAdditional Notes
Academic BackgroundBachelor’s degree in a relevant field (e.g., health sciences)Preferred fields include Biology, Kinesiology, Exercise Science
GRE ScoresRequired by many universities (varies)Some universities may waive the GRE for certain criteria
Clinical ExperiencePrior clinical experience may be required or preferredVolunteer work, internships, or work in related fields can be beneficial
SkillsStrong communication, analytical, and interpersonal skillsCritical thinking and problem-solving skills are also essential
LicensureMust obtain licensure post-graduation to practice (varies by state)Includes passing the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE)
Language ProficiencyFor non-native English speakers: TOEFL or IELTS scoresMinimum score requirements vary by university

Understanding the Application Process

StepDetailsImportant Deadlines
Application SubmissionCompletion of university-specific application formsCheck university websites for application windows and deadlines
DocumentationTranscripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, personal statementEnsure timely submission of all documents
InterviewsSome programs may require personal interviewsPrepare for potential interviews by reviewing program specifics
Visa RequirementsFor international students: student visa process (F-1 visa, etc.)Start the visa application process immediately after admission

Importance of Accreditation for Programs

AspectDetailsWhy It Matters
Accreditation BodyAccreditation by CAPTEEnsures program meets educational standards
ImportanceEnsures quality education and eligibility for licensure examsGraduates from non-accredited programs may not be eligible for licensure
VerificationCheck program accreditation status before applyingAccreditation status can be verified on the CAPTE website

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How Long Does it Take to Complete a Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA?

how long does it take to complete a masters in physiotherapy in the usa?

Typically, a Masters in Physiotherapy program in the USA takes about 2-3 years to complete, depending on the university and whether the student is enrolled full-time or part-time.

Masters in Physiotherapy Program

Duration2-3 years (full-time/part-time may vary)
DegreeMaster of Physiotherapy
Eligibility CriteriaBachelor’s degree in a relevant field, GRE scores (if required), and specific admission requirements may vary
Study AbroadOptions available for international students, including those from India
Tuition FeesVaries by university and residency status (in-state, out-of-state, international)
Cost of LivingDepends on the location in the USA
Scholarship OptionsAvailable at many universities for eligible students

Full-Time vs. Part-Time Programs

Program TypeDurationTypical Course Load
Full-TimeTypically 2-3 yearsIntensive, with courses and clinical practice
Part-TimeLonger than full-time; varies based on course loadSuitable for working professionals or those with other commitments

Clinical Internship Duration

ComponentDetailsVariation Across Programs
Clinical InternshipsRanges from several weeks to months; an integral part of the curriculumSome programs offer more extended internships for in-depth experience

Accelerated Program Options

Accelerated ProgramsShorter duration (e.g., 18-24 months); more intensive course loadMore demanding, requiring full-time commitment and often a higher tuition fee

Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. –

Joseph Pilates

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What are the Job Opportunities and Average Salary for Graduates with a Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA?

what are the job opportunities and average salary for graduates with a masters in physiotherapy in the usa?

Career Opportunities for Physiotherapy Roles in the USA

Job RoleScope of Work
Physical TherapistWorking in healthcare settings with diverse patient needs
Sports Rehabilitation SpecialistFocusing on athletes’ recovery and performance enhancement
Pediatric Physical TherapistTreating infants, children, and adolescents
Geriatric Physical TherapistAddressing the needs of elderly patients
Orthopedic Physical TherapistSpecializing in musculoskeletal injuries and disorders
Neurological Physical TherapistWorking with patients with neurological disorders
Cardiopulmonary Physical TherapistSpecializing in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation
Researcher in PhysiotherapyConducting research in various physiotherapy fields
Physiotherapy EducatorTeaching at universities and colleges
Physiotherapy Clinic ManagerManaging and operating physiotherapy clinics

Average Salary for Physiotherapy Roles in the USA

Job RoleAverage Annual Salary (USD)Notes
Physical Therapist$80,000 – $100,000Entry to mid-level positions; varies by state and setting
Sports Rehabilitation Specialist$75,000 – $90,000May vary with expertise and type of sports facility
Pediatric Physical Therapist$70,000 – $85,000Depends on experience and workplace (e.g., hospitals, clinics)
Geriatric Physical Therapist$70,000 – $90,000Varies based on experience and type of healthcare facility
Orthopedic Physical Therapist$75,000 – $95,000Specialization in musculoskeletal conditions can impact salary
Neurological Physical Therapist$72,000 – $90,000Specialization in neurological conditions may influence salary
Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapist$73,000 – $88,000Specialization in heart and lung rehabilitation
Researcher in Physiotherapy$65,000 – $100,000+Dependent on grant funding, institution, and level of experience
Physiotherapy Educator$75,000 – $110,000Varies with academic rank and institution; higher for tenured positions
Physiotherapy Clinic Manager$78,000 – $105,000Depends on the clinic size, location, and the manager’s experience


According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of physical therapists is projected to grow by 18% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

What are the Top Universities in the USA for a Masters in Physiotherapy?

List of Top Universities for Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA

UniversityLocationHighlightsWorld University Rankings
University of DelawareDelawareRenowned physiotherapy program, hands-on clinical experienceHigh ranking in relevant field
University of PittsburghPittsburghComprehensive education, diverse specialization optionsTop-ranked in physiotherapy
University of IowaIowaA blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skillsWell-regarded in healthcare
Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisCutting-edge research, clinical practice opportunitiesHighly ranked for its medical programs
University of Southern CaliforniaCaliforniaInnovative teaching methods, diverse patient interactionPrestigious in physiotherapy education
Northwestern UniversityIllinoisFocus on evidence-based practice, strong clinical partnershipsKnown for excellent healthcare education
MGH Institute of Health ProfessionsMassachusettsIntegrative approach, modern facilitiesSpecialized in health sciences
New York UniversityNew YorkThe broad curriculum, urban setting for diverse clinical experienceRenowned in various academic fields
Emory UniversityGeorgiaEmphasis on research and leadership in physiotherapyHigh ranking in healthcare education
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillNorth CarolinaStrong research focus, comprehensive clinical trainingExcellent reputation in medical fields

These universities are known for their excellent physiotherapy programs, providing comprehensive education and hands-on clinical experience.


US universities offer a great Master’s in Physiotherapy, with top-notch education, diverse clinical experiences, and excellent career prospects for competent applicants. Scholarships are available.

Begin your journey to studying in the USA, the land of diverse educational opportunities, with Ambitio. Our platform provides you with the tools and insights to navigate the vast landscape of American universities, helping you find the perfect institution that aligns with your academic goals and aspirations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility criteria for pursuing a Master’s in Physiotherapy in the USA?

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field from an accredited university,a minimum GPA, usually around 3.0, and satisfactory GRE scores are required,completion of prerequisite courses like anatomy, physiology, and biology and letters of recommendation from academic or professional references.

What are the career prospects after completing a Masters in Physiotherapy in the USA?

Graduates can work as physical therapists, sports rehabilitation specialists, and pediatric or geriatric physical therapists.

How do the top universities in the USA for physiotherapy courses rank in terms of world university rankings?

Top universities like the University of Delaware, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Iowa are highly ranked globally for their physiotherapy programs.

What is the cost of studying for a Master Physiotherapy in the USA, and are there scholarships available?

Many universities offer scholarships, and students can also explore external funding options to manage the cost of studying and livi

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