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Physical Therapy at the University of Utah

Our program in physical therapy has been preparing students to be highly competent and compassionate professionals for 50 years. We take pride in bringing together the most advanced educational philosophies and the most current research together with the finest faculty to create an effective and supportive learning environment. Proof of our success is the fact that we have a 99% first-time pass rate on the national licensure examination.

Program Chair and Director: Dr. Scott Ward, PT, PhD

The Physical Therapy Profession

Physical therapy is “the science of healing and the art of caring”. It combines a solid knowledge of human anatomy with compassionate, individualized care. Physical therapists work with individuals of all ages to improve their health and functional performance: infants with birth defects; youth athletes who want to maximize their performance; seniors with arthritis, people with MS, etc. PTs examine each individual and diagnose the movement dysfunction. Then, PTs develop a treatment plan using techniques to promote the ability to move, to reduce pain, and to restore function.

A physical therapist needs to be patient, motivating and compassionate. PTs work with a variety of individuals—many of whom are in pain or who want to see immediate results. PTs are teachers—they need to clearly explain different techniques and exercises to patients so the patient can continue to perform at home. PTs make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Career Earnings & Future

Current salary information can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook. Physical Therapy has been named as one of the nation's 150 best recession-proof jobs. Physical Therapist ranks in CNN Money's 2013 Top 100 Jobs in America, and PT is included in their 10 Booming Jobs, with the growth over the next 10 years at 30%. The Department of Workforce Services of Utah gives Physical Therapy a 5 Star Rating.

Professional Associations for Physical Therapists

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is the professional organization for physical therapists. You can access career information, education options, current professional issues, employment opportunities and much more by visiting their website. You can also access information about physical therapy from the patient’s perspective by visiting the APTA consumer site, Move Forward.

The Utah Physical Therapy Association is the state physical therapy organization. Click here to learn more about physical therapy in the state of Utah.

General PT Information Sessions

The University of Utah Physical Therapy Department hosts general information sessions each month to provide information on physical therapy as a career; pre-requisites necessary for application to the program; and admission procedures. Most prospective students find their questions are answered during a session. All are welcome to attend.

Click here to see dates and times for upcoming Information Sessions

Pre-PT Club

The Pre-Physical Therapy (Pre-PT) Club is a student-run organization with quasi-affiliation with the Department of Physical Therapy. Membership in the Pre-PT Club promotes camaraderie between persons interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy and provides opportunities for members to learn about the profession. The Club acts as a voice for physical therapy on campus, promotes interest in physical therapy and provides service to the community. Meetings are for members only; there is a one-time membership fee. The club is open to anyone interested in physical therapy.

For questions, email us at, or visit our Facebook page.


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Accolades & Affiliations

U.S. News Best Grad School 2021


American Council of Academic Physical Therapy member institution