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The University

The University of Utah is the state’s oldest and largest institution of higher education and is a major research university. The U offers over 100 undergraduate and more than 90 graduate degree programs to over 31,000 students. The University of Utah is one of the state’s largest employers and is ranked as one of the top public research universities in the nation. The University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and was last accredited in 2018.

The Physical Therapy Program

The physical therapy program at the University of Utah has a long-standing tradition of excellence dating back to the admission of its first class in 1969. This makes the University of Utah program in physical therapy one of the oldest in the region. The Department of Physical Therapy is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

The current DPT program at the University of Utah reflects the breadth, depth, and necessary rigor of the professional physical therapist education curriculum in response to the current and expected future health care environment. This health care environment includes an enhanced role and higher expectations of the physical therapist, including a commitment to evidence-based physical therapy services and patient care. These skills must be achieved by the completion of an entry-level professional program, which is the outcome expected of our students upon completion of the DPT.


The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training is to: Develop socially responsible health care professionals and scientists who advance preventative and rehabilitation clinical practice and knowledge to meet changing societal needs of Utah and beyond. 

We will accomplish the mission through:

  • Excellence and innovation for education, research, and service
  • Respect and compassion for all individuals
  • Fostering a sense of inclusivity and belonging
  • Collaboration and social responsibility
  • Attention to life balance and wellness


The Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training will set the national standard for excellence in the quality and value of health care academics. We will maximize our local, national, and global influence on health and wellness through innovative education, impactful research, collaborative care, and commitment to our community needs.


Collaboration Compassion Excellence Inclusivity & Belonging
Innovation Respect Social Responsibility Wellness

Our values inform all of the activities in our Department, including our teaching philosophy and practices and our expectations of students. 

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.

Accolades & Affiliations

U.S. News Best Grad School 2021


American Council of Academic Physical Therapy member institution