Physical Therapy Information

Mission of the DPT Program

The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to serve the public with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region by preparing qualified practitioners and engaging in clinical care, service and research.

Job Market and Earning Potential

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, school systems, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies and fitness centers.  The American Physical Therapy Association reports the median salary for a physical therapist is $80,000 depending on position, years of experience, degree of education, geographic location, and practice setting.

Educational Programs

The minimum educational requirements to practice physical therapy is a post-baccalaureate degree from an accredited education program. While some programs offer a master's degree, a majority of programs offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree. Currently, over 200 colleges and universities nationwide offer professional physical therapist education programs. Entry-level programs, both master and doctoral levels, prepare students as generalists in physical therapy. UTHSC has a three-year professional program and graduates of the program are awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

For physical therapists who have completed their basic physical therapy education and wish to specialize in a specific area, post–professional programs are available. These programs are developed for those physical therapists who seek advanced knowledge and/or skill in clinical practice, education, management, and/or research. 

In addition, some universities and community colleges offer accredited two-year educational programs for physical therapist assistants (PTAs). PTAs are skilled technical health care workers who, under the supervision of physical therapists, assist in patients’ treatment programs. Graduation from a PTA program does not assure an individual’s admission into an educational program for the physical therapist.

Contact Us

Carol Counts Likens, PT, PhD
Chairman and
Associate Professor
Department of Physical Therapy

The University of Tennessee
Health Science Center
930 Madison – Suite 647
Memphis, TN 38163