Best Physical Therapy Schools in Florida – 2020

In Florida, physical therapists have been licensed to treat patients without a physician’s prescription since the early 1990s. Increasingly, physical therapists in the Sunshine State have expanded their scope of practice to include more than merely exercises intended to enhance their patients’ mobility and range of motion. Today’s Florida PTs offer dry needling and similarly innovative techniques that have shown real promise as analgesia and can be used as an alternative to opioids. If you’re interested in becoming a PT, we’ve ranked the best physical therapy programs in Florida that can help you fulfill your goal.

What Skills and Knowledge will I Gain from a Physical Therapy Program?

In 2015, physical therapy schools in FL and elsewhere in the U.S. began to change the degrees they offer from master’s level degrees to Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degrees. The coursework leading up to the degree stayed roughly the same, however.

Aspiring PTs spend the majority of their time in the classroom, studying subjects like anatomy, exercise physiology, histology, kinesiology, pharmacology and biomechanics. They spend their final year doing clinical rotations that allow them to work with the types of patients they are likely to encounter once they are licensed to practice. Many schools also teach the basics of health care finance and other practice management skills since a fair number of physical therapists will end up practicing independently.

Physical Therapy Program Length & Cost in Florida

Physical therapy programs in FL take three years to complete. Your costs will run anywhere just under $28,000 if you’re a Florida resident attending a school that accepts state funding to just over $97,000 if you attend a private university.

Type of Program Length Cost
Doctoral3 Years$27,710 - $97,030

Which are the 6 Best Physical Therapy Programs in Florida for 2020?

1) University of Florida - Gainesville

2) University of Miami - Coral Gables

3) University of Central Florida - Orlando

4) University of South Florida - Tampa

5) Florida International University - Miami

6) Nova Southeastern University - Ft Lauderdale & Tampa

View Ranking Methodology

Physical Therapist Career Outlook in Florida - 2019

How Many Physical Therapists are Currently Employed in FL?


Where do Physical Therapists Work in Florida?

Though physical therapists work in a number of different settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, fitness facilities and home health venues, in Florida, the largest number of PTs (4,208) work out of private offices. As a PT in an office, you’ll use the information you glean from patient histories and physical exams to form a diagnosis. Then, you’ll develop a treatment plan that’s designed help your patient attain optimal physical function. In many instances, you’ll also spend a few sessions helping your patients learn how to perform the physical exercises you’ve recommended correctly.

Slightly more than 3,300 PTs work in hospitals where they’re an important part of rehabilitation teams that also typically include physicians, nurses, occupational therapists and speech pathologists. Another 1,275 PTs do home visits, focusing on patients who’ve recently had hip or knee replacements, or working with patients who are recovering from strokes. Nearly 900 physical therapists in the Sunshine State run their own private practices while an equal number work with elderly or recovering patients in short-term and long-term nursing care facilities.

Industry Number of Medical Assistants
Offices of Physical Therapists4,208
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private3,315
Home Healthcare Services1,275
Self-Employed Workers893
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities893

What is the Average Salary of a Physical Therapist in Florida?

The average physical therapist salary in Florida is $87,410. Physical therapists are in hot demand, so PTs working in hospitals, nursing facilities and physicians’ offices often enjoy top-tier benefits like health insurance, paid leave and options for retirement savings. Physical therapists who work 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. can also expect to be compensated with swing shift differentials.

Type Salary
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Salary Based on Years of Experience

Years of Experience Hourly Monthly Annual
Less than 1 year (Starting)$25.44 $4,410 $52,910
1-4 years$34.50 $5,980 $71,760
5-9 years$42.23 $7,320 $87,840
10-19 years$48.79 $8,460 $101,490
20 years or more$59.27 $10,270 $123,280
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Physical Therapist Average Salary Comparison: Florida vs. National

Physical therapists in the Sunshine State make slightly less than the national average. This reflects the fact that the cost of living in many parts of Florida is relatively low when compared with the national mean.

Florida National Difference
Number %
$87,410 $88,880 -$1,470-1.65%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook

By the year 2020, it’s projected that nearly half of Florida’s population will be 45 or over. Aging populations are typically the ones that are most in need of medical care that restores and maintains mobility. Thus, the demand for PTs in the Sunshine State is estimated to grow by just under a third by the year 2026.

Employment Employment Growth, 2016-26
2016 2026 Number Percent
(Source: careeronestop)

Annual Job Openings

New Replacement Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
(Source: careeronestop)

Metro Wise Employment & Salary Data

The Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach area is the most densely populated part of Florida with a total population of approximately 5.5 million, so it’s not surprising that this region also has the Sunshine State’s highest concentration of physical therapists. The Miami area is home to such nationally recognized health care facilities as University of Miami Hospital, Mount Sinai Medical Center and West Kendall Baptist Hospital, all of which offer superb rehabilitative care. Rehabilitative care depends heavily on the skills of physical therapists. The same logic holds true for the Tampa/St. Petersburg and Orlando metropolitan regions.

While the area around Sarasota is not one of the most populous parts of Florida, it is among the most affluent. PTs in North Port/Sarasota/Bradenton make several thousand dollars more per year than PTs working in the Miami metropolitan area.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach

3,830 $42.31 $7,330 $88,010

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater

2,070 $40.85 $7,080 $84,970


1,010 $42.73 $7,410 $88,880

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton

880 $43.80 $7,590 $91,110


770 $39.31 $6,810 $81,750

Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville

470 $40.42 $7,010 $84,080

Cape Coral-Fort Myers

420 $44.26 $7,670 $92,060

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island

310 $44.25 $7,670 $92,050


290 $40.56 $7,030 $84,360

Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent

290 $39.46 $6,840 $82,090

Port St. Lucie

270 $44.50 $7,710 $92,560

Lakeland-Winter Haven

260 $41.12 $7,130 $85,530


240 $42.25 $7,320 $87,870

Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach

230 $42.68 $7,400 $88,770

Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin

200 $42.79 $7,420 $89,010


200 $36.88 $6,390 $76,710

Punta Gorda

190 $48.92 $8,480 $101,760

Homosassa Springs

100 $42.51 $7,370 $88,410

Panama City

80 $39.01 $6,760 $81,140

Sebastian-Vero Beach

80 $43.20 $7,490 $89,860


80 $43.84 $7,600 $91,180

The Villages

50 $41.30 $7,160 $85,900
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Physical Therapist Organizations & Associations in Florida

Florida Board of Physical Therapy

The Florida Board of Physical Therapy is the PT oversight agency in the Sunshine State. This board establishes guidelines for the issue and renewal of licenses because unlike many other states, Florida has not enacted legislation that defines the scope of PT practice within the state.

Florida Physical Therapy Association

The Florida Physical Therapy Association is a professional organization that holds networking events and provides other networking opportunities for members. It also sponsors a number of continuing education classes that members can use for license renewals.

Physical Therapy Schools in other States

  • Georgia