Best Physical Therapy Schools in Georgia – 2024

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Physical Therapists (PTs) in Georgia provide care that’s proactive as well as palliative: At Georgia State University, physical therapists are exploring new frontiers in the work they do with stroke victims by incorporating robotic exercise partners into the exercise’s patients do to establish new neural pathways. That’s just one example! Physical therapy is an exciting career that offers many options for specialization. If you’re a resident of the Peach State, we’ve ranked the best physical therapy schools in Georgia to simplify choosing the one that’s right for you.


5 Things that will Make Your Physical Therapy Schooling in Georgia Easier

Physical therapy school can be daunting. For the first two years, you’ll be immersed in a rigorous academic program where you’ll learn anatomy, physiology and other foundational clinical sciences as well as the basics of practice management. Your last year will be devoted to hands-on experiences at hospitals, clinics and care facilities. Here are a few tips for making your physical therapist experience more manageable:

• If you know you want to be a physical therapist, take undergraduate classes that will familiarize you with some basic anatomy and physiology before you start physical therapist school.
• Volunteer with organizations and pro bono clinics that may help you utilize your budding skills. Not only will you obtain real-world experience, you’ll also start to build a professional network.
• Don’t focus on getting good grades. Focus on learning the material really well.
• Try to understand the clinical significance of every piece of information you learn in the classroom.
• Every patient faces a unique set of challenges that call for you to develop a unique treatment plan.

Length & Cost of Physical Therapy Schools in Georgia

Physical therapy education is a three-year doctoral program at the end of which you will receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. If you’re a Georgia resident attending a publicly funded university, your tuition costs will begin at $25,610, but if you’re attending a private university, you can expect to spend nearly $90,000 on your education.

Type of Program Length Cost
Doctoral3 Years$25,610 - $89,690


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, below are the 4 best Physical Therapy programs in Georgia. The list includes both campus-based and online programs.)

1) Emory University - Atlanta

2) Mercer University - Atlanta

3) Georgia Southern University - Savannah

4) Georgia State University - Atlanta



How Many Physical Therapists are Currently Employed in GA?


Where do Physical Therapists Work in Georgia?

Sixteen hundred and fifty physical therapists employed in Georgia work in office practices that are either owned by a physician or by another physical therapist. In this environment, you’ll take patient histories, order lab tests and imaging, and perform physical examinations; using this information, you’ll make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that aims to enhance your patient’s mobility and range of motion.

Thirteen hundred Georgia physical therapists work in hospitals. In a hospital setting, you’ll find yourself working with patients with both acute and chronic injuries. Another 660 physical therapists provide home-based care where they work with senior citizens or with individuals who are recovering from orthopedic surgical procedures. Finally, 280 physical therapists work with patients in skilled nursing facilities to help those patients maintain their functional abilities and manage pain while another 2,230 physical therapists are in business for themselves as private practitioners.

Industry Number of Medical Assistants
Offices of Physical Therapists2,230
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private1,460
Home Healthcare Services660
Offices of Physicians380
Nursing Care Facilities280

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

The average physical therapist salary in Georgia is $96,670 a year. Employers typically offer physical therapists good benefits packages, too, that include health insurance, paid time off and retirement savings options. Although physical therapists in hospitals and nursing facilities rarely work night shifts, they do work swing shifts, and when they do, they’re paid a shift differential.

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) $35.46 $6,150 $73,760
1-4 years $37.95 $6,580 $78,940
5-9 years $47.40 $8,220 $98,600
10-19 years $51.07 $8,850 $106,230
20 years or more $57.84 $10,030 $120,310
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Physical Therapist Average Salary Comparison: Georgia vs. National

Georgia’s physical therapist salary figures are only slightly less than the national average. This probably reflects the fact that physical therapists in the Peach State serve extremely rural areas as well as metropolitan areas, and health professionals tend to make less in rural areas.

Georgia National Difference
Number %
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook

The demand for physical therapists in Georgia is expected to grow by nearly 33 percent by the year 2030. The Peach State’s population is aging faster than the nation as a whole: By 2030, the number of Georgia residents aged 65 and older is expected to increase by 143 percent. Physical therapy has many benefits for senior citizens: It helps improve diseases like arthritis that affect the joints, but it also helps patients deal with conditions like cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and furthermore, its benefits are achieved with a minimum of drugs.

Employment Employment Growth (2020-2030)
2020 2030 Number Percent
(Source: careeronestop)

Annual Job Openings

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

Metro Wise Employment & Salary Data

The highest concentration of physical therapists in Georgia is to be found in the populous Atlanta metropolitan area, which boasts many outstanding hospitals such as Emory University Hospital, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and WellStar Kennestone Hospital. The average salary for physical therapists here is $97,460, which is slightly more than the state average. Atlanta is a natural place for young professionals to flock, so this differential may reflect the fact that the pool of potential physical therapist employees is larger here, and employers can afford to pay slightly less but still attract top talent.

In Augusta, another densely populated city in Georgia, far fewer physical therapists are employed, and the average physical therapist salary is $97,460. Augusta is an economically disadvantaged city: 28 percent of its inhabitants live below the federal poverty line. On the other hand, Brunswick and Dalton, which are poorer cities than Augusta, remunerate physical therapists handsomely: The average physical therapist salary in both cities is more than $98,000 a year. This may reflect the difficulty of attracting and retaining physical therapists in these two cities.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 3,760 $46.86 $8,120 $97,460
Augusta-Richmond County 390 $44.76 $7,760 $93,090
Savannah 250 $45.44 $7,880 $94,520
Athens-Clarke County 160 $49.24 $8,530 $102,410
Columbus 150 $46.09 $7,990 $95,870
Macon 130 $45.81 $7,940 $95,290
Warner Robins 110 $45.38 $7,870 $94,400
Gainesville 100 $47.58 $8,250 $98,960
Rome 100 $45.04 $7,810 $93,670
Valdosta 70 $42.21 $7,320 $87,790
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Physical Therapist Organizations & Associations in Georgia

Physical Therapy Association of Georgia

The Physical Therapy Association of Georgia sponsors continuing education classes, maintains a list of physical therapist employment opportunities and offers focused interest networks where members may network.

Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

Physical Therapy Schools in other States

  • Florida