Physical Therapy Programs In Rhode Island

Rhode Island is one of the smaller states but that does not mean that you cannot qualify as a physical therapist here. There are a number of physical therapist programs in Rhode Island, although, understandably, not as many as you would find in some other states. Some are better than others, some are more expensive than pothers, and some are accredited while others are not. There are, in fact, a number of ways in which these programs differ from each other, making your decision harder. However this is a very important decision that requires due consideration as it will affect your career moving forward.

How To Become A Physical Therapist In Rhode Island

Step #1: Research Rhode Island Accreditation Requirements

In Rhode Island professional physical therapists are not in fact allowed to use that title until:

  • They have completed the proper schooling requirements for the state of Rhode Island.
  • They have been licensed by the state of Rhode Island.

Physical Therapy Programs In Rhode IslandTo be a physical therapist in Rhode Island you need to complete a training program. This program must be accredited by the appropriate body, which, in this state, is the Commission of Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). A program that is not accredited will be a waste of your time and your money as your qualification will count for nothing. The reason why a school has to receive accreditation is in order to ensure that the tuition offered there is up t date and of the best quality possible. In fact it is in your best interests to attend a school that is accredited because you will be guaranteed of receiving a good and relevant education.

Step #2: Complete The National Physical Therapy Examination

The next step is to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) administered and governed by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). The exam is designed in order to assess the abilities of physical therapy students and to determine whether or not they are in fact ready to perform those duties in a real world setting.

According to “In the interim between graduation and taking the licensure exam, a Rhode Island student may elect to work under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist in order to receive additional training. This additional training can help Rhode Island students do better on the exam, but they must complete the exam within 90 days of acting as a graduate physical therapist“.

This additional training will also serve to improve your resume substantially. Employers are more interested in employing those physical therapists who have experience and who have shown interest in completing additional and non-compulsory training.

Step #3: Obtain Licensure In Rhode Island

45 days prior to taking the National Physical Therapy Examination you must:

  • Fill out an application for licensure
  • Have this application appropriately notarized
  • Send this application to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy

Before you can take the exam you will have to provide your birth certificate. This is in order to confirm that you are, in fact, a Rhode Island resident. The fee for the licensing examination is $170 and the test can be retaken if you fail it. However after three failed attempts you must meet with the Board to determine your suitability for the profession.

List Of Physical Therapy Programs In Rhode Island

Students in Rhode Island have fewer opportunities than those in other states. This is because there is only one university in Rhode Island that offers a physical therapy program:

University of Rhode Island

Location: Kingston, RI

Degree: Masters

Program Homepage:

Founded/Established: 1892

Contact Information:

University of Rhode Island


RI 02881

Phone: 1-401-874-1000

Type: 4-year, Public

Institutional Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

This university does, however, have a good reputation, and there is no reason why you should not complete your physical therapy degree through this school. In addition you may be able to complete an online or distance education program offered by another state. However you need to keep in mind that different states tend to have different requirements for their physical therapy students which is why it is recommended that you attend a program within your own state as this will guarantee that you will meet the necessary requirements. Online and distance programs are also not suitable for all students. Many students need a great deal of guidance and attention when completing their physical therapy programs in Rhode Island, and it is therefore better for such students to attend face-to-face lessons. Studying online or through a distance education school will mean that you will have to work on your own and motivate yourself. In addition you will usually be required to create your own study timetable that you will then have to ensure that you follow closely. Not everyone has these skills naturally, and consequently studying online or through a correspondence school is not a decision to be made flippantly. However there are a number of advantages to this form of study, including the fact that you will be able to study form home in your own time and without compromising you current job.


In the state of Rhode Island there are about 620 physical therapy jobs available each year. The hourly rate for physical therapists in this state is about $38.23 and they can earn around $76,539 a year.

  • In Cranston you can expect to earn in the region of $76,539 a year
  • In Providence you can expect to earn in the region of $76,539 a year
  • In Newport you can expect to earn in the region of $76,539 a year
  • In Warwick you can expect to earn in the region of $76,539 a year
  • In Pawtucket you can expect to earn in the region of $76,539 a year
  • In Woonsocket you can expect to earn in the region of $76,539 a year

Most states have differing salary ranges from city to city, but in Rhode Island physical therapists and students who are thinking of becoming physical therapists can be fairly certain of the salary that they will receive as it is constant across all states at $76,539 a year. In addition to being stable, this salary is also very good. However it is important to note that there are a number of factors that will cause this salary to fluctuate slightly regardless of the above statistics. These factors include:

  • Your employer: different employers have different policies regarding how much they pay their physical therapists.
  • The industry you work in: within physical therapy there are a number of sub-industries that you will be able to work in, which each tend to have a different rate of pay depending largely on the complexity of the tasks that are performed.
  • Your level of education: the higher your qualification and the more advanced your degree, the more money you will be eligible to earn as a physical therapist in Rhode Island.
  • Your gender: although this is not a factor in many states, it can affect your salary very slightly in Rhode Island but is based on the mindset of your employer.

When looking for employment as a physical therapist it is also worth considering the perks and benefits offered by the job.

Career Outlook

Like all locations across the country there is expected to be a significant growth in the number of jobs in Rhode Island. The national growth expectation is about 39% from 2010 to 2020, meaning that the 620 physical therapy jobs available each year will increase providing more opportunities to more people who are interested in joining this career. There are other professions similar to that of a physical therapist but that require different education. Audiologists, for example, need a Doctoral or professional degree and earn around $66,660 a year. Chiropractors also need a Doctoral or professional degree and earn around $67,200 a year, while occupational therapists only need a Master’s degree and earn around $72,320 a year. Recreational therapists need a Bachelor’s degree and earn around $39,410 a year, and Speech-language pathologists need a Master’s degree and earn around $66,920 a year. Students considering a career in physical therapy may do better in another state, but the options in Rhode Island are also extremely good, which means that it is not compulsory to leave the state to pursue this career. Generally speaking the career opportunities in Rhode Island are in proportion to the size of the state.

Giving the opportunities that are offered in Rhode Island for both students and qualified physical therapists this is one of the best states in which to qualify as a physical therapist. Consider your own preferences when looking into physical therapy programs in Rhode Island as well as at the reputation and quality of the school that you are interested in perhaps attending.

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