Careers and Outcomes

Physical therapy student posing in the Physical Therapy Clinic.

Do you have a great heart, great mind and like staying active?

You have the traits to become a physical therapist.

What is physical therapy?

In physical therapy, your goal is to help people of all ages move, function and live pain-free as best they can.

You provide a full range of services.

You examine the patient’s condition, assess their needs and goals, develop a plan, then put that plan into action.

With a patient-first attitude, you can help:

  • Athletes rehab from major injuries.
  • Senior citizens improve their flexibility and mobility.
  • People manage chronic pain and ailments.
  • Children with birth defects maximize their movement potential.

These are just a few examples of the impact you can have in this profession.

How much do physical therapists make?

Most PTs earn just shy of $100,000 per year. Salaries vary depending on where you live, work and how much experience you have.

Employers are looking to hire the next generation of physical therapists.



Average (median) salary for physical therapists.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job outlook


Projected job growth this decade for physical therapists, much faster than the national average.
Bureau of Labor Statistics

How do you become a physical therapist?

At minimum, you need to do these two things:

  1. Earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from a CAPTE-accredited program.
  2. Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam.

You can achieve both at Missouri State – we have the numbers to prove it.

Helping you grow professionally and personally

One of the best things about Missouri State’s DPT program? You don’t have to wait long to get involved.

Starting in your second semester, you’ll begin working with patients at the on-campus, pro bono Physical Therapy Clinic. You’ll learn and improve your craft alongside classmates and faculty.

Later on, you’ll go out and do internships and integrated clinical experiences in various community settings.

In total, there are 38 weeks of full-time clinical experiences mixed in during your three years in the program.

Where do physical therapists work?

All over the place. You won't be stuck in a cubicle.

Specific work settings and areas for physical therapy can include:

  • Outpatient: The most common workplace for PTs. Your patients come to your clinic or hospital for treatment.
  • Inpatient: Help people who can’t leave hospitals, nursing homes or rehab centers.
  • Home: Provide therapy to patients in the comfort of their own home.
  • Schools: Work with students who have physical limitations that may limit their learning.
  • Self-employed: Many PTs double as entrepreneurs and run their own clinic or service.
  • Sports and athletics: Be a vital part of the team and help athletes get back in the game.
  • Travel therapy: Take your skills around the world and choose your workplace.

Where do our alumni work?

While Bears are found all over the country, many graduates stay local.

Springfield has excellent employment options for health care.

Local health care providers like Cox and Mercy hire newly licensed MSU graduates each year.