Choosing an Online Physical Therapy Program

Online programs allow you to earn your doctorate in physical therapy with added flexibility. Through an online doctorate in physical therapy (DPT), you can complete coursework without having to physically be on campus. Due to the nature of skills needed to become a physical therapist, online DPT programs are often hybrid- combing online coursework with several on campus hands on and clinical experience as well as clinical placements near your home. Currently, there are a few accredited online DPT programs you can choose from.

College of Health Sciences

info

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Earn your DPT from a hybrid program. Experience on-campus immersions and apply skills learned online to patients in person. Complete the program in 25 months. GRE and bachelor’s required.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) 
  • Complete in 25 months  
  • 32 weeks of in-person experience

USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy

info

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

With USC’s Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, aspiring physical therapists can earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in an innovative hybrid format. Bachelor’s required.

  • Full-time, three-year program 
  • 44 weeks of rich, varied clinical experiences 
  • Regular visits to USC for on-campus, skill-building immersions

infoSPONSORED

Online DPT Programs and Hybrid DPT Programs

When looking at online DPT programs, it is important to find a program that fits your professional needs. Many online options are for transitional doctor of physical therapy (TDPT) programs, which are designed for students who already have a background in physical therapy (many of them became PTs before a doctorate was required and complete a TDPT to increase their knowledge). There are also a couple of PhD options, which are not designed to prepare entry level physical therapy students for clinical practice. Neither TDPTs or PhDs in physical therapy are accredited by CAPTE.

Those who are looking to start their physical therapy careers should always look for regular doctor of physical therapy programs (sometimes clinical DPT programs). These programs prepare students for first time certification as physical therapists.

Below, we have compiled online/hybrid physical therapy program options for both aspiring PTs and current PTs looking to enhance their knowledge base.

Accredited Online and Hybrid Entry Level DPT Programs

Below is a table of online DPT programs accredited by Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). These programs are for students who do not have a prior PT degree. (Last verified 4/14/2022)

1Live classes are defined as classes where there are specific class times each week where students are able to log on and communicate with each other and the professor as the professor delivers a live video lecture.


Online Physical Therapy Degrees and Hybrid Physical Therapy Degrees for Current PTs

Online Physical Therapy Program Information

This list of online physical therapy programs includes programs designed for current physical therapists who are looking to gain additional education as well as programs for aspiring PTs.

Entry Level DPT Program Information

Allen College

Unity Point Health

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Waterloo, Iowa

Name of Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 3 years

Credits: 113

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE
Learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy from Allen College

Baylor University

Robbins College

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Waco, Texas

Name of Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 97

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE
Learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy from Baylor University

Nova Southeastern University

Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Tampa, Florida

Name of Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: 4 years

Credits: 118

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE
Learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University

South College

South College School of Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Atlanta and Knoxville, Georgia and Tennessee

Name of Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 135

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE
Learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy from South College

Tufts University

Tufts University School of Medicine

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Boston, Massachusetts

Name of Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 127

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE
  • 40 observation hours
Learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy from Tufts University

University of St. Augustine

University of St. Augustine College of Rehabilitative Sciences

Doctor of Physical Therapy

St. Augustine, Florida

Name of Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: 4 years

Credits: 131

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA preferred
  • GRE
  • 80 observation hours
Learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy from University of St. Augustine

Transitional DPT and PhD in Physical Therapy Program Information

A.T. Still University

Arizona School of Health Sciences

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Mesa, Arizona

Name of Degree: Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 64

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 2.7 GPA
  • Employer verification form
Learn more about the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy from A.T. Still University

Arcadia University

Arcadia University College of Health Sciences

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Glenside, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1-3 years

Credits: 18

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 2.75 GPA
  • License to practice as a PT somewhere in the US
Learn more about the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Arcadia University

The College of St. Scholastica

School of Health Sciences

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Duluth, Minnesota

Name of Degree: Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 16

Concentrations: N/A

Northeastern University

Northeastern University College of Professional Studies

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Boston, Massachusetts

Name of Degree: Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 33

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • Employment history
Learn more about the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Northeastern University

Shenandoah University

Shenandoah University

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Winchester, Virginia

Name of Degree: Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1-3 years

Credits: 16

Concentrations: N/A

Texas Woman's University

Texas Woman's University

Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy

Denton, Texas

Name of Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Self-paced

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: Varies

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Education or experience requirement
  • 3.0 GPA
Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman's University

University of Michigan-Flint

University of Michigan-Flint College of Health Sciences

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Flint, Michigan

Name of Degree: Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2-3 years

Credits: 24

Concentrations: N/A

University of Montana

University of Montana Rehab Essentials

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Columbia Falls, Montana

Name of Degree: Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1-3 years

Credits: 13

Concentrations: N/A

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

UNC School of Medicine

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Name of Degree: Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 27

Concentrations: N/A

Utica College

Utica College

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Utica, New York

Name of Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 3 years

Credits: 108

Concentrations: N/A

Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem State University

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Name of Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 3 years

Credits: N/A

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE 
  • 50 observation hours
Learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy from Winston-Salem State University

Online Doctor of Physical Therapy Application Requirements

Most programs require that applications are submitted through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). The following are common application requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree (unless the program combines bachelors and graduate education)
  • Transcripts
  • Observation hours supervised by licensed PT
  • References- see specific reference requirements by school
  • Application fee
  • Supplemental materials
  • GRE scores
  • Prerequisite coursework

College of Health Sciences

info

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Earn your DPT from a hybrid program. Experience on-campus immersions and apply skills learned online to patients in person. Complete the program in 25 months. GRE and bachelor’s required.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) 
  • Complete in 25 months  
  • 32 weeks of in-person experience

infoSPONSORED

Accreditation for Online Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs

In order to be licensed as a physical therapist in any state you must have a DPT from a CAPTE accredited program or a foreign equivalent. Accreditation ensures that the quality of education given by the university is high enough to prepare you to be a quality physical therapist. Accreditation requirements also protect students- schools cannot maintain accreditation if their schools do not generate good career outcomes for their students. Here is a full list of CAPTE accredited programs.

For current DPTs expanding their knowledge through transitional DPT degrees or PhDs in PT, CAPTE does not accredit these types of programs.

Evaluating Online Physical Therapy Programs

The way that online physical therapy programs are set up can differ greatly in terms of how courses are delivered, how many classes you can take at one time, clinical placement opportunities, and more. When choosing between programs, be sure to evaluate the following:

Hybrid Physical Therapy Programs

It is important to note that all online physical therapy programs geared towards those who are not currently practicing PTs are hybrid programs. This means that while a large chunk of the degree can be completed online, there will always be some on campus requirements so that students can learn the important hands-on and clinical skills needed to practice as physical therapists. Make sure to compare different programs to see how often they require you to come to campus – some requirements are more manageable than others – a couple of campus visits per semester is a lot less than several visits per month! Know what commitments will work for your schedule.

Live vs Non-Live DPT Classes

Just because you are completing classwork in your living room doesn’t mean you have to forgo an interactive classroom experience. Some online DPT programs offer live online classes where you can ask professors questions and interact with your fellow students. If you are looking to stay engaged through alive class format, look for programs that offer “synchronous” or live coursework

On Campus Physical Therapy Program Requirements

With the requirements needed to become a physical therapist, there are currently no accredited online physical therapy programs that don’t have some form of on-campus learning requirement for hands on instruction. But specific on campus requirements will vary by program. Some programs are online to facilitate learning from wherever you live, while others still serve specific communities, but use online as a way to offer flexibility for working students. The latter may still require you to be on campus as often as weekly. Make sure you find a program that fits your needs.

Physical Therapy Program Clinical Experience

In addition to hands on learning on campus, you will need to complete internships where you gain clinical experience in order to prepare for your career in physical therapy. If you are away from campus, make sure that the program you are interested offers the level of support you need when it comes time to find a clinical placement site.

Check out this list of physical therapy scholarships that you can use to help pay for your degree.

Why Choose an Online Physical Therapy Program?

Online DPT Programs Offer Flexibility

No matter what sort of online DPT you choose, you are gaining added flexibility when compared to on campus programs. The ability to complete coursework from wherever you are makes it easier to balance other commitments that you have and stay close to home.

Physical Therapists are in High Demand

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 job forecast, the physical therapy field is expected to grow 18% between 2019 and 2029. You will also be able to choose to work in a variety of settings- from hospitals, to nursing homes, to private practice. Additionally, physical therapy is a high paying field.

Physical Therapy is a Rewarding Field

Through physical therapy, you help people gain strength, restore mobility, and even reduce or eliminate pain. The conditions and injuries that physical therapy helps can dramatically affect patient well being in ways big and small, and you can help them progress and heal. Increased function and decreased pain expands what people are able to do and improves quality of life.

Physical Therapists Need a Doctorate Degree

New students are required to earn a DPT degree in order to become licensed in any state. Online DPT programs can be completed in any state you reside in.