For Alabama residents who want to earn their doctor of physical therapy (DPT) without leaving the state, there are four on campus options to consider – Alabama State University, Samford University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and University of South Alabama. There are also online or hybrid DPT programs that Alabama residents can enroll in as well. Each type of program has its advantages- here are some of the things you will want to consider as you decide where to apply.

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On-Campus Programs vs Online DPT Programs in Alabama

Choosing between on-campus and online DPT programs requires an understanding of the advantages of each type of program. Some of these advantages apply to everyone – for example an online program will always eliminate commute time for students. Other advantages are more personal – a learning environment that engages one student may not be as engaging as another. Considering personal preferences is important when selecting programs to apply to.

Last Updated: 12/21/20

Online DPT Programs

At this time – any online DPT program is in actuality a hybrid program due to the amount of on campus visits that are needed for students to learn certain hands-on skills. These online programs allow students to at least complete all of their classwork from wherever they live without needing to commute, but they will need to go to campus every so often for lab and clinical skills sessions. The clinical experience requirements where students are placed at clinical sites for longer periods of time can however be completed at a facility in the student’s own community, typically.

Online doctor of physical therapy programs are delivered in two main ways:

  • Synchronous – classes meet in real time – whether through chats, live video streaming, or other media that allows students and professors to connect at a set time
  • Asynchronous – class requirements are completed on a students own time – perhaps through pre recorded lecture.

These two experiences are fairly different in terms of how they engage students and what they offer in terms of flexibility – make sure to consider how much flexibility is offered by each program in reference to what you need, as well as what learning format will best help you thrive.

On Campus DPT Programs

On campus physical therapy programs involve the traditional classroom setting. Students attend class on campus several times per week, and typically complete clinical experiences in the community surrounding the university that they attend.

How Long do Alabama DPT Programs Take to Complete?

DPT programs typically take two and a half to three years to complete, though some programs can be completed in more or less time. Hybrid programs can vary from accelerated options to four year programs. Online programs are typically delivered to cohorts – groups of students who start at the same time and complete all their coursework together in a specific sequence.

You can see the specific program lengths for Alabama on campus and online DPT programs in the tables below.

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to Alabama Students

The following hybrid doctor of physical therapy programs are available to students in Alabama.

School NameTypeLive ClassesOn-Campus RequirementsTime to Complete
Arcadia University (Sponsored)HybridYesUnspecified2 years
Baylor University HybridSomeTwice per semester2 years
Nova Southeastern University HybridSomeEvery 4th week4 years
South College HybridNoQuarterly2 years
Tufts UniversityHybridSomeEight visits2 years
University of Southern California (Sponsored)HybridYesUp to twice per semester3 years
University of St. Augustine HybridSomeTwice per month4 years

On Campus DPT Programs in Alabama

The following DPT programs have Alabama campuses.

ProgramCityTime to CompleteGPA Requirement
Alabama State UniversityMontgomery3 years3.0
Samford UniversityBirmingham3 years3.0
University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham3 years3.0
University of South AlabamaMobile2.5 years3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in Alabama

To become a physical therapist in Alabama, here are some common steps:

  1. Earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree – Consider looking for physical therapy programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) which may help you ensure you meet certification requirements in the future.
  2. Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) – To do this, you will need to get approval from both the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and the state of Alabama.
  3. Get Licensed – Make sure your NPTE score is set up to be transferred to the Alabama Board of Physical Therapy so that the state can issue your certification once you pass and check with the board to make sure you meet any additional requirements for licensure. This is a high-level overview, make sure to check out Alabama’s state board for exact requirements.