For Arkansas residents who want to stay in state while earning their Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), there are four on campus programs they can consider applying to – Arkansas State University, Harding University, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), and University of Central Arkansas. Additionally, online or hybrid DPT programs are available to Arkansas residents as well, offered by institutions all over the country. Here is what you should consider when weighing these options.

On-Campus Programs vs Online DPT Programs in Arkansas

There are various advantages to on-campus and online DPT programs, many of them depend on what is best for you as an individual. For example, if you have little time for commuting to campus, an online program may be necessary for you. However, if you can’t stay focused without being in a classroom, an on campus program may be your best bet.

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Online DPT Programs

Some portions of DPT programs can now be completed online through part of a hybrid program, where learning is split between online and on campus instruction. Because of the hands-on nature of the field, there is currently no program offered online in its entirety – some deliverables must always be completed on campus. Still, cutting out some in person learning and replacing it with online requirements helps reduce commute time and expand flexibility for students. In addition to on campus deliverables, DPT students must also complete clinical requirements at a placement site.

Online DPT programs are delivered in two main ways, some programs will mix the two:

  • Synchronous – scheduled deliverables that require students to sign on at a specific time to attend lectures, chats, or other activities
  • Asynchronous – deliverables with due dates but no specific time in which a student has to sign on, completion of requirements is on one’s own time

Determining how a program is delivered can take some research – always reach out to a program directly to get a full picture of what they offer.

On Campus DPT Programs

You are probably familiar with on campus learning – students report to campus several times a week to attend class or labs. With on campus learning, clinical requirements are typically completed at placement sites in the community surrounding the university.

How Long do Arkansas DPT Programs Take to Complete?

DPT programs usually take two and a half to three years to complete, though this is not a definitive rule. Hybrid programs can take shorter or longer depending on whether they are an accelerated option or one offering maximum flexibility.

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

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to Arkansas Students

The following are examples of hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. Be sure to check with the school to see if they are authorized to operate in your state.

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 Arkansas

The following DPT programs have Arkansas campuses.

ProgramCityTime to CompleteGPA Requirement
Arkansas State UniversityJonesboro3 years3.0
Harding UniversitySearcy3 years3.0
University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle Rock3 years3.0
University of Central ArkansasConway3 years3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in Arkansas

To become a physical therapist in Arkansas, 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 Arkansas.
  3. Get Licensed – Make sure your NPTE score is set up to be transferred to the Arkansas State 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 Arkansas’s state board for exact requirements.