For DC residents looking for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program within city limits, there are two accredited options to choose from – George Washington University and Howard University. Additionally, there is the option of applying to online or hybrid DPT programs that allow students to attend class from anywhere in the country, while only needing to complete some hands-on requirements on campus. Here are some things to think about as you determine which programs to apply to.

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On-Campus Programs vs Online DPT Programs in DC

Deciding between on-campus and online DPT programs is a very personal decision, and the right answer is different for everyone. Many people applying to DPT programs are juggling other commitments, such as work and family, which means that the flexibility of an online program may be appealing. On the other side of the coin, some people just learn better in a classroom environment and may thrive better with an on campus experience.
Last Updated: 3/7/21

Online DPT Programs

All current accredited DPT programs with online components are technically “hybrid” programs because there are some hands-on components that require some trips to campus to complete. Still, much of the classwork in an online program can be completed online, meaning more flexibility for the student. What also does not require a trip to campus is clinical requirements – depending on the program, placement sites can typically be secured in your own community.

Online learning for DPT programs is delivered in two different ways, some programs will combine both kinds of learning:

  • Synchronous – anything that requires logging in in real time to attend class or complete an assignment (i.e. attending a lecture via webcam)
  • Asynchronous – anything that is completed on a student’s own time (i.e. taking a multiple choice activity online at a time that works best for you)

Program websites are not always explicit in explaining how a program is delivered, always make sure to contact the program directly to get the best understanding of the learning experience offered.

On Campus DPT Programs

If you are looking to attend class in a classroom with your peers, a traditional on campus program is for you. With on campus programs, learning is done in person with homework assigned to be completed on a student’s own time. Then, clinical experiences are typically completed in the community surrounding the university.

How Long do DC DPT Programs Take to Complete?

DPT programs are typically completed in between two and a half and three years, though some may take more or less time. Even hybrid programs have a range from shorter to longer than the average time frame, so make sure to look for a program that balances weekly workload with total program duration in a way that works best with your schedule.

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

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to DC 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 DC

The following DPT programs have DC campuses.

ProgramCityTime to CompleteGPA Requirement
George Washington UniversityWashington, DC3 years3.0
Howard UniversityWashington, DC2.5 years3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in DC

To become a physical therapist in DC, here are some common steps. Be sure to check with the licensing agency for specific requirements:

  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 DC.

Get Licensed – Make sure your NPTE score is set up to be transferred to the DC Health 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 DC’s state board for exact requirements.