Hawaii residents do not have access to an on campus doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program on the islands – they need to either relocate in order to earn their degree in person. Luckily, such a move is no longer necessary because Hawaiians have the option of earning a doctor of physical therapy degree online. This guide will explain what options are available to those looking to earn their DPT in Hawaii so that they can determine which programs are best for them.

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On-Campus Programs vs Online DPT Programs in Hawaii

Online and on-campus DPT programs each have their pros and cons – for Hawaiians one of the major cons is that earning a DPT on a campus would require relocating to another part of the US. For those who are not interested in making such a move, there are multiple high quality accredited online DPT programs available from well known, reputable institutions. There are many advantages to an online degree, starting with the fact that it allows you to learn from the comfort and convenience of your own home. Some programs have pretty sophisticated ways of delivering courses, don’t be surprised if a program you are interested in conducts classes via live video streaming.

Last Updated: 3/7/21

Online DPT Programs

While an online program will allow you to keep living in Hawaii as you complete coursework, you won’t be completely off the hook for travel. Some skills are simply best learned in person, which is why all “online” DPT programs are actually hybrid programs that do require some on campus skills learning during occasional trips to campus. When it comes to clinical placements, however, these can often be completed at placement sites in your local area – just make sure that this is possible through the programs you are considering.

For the coursework component of the programs, there are two types of online learning formats:

  • Synchronous – deliverables, such as lectures, online chats, and other activities are completed live, requiring students to log on at specific times
  • Asynchronous – deliverables are completed whenever the student wants, so long as they are completed in a timely manner. Pre-recorded lectures can allow students to view classes without needing to log on at a specific time

You should always contact programs directly to best learn how they are delivered.

On Campus DPT Programs

If you choose to leave Hawaii in order to pursue your degree on campus, the program you attend will typically require you to report to campus several times per week for classes and lectures. One benefit of this is that you will be able to network and befriend your peers in real life. If you learn best outside your home away from distractions, this may be a great option for you.

How Long do Hawaii DPT Programs Take to Complete?

The hybrid programs available to Hawaiians vary greatly in length – from two year accelerated options to four year programs. 

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to Hawaii Students

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

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 Hawaii

There are currently no on campus DPT programs available in the state of Hawaii.

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in Hawaii

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