There are a respectable seven different accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs located right in the state of Illinois. This leaves residents with plenty of options to choose from if they are looking to complete a DPT degree without moving. Better yet, there are also several online or hybrid degree programs that can be completed in the state of Illinois as well, requiring occasional trips to the university campus rather than reporting there several times per week. With all of these choices, it can be tough to determine which kind of program is best for you. This guide will help you make that decision.

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Online DPT Programs vs On-Campus Programs in Illinois

When it comes to on campus vs online DPT programs – one format isn’t necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to what is best for you. For example, an online DPT program provides added flexibility, which is something many people need if they are going to consider fitting a degree into their busy schedules at all. On campus programs, on the other hand, offer a brick and mortar classroom, which is the best learning environment for some. Some of the benefits between options are changing – as technology becomes more advanced for example, it becomes easier for peers to connect online through methods such as video lecture, which means that networking is no longer something that needs to be done on campus.

Last Updated 3/8/2021

Online DPT Programs in Illinois

If you are looking to add flexibility to your degree through online learning, you would apply to what is considered a hybrid DPT program. A hybrid program combines in person and online learning – requiring occasional rather than regular trips to campus. Why not a fully online program? Because of the hands on nature of physical therapy, fully online DPT programs do not currently exist – it is necessary to report to campus to learn some hand on skills.

Another part of online DPT programs that requires reporting to a physical location is the clinical requirements. Many hybrid programs may be able to help secure a placement site local to you so that you can earn the required real life PT experience you need to be licensed in your own community.

What is nice about the hybrid approach is that it does allow you to meet your peers in real life while maintaining the flexibility you gain by completing much of your degree online.

The online portion of a hybrid program is delivered using one of the following two formats, or a mix of the two:

  • Asynchronous – coursework completed on one’s own time, based on his or her own schedule.
  • Synchronous – coursework completed at a specific time during which peers logon simultaneously to tune into a lecture or complete an activity.

On Campus DPT Programs in Illinois

From Northwestern University to Governor’s State, there are a variety of on campus DPT experiences available to students. These programs may require several weekly trips to campus, as any on campus program would. Clinical placement sites would typically be local to the university.

How Long do Illinois DPT Programs Take to Complete?

The average DPT program may take two and a half to three years to complete, but it is common to find shorter or longer options as well. Hybrid programs have similar variance in program length – from accelerated options to four year programs. No matter the length, it is typical that programs follow a cohort format, though this may not always be the case.

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

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to Illinois 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. Be sure to check with the state licensing agency for specific state requirements:

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 Illinois

The following DPT programs can be found on Illinois campuses. There are campuses all over the state, from Chicago to Peoria.

ProgramCityTime to CompleteGPA Requirement
Bradley UniversityPeoria3 years3.0
Governors State UniversityUniversity Park3 years2.8 (3.0 prerequisite)
Midwestern University Downers GroveDowners Grove3 years3.0 (2.9 science)
Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalb3 years3.0
Northwestern UniversityEvanston3 years3.0
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and ScienceNorth Chicago3 yearsAccepted students typically have above a 3.5 GPA
University of Illinois at ChicagoChicago3 years2.5

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in Illinois

To become a physical therapist in Illinois, 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 likely need to get approval from both the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and the state of Illinois.
  3. Get Licensed – You may want to make sure your NPTE score is set up to be transferred to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation 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 Illinois’s state board for exact requirements.