DPT Programs in Iowa

There are multiple options for Iowans looking to earn a DPT in-state – 5 on campus options in all. Additionally, online programs add to the selection of schools that students who don’t wish to leave the state can choose from. Naturally, earning an online degree will be a very different experience from earning one in person. It can be hard to decide which option might be best for you, the answer is different for everyone. This guide will help you make that decision.

Arcadia University

College of Health Sciences


Doctor of Physical Therapy

Earn your DPT from a hybrid program. Experience on-campus immersions and apply skills learned online to patients in person. Complete the program in 25 months. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree but do not need to submit GRE test scores for admission.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) 
  • Complete in 25 months  
  • 32 weeks of in-person experience

University of Southern California (USC)

USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy


Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

With USC’s Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, aspiring physical therapists can earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in an innovative hybrid format. Bachelor’s required.

  • Full-time, three-year program 
  • 44 weeks of rich, varied clinical experiences 
  • Regular visits to USC for on-campus, skill-building immersions


Online DPT Programs vs On-Campus Programs in Iowa

There are several factors that you might consider when determining whether an on campus or online DPT program is the option that works best for you. One obvious thing to think about is your learning style and how compatible either of these options are to how you learn best. If you find being in your own home distracting – you may prefer an on campus program, or completing an online program in a location outside your home. If you learn best at your own pace, an asynchronous online program may allow you to decide when you complete your assignments, so long as you make your due dates.

Another thing to consider is lifestyle. Some aspiring PTs have considerable responsibilities outside of their degree, such as work or family. In these cases, an online program may ease the burden of commuting and perhaps offer some flexibility in terms of when coursework is completed. Others have more free time on their hands and are willing to take on more coursework in a semester if it means finishing a degree earlier – different programs offer different value.

It is also important to note that although online learning does not require showing up to a physical location, all DPT programs are hybrid and have occasional on campus requirements, meaning you will not miss out on the opportunity to connect with peers in real life. Additionally, if classes are conducted via live video streaming, you may be surprised at how close you become with your peers!

Last Updated 3/8/2021

Online DPT Programs in Iowa

Any online DPT program accredited in current times is what is considered a hybrid program. Hybrid programs blend online and in person learning, for DPT programs this means much of the coursework is completed online but certain in person skills are mastered during occasional trips to campus. In addition to in person learning on campus, all DPT programs require real world experience via clinical hours, which are typically completed at placement sites local to the student (make sure the hybrid program you are applying to can accommodate you).

Coursework is delivered either synchronously or asynchronously:

  • Synchronous – anything that requires you to log in at a specific time to view a lecture in real time, complete an activity with your peers, or any other live activity
  • Asynchronous – anything that may be completed on your own time as long as due dates are met. Examples include pre recorded lectures or a solo homework assignment

On Campus DPT Programs in Iowa

On campus programs in the state of Iowa include Briar Cliff University, Clarke University, Des Moines University, St. Ambrose University, and University of Iowa.

How Long do Iowa DPT Programs Take to Complete?

Often, you may expect a DPT program to take two and a half to three years to complete. However, it is also very typical for a program to be as short as two years or even longer than three and a half.

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

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to Iowa Students

The following hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy programs are available to students in Iowa.

On Campus DPT Programs in Iowa

The following DPT programs can be found on Iowa campuses:

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in Iowa

To become a physical therapist in Iowa, here are some common steps. Be sure to check with the state licensing agency for specific state 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 likely need to get approval from both the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and the state of Iowa.
  3. Get Licensed – You may want to make sure your NPTE score is set up to be transferred to the Iowa Board of Physical and Occupational 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 Iowa’s state board for exact requirements.