University of Montana – Missoula is the only campus in the state of Montana that offers an on campus Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. Fortunately, for those in Montana who wish for more options, there are also hybrid online programs that they can complete without relocating. It can be hard to decide between on campus and online DPT programs. This guide will help you think about what factors you should consider when deciding which programs are best for you.

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Online DPT Programs vs On Campus Programs in Montana

One of the first things you should consider when determining which programs to apply to is what constraints are placed upon you by your schedule. For example, if you have other commitments during the day, you may want to gravitate toward programs with class times that don’t conflict with your other responsibilities. Additionally, Montana is a big state, and Missoula may not be very close to you. In that case, an online program may be the only kind of program you can complete if you do not intend to move in order to earn your degree. If you are a busy person, you may not have time to commute to campus even if you live close to Missoula, and in that case you may also want to consider an online DPT program.

After considering all of your schedule constraints, you may want to start thinking about your learning style and how that would influence which programs are best for you. If your home is full of distractions, you may find the traditional classroom setting up healing. However, if you learn best in the comfort of home, you may want to go with an online program. Today’s online programs sometimes offer some of the benefits once exclusively associated with on campus programs. For example, some programs that are online are delivered via webcam streaming, allowing professors to have discussions with students, leading to a more engaging learning experience.

Last Updated 10/18/2021

Online DPT Programs in Montana

At this point in time, there is no such thing as a fully online DPT program. This is due to the fact that becoming a physical therapist requires some level of hands-on learning, which just cannot be done exclusively online. To ensure that students get the experience that they need, students are required to report to campus every so often for in person learning. Despite the occasional trips to campus, online programs still allow students to complete much of their degrees from home.

Online learning can be done in one of two formats – synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous learning is done live, and students must login at specific times to complete deliverables in what is usually a collaborative virtual environment. Asynchronous learning, on the other hand, can be done on one’s own time. Delivery methods such as pre-recorded lectures make asynchronous learning possible. Those who are interested in a collaborative learning environment with maximum interaction between professors and peers may be interested in a synchronous learning environment. Those who need the highest level of flexibility in order to complete their degree may opt for asynchronous learning. It is not uncommon for a program to utilize both synchronous and asynchronous elements.

In addition to reporting to campus for skills learning, online DPT students will also need to complete clinical placements at a physical location. Many online programs will be able to help students secure placements local to them, so although they will have to leave the house, they will not have to relocate. Make sure to ask any programs that you are interested in about if they offer support in securing local placements and what they can do to help you.

On Campus DPT Programs in Montana

As mentioned before, the University of Montana – Missoula is the only on-campus DPT program in the state of Montana. Those who are interested in an on-campus program are probably familiar with the on-campus experience. Students will report to class regularly in order to attend lectures. Clinical placement sites will typically be completed off campus, but in the community surrounding the university.

How Long do Montana DPT Programs Take to Complete?

It may take between two and a half to three years to complete a doctor of physical therapy program. It could also take shorter or longer, depending on the program. Check with the programs you are interested in to see what the timeline looks like.

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

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to Montana Students

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

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 Montana

The following DPT programs can be found on Montana campuses:

ProgramCityTime to CompleteGPA Requirement
University of Montana – MissoulaMissoula33 months3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in Montana

To become a physical therapist in Montana, 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 Montana.
  3. Get Licensed – You may want to make sure your NPTE score is set up to be transferred to the Montana Board of Physical Therapy Examiners 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 Montana’s state board for exact requirements.