DPT Programs in Rhode Island

Those interested in becoming physical therapists (PTs) in the state of Rhode Island have just one on campus program to consider within state borders – the Doctor of Physical Therapy program offered by the University of Rhode Island. Those who want to expand their options can either look at out-of-state programs or the several online/hybrid offerings that exist through campuses throughout the country. Due to the fact that there are different kinds of programs out there, it can be hard to decide which kinds of programs are best for you. This guide will help you understand the options so you can make an informed choice. You can also consult our guides on programs in nearby states as you make your 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 Rhode Island

Considering your scheduling needs is a good first step to take when evaluating your DPT program options. It is important, for example, to not sign up for a program that delivers more of its classes on the weekends if you are looking to take classes during the week. If you live too far from the University of Rhode Island to commute, you will need to decide between moving closer to that campus or another campus, or pursuing your degree online through one of the available online DPT programs.

Last Updated 4/7/2022

Online DPT Programs in Rhode Island

All currently available online DPT programs do require students to come to campus on occasion to learn some skills in person. Because of this, they are actually considered hybrid programs rather than fully online DPT programs. Despite the campus trips, these programs are typically mostly completed online, allowing for more flexibility than programs that require you to be in the classroom whenever you learn. Make sure when considering hybrid options to learn what is expected of you travelwise so that you only consider programs that you would reasonably be able to complete.

Online courses are delivered either synchronously or asynchronously:

  • Synchronous – delivered live at  specific time
  • Asynchronous – completed on one’s own time (as long as due dates are adhered to)

If you are looking for an online program that offers the maximum level of flexibility, you may want to lean towards asynchronous options. If you are looking for an online program that is as close to the on campus experience as possible, a synchronous program may be right for you. Some programs use a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

With online/hybrid programs, you still need to complete clinical requirements in person, but typically programs can place you at sites that are conveniently located for you (check with the program to make sure this is true before committing).

On Campus DPT Programs in Rhode Island

On campus learning takes place in the classroom – most are familiar with this model. With on campus DPT programs, clinical components typically take place at sites local to the university.

How Long Do Rhode Island DPT Programs Take to Complete?

Most of the time, DPT programs take between two and a half to three years to complete. However, specific program length can vary or be outside of this range. Always check with the programs you are thinking of applying to in order to confirm any questions you have about program length and structure.

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

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to Rhode Island Students

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

On Campus DPT Programs in Rhode Island

The following DPT programs can be found on Rhode Island campuses:

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in Rhode Island

To become a physical therapist in Rhode Island, 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 Rhode Island.
  3. Get Licensed – You may want to make sure your NPTE score is set up to be transferred to the state organization governing PTs 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 the Rhode Island Department of Health for exact requirements.