DPT Programs in South Dakota

Those who are looking to become physical therapists in South Dakota have just one in state Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) option to consider – the University of South Dakota has the only on campus program available in the state. For prospective students who would like to expand their choices while staying local, or who are interested in added convenience and flexibility, there are also online DPT programs to consider. With different kinds of options to choose from, it can sometimes be challenging to decide which kind of program is best for you. This guide will take you through some of the factors you can evaluate in order to determine which programs are best for you.

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 South Dakota

Asking yourself a few questions about your schedule and lifestyle can e a good place to start when determining what kinds of DPT programs you should apply to. Do you learn better in a classroom or from the comfort of home? Are you able to commute to the nearest DPT programs on a regular basis or do you need to either move or take classes online on order to complete your degree? Are there times during the week where you would not be able to attend class? Ask yourself these questions as you sift through your options as an easy way to determine which programs may not be an ideal fit.

If commuting to the nearest campus is unreasonable for you, whether due to proximity or other constraints, you will need to figure out whether you want to move closer to an in-state or out of state campus, or pursue an online DPT program so that you do not have to move.

Last Updated 4/23/2022

Online DPT Programs in South Dakota

Any Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredited DPT program available at this point in time is what is considered to be a hybrid program. Hybrid programs differ from completely online programs in the sense that some trips to campus are required, in order to fulfill hands-on components that are essential to earning a DPT degree. Although some campus visits are required, they are typically infrequent. As long as it is easy enough for you to get to the campus as often as it is required, hybrid programs still typically allow a student an additional level of flexibility over campus programs since most coursework is still completed at home.

Online courses are either delivered synchronously (live, requires students to log on at specific times) or asynchronously (delivered in a way that allows students to view/complete on their own time). Programs may utilize both of these formats. Your needs and preferences may dictate which of these formats is more appealing to you. Those looking for options that closely mirror the in person experience may prefer synchronous learning, while those in need of the highest levels of flexibility may prefer asynchronous classes.

Any program you choose, hybrid or otherwise, will require you to complete clinical requirements in person at a clinical site. See if the online programs you are interested in can place you at sites that are conveniently located to you.

On Campus DPT Programs in South Dakota

The on campus experience is familiar to many – the concept of going to class on a university campus is often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about college education. With DPT programs, on campus students do the same thing. For clinical requirements, they often report to placement sites local to the university.

How Long Do South Dakota DPT Programs Take to Complete?

DPT programs could take between two and a half to three years, though they could take more or less time to complete depending on the program. Ask any specific programs you are interested in about program length and structure so you get the most up to date information.

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

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to South Dakota Students

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

On Campus DPT Programs in South Dakota

The following DPT programs can be found on South Dakota campuses:

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in South Dakota

To become a physical therapist in South Dakota, 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 South Dakota.
  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 South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners for exact requirements.