Those looking to become physical therapists in the state of Tennessee have several on campus Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs that they can access within their state. For those who do not live close to a campus or who are simply looking for more options or more flexible options, there are also online hybrid DPT programs that you can apply to. Narrowing down this wide range of choices into a shortlist of schools to apply to can be tough, so this guide was designed to help you understand which factors to look at to help you determine which programs may be right for you.

Online DPT Programs vs On Campus Programs in Tennessee

When starting the search for the right DPT program, considering your lifestyle can be a sensible place to start. For example, if you have family, work, or other obligations during the week that affect when you can go to class, you will want to find programs that accommodate your schedule. Commute is also an important factor – how close are the nearest campuses and how will you get there? Make sure to ask yourself these questions as you determine which programs will be feasible for you to attend.

If you realize that getting to campus from your current home will be a challenge, you will need to determine whether you would want to move to become closer to a campus or if you would prefer to enroll in an online DPT program.

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Online DPT Programs in Tennessee

Currently, any DPT programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) that are online are what are considered to be hybrid programs. A hybrid program differs from a purely online program in the sense that some program requirements will need to be completed on campus. For physical therapy programs, this is due to the fact that some of the required teaching involves hands-on learning. Even though campus visits are required, a hybrid program typically necessitates trips to the campus (check with the programs you are interested in about specific requirements). You should still benefit from the added flexibility that results from being able to attend class from the comfort of home.

Online courses are typically delivered in one of three ways. Either you will log in to participate in lectures or activities live (synchronously) or you will be able to access coursework or pre recorded lectures on your own time (asynchronously). Some courses may combine these two approaches in a hybrid format.

Your choice to enroll in an online DPT program may be due to a variety of reasons, and those reasons may influence the type of course delivery that you would prefer. For example, if you are enrolling in an online program due to the lack of a nearby campus and an inability to relocate, you may prefer a synchronously delivered program that uses video streaming to mirror the interactiveness of a classroom as closely as possible. If you are seeking the flexibility that comes with an online program due to constraints in your schedule, an asynchronous program may fit into your life more seamlessly. Some programs may utilize both kinds of course delivery.

All kinds of online programs will require you to complete clinical requirements at placement sites (in person). Always check with the online programs that you are considering to see if they will be able to place you in a site that is convenient for you. Check with any online programs that you are interested in about what they can do to place you in a site that is conveniently located for you.

On Campus DPT Programs in Tennessee

The on campus learning experience is more familiar to most – students go to class for lecture, to take exams, and complete other requirements. Just like with online programs, DPT students will complete clinical requirements at placement sites, which in this instance are typically local to the program attended.

How Long Do Tennessee DPT Programs Take to Complete?

DPT programs may take between two and a half to three years to complete, though you should verify specific length and requirements with the programs you are interested in. Time to complete could be shorter or longer than the above range.

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

Typical Hybrid DPT Programs Available to Tennessee Students

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

School NameTypeLive ClassesOn-Campus RequirementsTime to Complete
Allen CollegeHybridSomeTwice per term3 years
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 Tennessee

The following DPT programs can be found on Tennessee campuses:

ProgramCityTime to CompleteGPA Requirement
Belmont UniversityNashville3 years3.2
Eastern Tennessee State UniversityJohnson City3 years2.7
South CollegeKnoxville2 years3.0
Tennessee State UniversityNashville3 yearsUnspecified
University of Tennessee at ChattanoogaChattanooga2.5 years3.2
University of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphis2 years3.2 prerequisite

General Tips on How to Become a Physical Therapist in Tennessee

To become a physical therapist in Tennessee, 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 Tennessee.
  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 Tennessee Board of Physical Therapy for exact requirements.