Physical therapists need a doctorate to become licensed and practice as physical therapists. Doctoral programs must be accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), and licensure candidates must pass the National Physical Therapy Exam, which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
Programs typically take three years to complete. It may be possible for full-time students to complete the program in a shorter time. Part-time students, especially those working full time, may find that it takes them an extra year or two to complete their program.
What Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program?
An online doctorate in physical therapy is perfect for students who wish to become physical therapists. Candidates who need to work while they study or prefer a specialization that isn’t offered through the nearby program benefit significantly from the flexibility that online learning provides.
Some programs are aimed at physical therapists who are already practicing, while others are directed toward college graduates who wish to become be physical therapists. Applicants should make sure to choose a program that is suited to them.
Degree requirements vary among programs. Most programs require candidates to attend online lectures and complete assignments and tests. Most programs include core courses and then allow students to select the specialization. Some programs place a greater emphasis on practical experience, while others may require some sort of capstone project or dissertation.
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program?
Admission requirements vary from program to program. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) offers a great guide to all the possible requirements. Generally, prospective candidates must have completed certain undergraduate courses at accredited colleges. Most programs also maintain a minimum GPA cutoff.
The graduate admissions process can be a bit tricky. Candidates who have a good idea of what to expect before they start often find it less complicated and stressful. Some programs may require a criminal record check and physical therapy work or volunteer experience, along with a sound academic record.
A CAPTE study found that tuition for a doctorate in physical therapy costs an average of $18,989 per year for in-state students at public schools and $37,448 annually at private schools. More expensive programs aren’t always higher quality, so it’s important to carefully research program costs before choosing.
Online programs can be cheaper, but this isn’t always the case. Choosing an online program can help save on transportation and moving costs, but there might be other costs to online learning that candidates need to consider before making their choice.