7 Best Online Physical Therapy Programs

Online Physical Therapy Programs

When considering a career in physical therapy or aiming to advance in the field, the best online physical therapy programs can offer a flexible and comprehensive path to success.

These programs combine the convenience of online learning with the rigor and quality of traditional education. From esteemed institutions to specialized curricula, the landscape of online physical therapy programs offers a diverse range of options to suit various career goals and learning preferences.

Here, we explore some of the top online programs that stand out for their excellence and dedication to shaping skilled physical therapy professionals.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a dynamic healthcare discipline focused on promoting, restoring, and maintaining optimal physical function and mobility.

It involves assessing and treating a wide range of conditions, such as injuries, disabilities, and chronic pain, that affect a person’s ability to move and engage in daily activities.

Physical therapists, and trained healthcare professionals, create individualized treatment plans that often encompass exercises, manual therapies, modalities, and patient education.

These interventions aim to enhance strength, flexibility, coordination, and overall well-being. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in rehabilitation after surgery, injury recovery, managing chronic conditions, and improving quality of life.

Therapists work closely with patients to foster independence, alleviate discomfort, and facilitate long-term health and mobility.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Physical therapists are skilled healthcare professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating movement-related issues and physical impairments. They work with individuals of all ages to improve mobility, alleviate pain, and enhance overall quality of life.

Physical therapists conduct thorough assessments to identify the root causes of problems and then develop personalized treatment plans. These plans often include exercises, stretches, manual therapies, and techniques to restore functional abilities.

They collaborate with patients to set realistic goals and monitor progress. Physical therapists also educate patients on injury prevention, proper body mechanics, and self-care techniques.

Their expertise extends to a wide range of conditions, from sports injuries and post-operative rehabilitation to chronic pain management and neurological disorders.

Why Physical Therapy Programs Are Important

Physical therapy programs hold significant importance in the healthcare landscape due to their pivotal role in restoring and maintaining physical well-being.

These programs equip individuals with the expertise needed to address a diverse array of movement-related issues, injuries, and health conditions.

Through comprehensive education and training, physical therapists gain the skills to accurately assess patients’ needs, design personalized treatment plans, and guide them toward recovery and improved mobility.

With the aging population and increasing awareness of health and wellness, the demand for skilled physical therapists is on the rise. These professionals contribute to reducing pain, enhancing functionality, and preventing disabilities, thereby significantly improving patients’ quality of life.

In essence, physical therapy programs play a crucial role in fostering optimal physical health, functional independence, and overall well-being for individuals of all ages.

Can I Get a Physical Therapy Degree Online?

Yes, you can pursue a physical therapy degree online. Many universities offer accredited online programs that allow you to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree through a combination of virtual classes, interactive modules, and in-person clinical experiences.

These online DPT programs are designed to provide the same rigorous education as traditional on-campus programs, ensuring you gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become a qualified physical therapist.

However, it’s important to choose a reputable program from an accredited institution and ensure that the online program includes clinical components to meet licensure requirements.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Physica Therapist?

Becoming a physical therapist usually requires around 7-8 years of education and training. This includes completing a four-year bachelor’s degree followed by three years of graduate school to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

Some accelerated programs might condense this timeline to as few as six years. The educational journey equips aspiring physical therapists with a strong foundation in anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation techniques, and clinical practice.

After completing their education, individuals typically need to pass a licensing exam to practice as a physical therapist.

The commitment of time and effort is rewarding, as it leads to a fulfilling career helping patients regain mobility and improve their quality of life.

Online Physical Therapy Programs

Best Online Physical Therapy Programs

Here are some of the best online physical therapy programs that you might find beneficial for pursuing your career in the field of physical therapy:

  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Northeastern University Global Network
  • Utica University
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Michigan – Flint
  • The College of Saint Scholastica

1. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Ranked among the best online physical therapy programs, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) stands out with its Post-Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The program spanned across 22 months, offers a tailored degree path where students handpick courses like Integumentary Physical Therapy, Radiology and Imaging, and Pharmacology.

ATSU’s online learning through Canvas combines both asynchronous and synchronous coursework, supported by services such as tutoring and disability support.

Admission prerequisites include a physical therapy bachelor’s degree or higher, a minimum 2.70 GPA from a related program, official transcripts, licensure proof, and a portfolio.

With a focus on flexibility and quality education, ATSU makes its mark in shaping adept physical therapy professionals.

The annual tuition is $37,486.

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2. Northeastern University Global Network

Recognized as one of the premier online physical therapy programs, Northeastern University Global Network (NEU) offers an exceptional Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Customized for physical therapists aspiring to elevate their expertise, the program spans 1 to 3 years, requiring either 24 or 33 credit hours based on prerequisite courses. NEU presents the choice between a clinical or education-focused track, enabling specialization.

Through synchronous coursework on Canvas, students access online resources like tutoring, counseling, and disability support. The admission process involves a statement of purpose, a resume, two recommendation letters, and academic transcripts.

With an annual tuition of $25,575, NEU is both affordable and accredited by NECHE, solidifying its commitment to excellence in physical therapy education.

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3. Utica University

Featured among the top-tier online physical therapy programs, Utica University presents an exceptional Post-Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Crafted by this medium-sized, private nonprofit institution, the program mandates 18 to 19 credit hours and a 16-month duration to graduation.

Students delve into coursework like Foundations of Autonomous Practice, Prevention and Wellness, and Pharmacology and Pathophysiology.

Engaging with Utica’s online platform, Canvas, students experience a blend of asynchronous and synchronous coursework.

The program provides a spectrum of online services including success coaching, counseling, and tutoring. Admission prerequisites encompass a resume or CV, two recommendation letters, official transcripts, a current license or license eligibility proof, and a minimum of one year of work experience.

With an annual tuition of $22,110, Utica University holds accreditation from MSCHE, reaffirming its commitment to delivering quality online education in physical therapy.

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4. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Priced at an annual tuition of $19,511, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) emerges as a distinguished option for those pursuing higher education in physical therapy.

This small, public institution offers an online Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy program.

Licensed physical therapists can gain continuing education credits while delving into the curriculum, which includes pivotal courses like Advanced Clinical Practice for the Hip Complex, Neuroscience of Pain, and Orthopedic Physical Therapy Screening.

TTUHSC’s online program ensures synchronous coursework via the Blackboard platform. Furthermore, students access IT support, tutoring, writing assistance, and library services.

Aspiring applicants should hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in physical therapy or a doctor of physical therapy degree, coupled with clinical experience.

TTUHSC stands accredited by SACS COC, embodying its commitment to providing high-quality online education in physical therapy.

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5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Accredited by SACS COC, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) stands as a prominent choice for those seeking advanced physical therapy education.

UNC offers a robust online option in the form of a Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program, involving 27 credit hours.

This part-time program includes vital courses like Advanced Patient Management, Topics in Health and Wellness, and Child & Family Assessment and Intervention.

Leveraging Canvas, UNC facilitates online learning in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Enriching the experience, students access resources such as a writing center, math lab, and academic success support.

Prospective applicants must hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in physical therapy and an active physical therapy license.

With an annual tuition of $36,159, UNC’s commitment to quality education shines through in its online physical therapy program.

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6. University of Michigan – Flint

With an annual tuition of $23,502, the University of Michigan – Flint (UMFLINT) emerges as a formidable choice for online physical therapy programs. This medium-sized public institution offers two compelling paths:

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy – Transitional DPT
  • Dual DPT/MBA Health Care Management.

The former, spanning 24 to 27 credits, is tailored for licensed physical therapists. In contrast, the latter encompasses 144 to 153 credit hours, allowing students to concurrently pursue an online doctorate and an additional degree in health care management.

UMFLINT employs Canvas for asynchronous course delivery while providing online student services like academic advising.

Admission prerequisites for both programs include a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, a valid practice license, a minimum 3.0 GPA in physical therapy courses, and submission of a resume or CV.

With accreditation from HLC, UMFLINT’s online physical therapy programs reflect a commitment to comprehensive education.

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7. The College of Saint Scholastica

With an annual tuition of $38,282, the College of Saint Scholastica (CSS) offers a distinguished online option in the realm of physical therapy education.

As a medium-sized private nonprofit institution, CSS presents a noteworthy Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program, comprising 16 credit hours.

This program serves to bridge the gap between a student’s prior bachelor’s or master’s degree and the comprehensive curriculum at the entry-level Doctoral level.

Notable coursework includes Diagnostic Imaging, Differential Screening, and Pharmacology for Physical Therapists.

CSS employs the Blackboard platform for synchronous online coursework, complemented by valuable resources like academic advising, counseling, and career services.

Admission prerequisites encompass a prior degree in physical or physiotherapy and submission of official transcripts.

With accreditation from HLC, CSS solidifies its stance as a provider of quality online physical therapy education.

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FAQs – Online Physical Therapy Programs

What is the easiest major for physical therapy?

Pre-PT programs often suggest majors like exercise science, human biology, or kinesiology. While these make prerequisites easier, success in PT school depends on more than just the major.

What’s the hardest part of physical therapist?

The most demanding aspect of being a physical therapist is addressing the unique needs of each individual, considering their overall health, limitations, and conditions beyond just a single diagnosis or body part.

Is physical therapy tough?

Yes, physical therapy can be physically demanding. Working with patients may require extended periods on your feet, demonstrating exercises, and providing physical assistance during rehabilitation activities.


Pursuing a career in physical therapy presents both challenges and rewards. The profession demands dedication, adaptability, and compassion as therapists work to enhance lives through personalized care and tailored rehabilitation.


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