Top 5 Online Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Programs

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An advanced education in Physical Therapy is not only a shrewd career move, but also might be a necessity—The American Physical Therapy Association has stated a goal that “by 2020, all physical therapists will hold a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, advancing the discipline to a higher status.” And at the current population rate, by the same year, the number of American citizens over 65 will be more than double! In light of these facts, this is an incredibly pertinent time to earn a Doctorate of Physical Therapy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job outlook for physical therapists at 39% over the next 7 years, which is hugely above average, with a median annual salary of about $80,000. PTs find work in a number of settings including nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, and in athletic environments. Doctors in this discipline are respected healthcare professionals that offer peerless health services. Individuals in this field report very gratifying and rewarding careers, that contribute to the aid of a growing need. Not only does the challenging nature of their position keep them active and educated, the job security essentially guarantees a respected position of employment!

Research for this list included cross-referencing many of the most respected journalistic and education resources and student review sites. Methodology included numerous required factors: accreditation, tuition, financial aid availability, program and coursework options, and degree outcomes. In developing this list, OnlineSchoolsCenter.com, chose not to list the schools in an ordered way, but instead highlighted five of the very best programs, all of which have their own unique strengths.

A.T. STILL UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
According to the APTA, “as the healthcare environment evolves into a more direct-access model of physical therapy,” future therapists need to display highly competent levels of individual leadership and critical thinking. With the demands of today’s physical therapist becoming more acute, A.T. Still University offers its doctorate students a glowingly reviewed DPT program that is designed to meet individual students’ needs, and to enhance current and future careers.

Campus Location: Kirksville, MO

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education

Tuition and Fees:

  • $9,989 per academic year—tuition
  • $2,497 per quarter—installment option tuition
  • $70 one time—application fee
  • $175 one time—student services fee

Types of Aid: Private loans, employer tuition reimbursement, Veterans’ and military benefits, and tuition refund policies.

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must hold a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical therapy from accredited institutions, or in an applicable discipline to this program. Required documentation includes official transcripts representing a 2.7 GPA or higher, licensure in physical therapy in one of the fifty states, three professional letters of recommendation, an expanded portfolio, and international students must submit TOEFL scores.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Neuromuscular Physical Therapy
  • Radiology and Imaging
  • Health and Wellness

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates “join a prestigious group of alumni and earn the respect that comes from an ATSU degree.” Having gained a preeminent education in physical therapy, students go on, as doctors in their discipline, to provide the most excellent services in many different, and much needed, fields.

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ALABAMA STATE UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Alabama State University has designed a Doctorate of Physical Therapy distance education program that conforms to highly ethical standards and strong degrees of professionalism. Immersing individuals in online environments with experienced healthcare professionals, students learn a vast array of skills in physical therapy, as well as in administration and management.

Campus Location: Montgomery, AL

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education

Tuition and Fees:

  • $5,000 one time—tuition
  • $175 one time—portfolio review fee
  • $100 one time—graduation fee
  • $25 one time—graduate studies application fee

Types of Aid: Institutional and private scholarships, state and federal grants and loans, work-study programs, and private loans.

Acceptance Rate: 51%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must hold a master’s degree from an accredited institutions and are to submit official transcripts from all educational institutions attended. Other necessary documentation includes GMAT and GRE scores and a portfolio.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Health Disparities
  • Applied Clinical Research in PT Practice

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates from this program demonstrate strong capabilities in the practice of ethical, legal, and safe healthcare and physical therapy. Doctors of this program recognize the influence of social, economic, legislative, and demographic factors on the delivery of healthcare and apply relevant research and current techniques.

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND

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Program Standouts:
The University of New England offers an intensive Doctor of Physical Therapy program that focuses on the most recent advancements made within the field. It is the perfect program for busy clinicians with the desire to advance their careers and learn to work more closely with patients, as it is a challenging, yet rewarding, curriculum.

Campus Location: Biddeford, ME

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges; Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education

Tuition and Fees:

  • $320 per credit hour—tuition
  • $25 per class—registration fee

Types of Aid: Financial loans and grants, federal, state, private, and institutional scholarships, and payment plans.

Acceptance Rate: 82%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must hold a baccalaureate or master degree in physical therapy from accredited institutions as well as a current license to practice and employment in the United States. Other documentation includes official transcripts and proof of english proficiency from international students.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Pharmacology
  • Mangement Sciences
  • Prevention, Health Promotion, and Wellness

Degree Outcomes:
Including six challenging courses that must be completed within three years, students will gain skill in areas such as evidence-based practice, clinical decision-making, management sciences, prevention and wellness, and health care policy. In an immersive online experience, students expand their knowledge to conform to the highest standards of healthcare delivery.

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NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
Northeastern offers a huge range of areas of study within their Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs, including orthopaedics, pediatrics, geriatrics, advanced nutrition, women’s health, and many others! Students also have the option to focus their curriculum in a topic of their choice.

Campus Location: Boston, MA

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges; Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education

Tuition and Fees:

  • $1,335 per credit hour—tuition
  • $14 per term—student activities fee

Types of Aid: Institutional and private scholarships, assistantships, federal loans, and work-study programs.

Acceptance Rate: 32%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants are to submit a completed online application, along with official transcripts from accredited institutions. Other documentation includes a statement of purpose, a professional resume, two letters of recommendation, and international students must additionally submit proof of english proficiency.

Program Options:

  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Health Aging: Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Longevity
  • Sports and Fitness Nutrition

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates from this Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program will have the skill to diagnose a huge number of ailments and issues in their patients, as well as apply critical and creative thinking skills in high pressure clinic environments. Students gain specialized knowledge in an area of their choosing that will successfully advance their career goals!

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ARCADIA UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
This nationally recognized online Doctor of Physical Therapy program establishes strong connections with renowned faculty members and peers from a variety of physical therapy backgrounds. Students learn in a “highly interactive” learning environment which nurtures keen research and critical thinking skills in the most relevant areas of the practice.

Campus Location: Glenside, PA

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education

Tuition and Fees:

  • $800 per credit hour—tuition

Types of Aid: Numerous federal and alternative loans and grants, institutional scholarships and assistantships, and military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 54%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit official transcripts from accredited undergraduate and graduate institutions representing a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better, a current state professional license, three letters of recommendation, and a goals statement. Applicants must also have basic computer skills and a system capable of supporting the educational technologies.

Program Options:

  • Pharmacology
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Health Promotion and Wellness

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates from Arcadia University’s Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program will have the ability to solve complex clinical problems based on evidence and strong researching skills; to communicate professionally through scientific writing; and to effectively lead others in various challenging environments.

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