Online Physical Therapy Degrees 2022

Obtaining a degree in physical therapy can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the best online physical therapy programs.

Updated September 1, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Physical Therapy Degrees 2022

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Physical Therapy Degrees Online

Physical therapists help people with movement challenges reduce pain. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for these professionals to increase 21% from 2020-2030. This is much faster than the average growth projection of 8% for all occupations.

Online physical therapy programs provide a flexible option for busy learners. Online students complete coursework virtually. However, most programs still require in-person clinical hours.

This guide highlights the benefits and costs of earning a physical therapy degree. The following sections also explore graduates' career options and earning potential.

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Featured Online Physical Therapy Programs

Our partner schools offer programs that help you advance your education while accommodating your schedule. Visit their sites to learn more about degrees, course offerings, start dates, transfer of credits, and more.

Questions About Physical Therapy


How long does it take to become a physical therapist?

Physical therapists typically need 6-7 years of higher education. Learners in accelerated programs may finish their studies faster.

Do physical therapists need a license to practice?

Yes. Every state requires physical therapists to hold a license. Licensure candidates must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination.

Can I get a physical therapy degree online?

Yes. Many schools offer online programs in the field. Learners view lectures and take tests online but complete clinical experiences in person.

Why Get a Degree in Physical Therapy?

An advanced physical therapy degree can lead to higher pay and more autonomy. Associate degree-holders may work as physical therapist assistants. According to BLS data, these professionals earn a median salary of $49,970 per year.

Doctorate-holders can become practicing physical therapists. These professionals make important care decisions and earn a median salary of $91,010 per year.

Learners in asynchronous online physical therapy programs can complete coursework at convenient times. Students in these programs often work while earning their degree.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Physical Therapy Programs

Our partner schools offer programs that help you advance your education while accommodating your schedule. Visit their sites to learn more about degrees, course offerings, start dates, transfer of credits, and more.

How Much Does a Physical Therapy Degree Cost?

According to data from the Education Data Initiative, a master's degree cost an average of $66,340 in 2021. Factors including school type impact the total cost of earning a master's, which typically ranges from $30,000-$120,000.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of graduate tuition and fees at public schools was $12,410 for the 2019-2020 academic year. The average cost at private institutions was $26,597 for the same year.

Online physical therapy programs often cost less than in-person programs. However, online students should still budget for clinical tools, such as scrubs and exercise bands.

Additional Online Student Fees

In addition to tuition, learners should budget for fees. Many schools charge technology fees that cover troubleshooting support and virtual database subscriptions. Online learners may also need to pay for subscriptions to video conferencing services. Other potential fees for physical therapy students may cover graduation ceremonies or official transcripts.

Before enrolling in a virtual program, students should research on-campus requirements. Online programs may require annual campus visits, which involve travel costs. Graduates who pursue physical therapy licensure must pay a licensing fee.

How Much Do Physical Therapy Graduates Make?

According to Jan. 2022 Payscale data, physical therapists earn an average of $72,380 per year. However, factors including experience impact earning potential. Entry-level physical therapists earn an average annual salary of $67,750. Those with more than 20 years of experience earn an average of $88,200 per year.

Geographic location also influences salary potential. According to BLS data, California boasts the highest employment level for physical therapists. Physical therapists in California earn an average salary of $104,500 per year. While Florida also features high employment levels for physical therapists, professionals in the state earn an average annual salary of $85,410.

Courses in Physical Therapy

Physical therapy students learn to communicate with patients and doctors. Degree-seekers hone teamwork skills through group projects and practice therapy exercises.

Online physical therapy programs prepare learners to review patients' medical histories. Learners expand their medical vocabulary and explore how medications impact mobility and pain levels.

Most doctoral programs in this field require more than 100 credits, which learners often complete in eight semesters. The following list highlights three courses common to physical therapy programs.

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Physical therapists need several years of focused study. An associate or bachelor's in physical therapy qualifies holders to become physical therapist assistants. However, all states require a doctorate for physical therapy licensure.

After earning a master's degree, learners can apply to doctoral programs. Some programs require applicants to hold a master's degree in a related subject. Others accept applicants with an unrelated master's degree. Doctoral programs in the field require coursework and clinical training.

Licensure for Physical Therapists

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) administers The National Physical Therapy Examination. This test includes 250 questions and takes up to five hours. The exam costs $485.

The exam covers the musculoskeletal system, therapeutic modalities, and safety measures. Additional exam topics include professional responsibilities and how human body systems interact. FSBPT offers a practice exam and publishes a list of sample questions online.

Most states require professionals to complete continuing education to qualify for licensure renewal. Learners should check with their state's licensing board for specific requirements. Professional organizations, such as the American Physical Therapy Association, often provide continuing education courses. These organizations also host networking events to help members advance their physical therapy careers.

Online Physical Therapy Programs 2022

#1

Andrews University

School Information
Location Berrien Springs, Michigan
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 59%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Andrews University offers online programs that prepare students for new job opportunities and career advancement. In the online doctor of physical therapy program, learners complete coursework in a flexible learning environment. Program coursework covers core physical therapy topics and specialized training.

Bachelor’s programs at the school cost $28,992 for in-state tuition. Students can complete master’s programs in just two years. Finishing a doctoral degree often takes four or more years. Graduate students pay $27,216 if they reside in state.

Admission requires school transcripts. Learners can access support services such as tutoring and career counseling. The institution's website provides details about experiential learning opportunities. Andrews University has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting agency.

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#2

University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Southern California is a leader in distance learning. The doctor of physical therapy program provides online learners with a flexible learning environment. Major courses build on foundational knowledge and cover advanced field-specific topics.

Students use the college’s generous transfer policy to finish degrees faster. Undergraduates pay $57,256 in in-state tuition for bachelor’s degrees. Distance learners typically complete master's programs in two years. A doctoral degree may take more than four years to finish. Graduate degrees cost $46,272 for in-state learners.

Applicants must submit school transcripts. The school offers support services, including tutoring for online and on-campus students. Students can explore the school’s website for details about internships and hands-on learning opportunities. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

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#3

Arcadia University

School Information
Location Glenside, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 66%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Glenside, Pennsylvania, Arcadia University offers online and on-campus undergraduate and graduate programs. In an online doctor of physical therapy program, students complete coursework in a flexible learning environment. The physical therapy coursework covers core topics and specialized training.

Arcadia University Facts:

Percentage of Learners Awarded Financial Aid: 99%

Percentage of Students Awarded Loans: 70%

Offers Transfer Credits: No

While completing the DPT program, students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to impress employers. Earning a specialization can make graduates more competitive for specialized positions. Online learners watch lectures and complete assignments at convenient times. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a regional accrediting body.

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#4

University of Michigan-Flint

School Information
Location Flint, Michigan
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 40%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Michigan-Flint educates students through 96 in-person and online programs. In the doctor of physical therapy program, online learners complete coursework in a flexible learning environment. Students receive specialized training and learn core physical therapy topics.

University of Michigan-Flint Information:

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,406/year in-state, $22,701/year out-of-state

Average Net Price With Aid: $12,153

Percentage of Learners Awarded Aid: 96%

Percentage of Students Receiving Loans: 49%

Students gain the knowledge and skills they need to secure roles in their field. Enrollees watch lectures and complete assignments at convenient times. Bachelor's degree-seekers can use elective credits to earn a minor. Students typically complete 120 credits in a bachelor’s program. The school has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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#5

Shenandoah University

School Information
Location Winchester, Virginia
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 60%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Shenandoah University is a private institution based in Winchester, Virginia. The online transitional doctor of physical therapy program allows students to take courses in a flexible learning environment. Program coursework teaches core physical therapy topics and specialized training.

Students use the college’s generous transfer policy to finish degrees faster. Nontraditional learners pay $31,890 in-state tuition for bachelor’s degrees. Online learners can finish a master’s degree in two years. Students pay $21,400 for in-state graduate tuition.

Bachelor's programs typically require about four years of study. The school may award credit for internships and service-learning experiences. Students can finish degrees faster by transferring credits. Shenandoah University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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