There are advantages and disadvantages to obtaining a degree from an online physical therapy school.
The major advantage of getting a degree online is convenience. Getting a physical therapy degree online allows you to get a degree if you do not live close to a physical therapy school. Most online schooling is flexible, allowing you to complete your coursework at your own pace as long as you meet the deadlines. You can also go part-time in most online programs, which parents and those who work a full-time job will find helpful. Online programs will also help place you in a clinical internship when that time comes.
There are some disadvantages to obtaining a physical therapy degree online. As with obtaining any online degree, you do not have face-to-face interaction with your instructors and fellow students. Important social interactions are lost, and as a physical therapist, you will have to be able to interact with all kinds of people almost every day. You also have to be extremely disciplined to make sure you meet deadlines because you are not required to show up to class at a certain time. If you are going part-time, it will take you longer to earn your degree. You also will not have the opportunity to participate in extra hands-on learning that may be offered earlier in a traditional physical therapy school. You will likely be limited to medical facilities in your area for internships, which may not allow you the opportunity to pursue some specialty fields.
Many people think that online school is cheaper than traditional school. While you will not be paying for transportation or living on campus, a quality online physical therapy school is going to cost about the same as a traditional school. But you will likely be able to take as many or as few courses at a time online, which may be cheaper for you in the short term.
You may also have to do a little more investigation to determine if the online physical therapy schools you are interested in are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). School accreditation is important if you will need financial aid to go to school or if you want to pursue a physical therapy degree beyond a master’s. Also, future employers are still not completely convinced that obtaining an online degree means you are as qualified as someone who sat in a classroom.