Exploring the Curriculum of an Online Physical Therapy Degree: What to Expect

Are you considering pursuing a career in physical therapy? With the increasing demand for healthcare professionals, it’s no surprise that many individuals are looking to enter this rewarding field. Fortunately, obtaining a physical therapy degree has become more accessible with the rise of online education. In this article, we will explore the curriculum of an online physical therapy degree and provide you with insights on what to expect during your studies.

Introduction to Physical Therapy

Before diving into the specifics of an online physical therapy degree program, let’s first understand the fundamental aspects of this profession. Physical therapy is a healthcare discipline focused on helping individuals recover from injuries or manage chronic conditions that affect their ability to move and function effectively. As a physical therapist, you will work closely with patients to develop personalized treatment plans aimed at improving their mobility, reducing pain, and enhancing overall quality of life.

Core Courses in an Online Physical Therapy Degree Program

Anatomy and Physiology: A strong foundation in anatomy and physiology is crucial for any aspiring physical therapist. This course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the human body’s structure and function, including muscles, bones, nerves, and organs. You’ll learn about various systems such as the musculoskeletal system and how they interact to support movement.

Kinesiology: Kinesiology is the study of human movement. In this course, you’ll delve into biomechanics and learn about how different movements impact the body. You’ll explore topics such as joint mechanics, muscle contraction types, and principles of movement analysis.

Pathology: Understanding common conditions that lead individuals to seek physical therapy is essential for effective treatment planning. Pathology courses will introduce you to various diseases and injuries that affect mobility. You’ll learn about their causes, symptoms, progression patterns, and potential treatment options.

Exercise Physiology: As a physical therapist, you’ll often prescribe exercise as part of your patients’ treatment plans. This course will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how the body responds and adapts to exercise. You’ll learn about cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and principles of exercise prescription.

Specialized Courses in an Online Physical Therapy Degree Program

Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation: This course focuses on the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. You’ll learn about assessment techniques, therapeutic exercises, manual therapy techniques, and modalities commonly used in musculoskeletal rehabilitation.

Neurological Rehabilitation: Neurological conditions such as strokes, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries can significantly impact an individual’s ability to move. In this course, you’ll explore techniques for assessing neurological impairments and developing treatment plans aimed at improving motor function.

Pediatric Physical Therapy: Children have unique needs when it comes to physical therapy. This course will cover the assessment and treatment of pediatric conditions such as developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and genetic disorders affecting movement.

Geriatric Rehabilitation: With the aging population, there is a growing need for physical therapists specializing in geriatric care. This course will equip you with the knowledge to address age-related mobility issues, chronic conditions prevalent among older adults, and strategies for promoting healthy aging.

Clinical Education Requirements

While online physical therapy degree programs offer flexibility in terms of coursework completion, they typically require students to complete hands-on clinical education experiences at approved healthcare facilities. These clinical rotations provide invaluable practical experience under the guidance of experienced physical therapists.

During your clinical education experiences, you’ll have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge gained from coursework in real-world settings. You’ll work directly with patients under supervision to develop assessment skills, treatment planning abilities, and effective communication techniques.

It’s important to note that each online physical therapy degree program may have specific requirements regarding the number of clinical hours needed for graduation. Be sure to research and understand these requirements before enrolling in a program.


Pursuing an online physical therapy degree can be a rewarding journey that opens doors to a fulfilling career in healthcare. By understanding the curriculum of such programs, you can better prepare yourself for the coursework and clinical experiences that lie ahead. Remember, while online education provides flexibility, it’s crucial to find a reputable program that meets accreditation standards and offers comprehensive clinical education opportunities.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.