Physical therapy graduates of Western University of Health Sciences

(WesternU) who took the Physical Therapist Licensing Examination this past

year averaged a 92.9 percent passing rate for first-time takers, a full

five percent above the state average and eight percent above the national


The passing rate was reported in an annual summary from the exam board,

and included 56 first-time test takers from WesternU from July 1, 1998

through June 30, 1999. The state average passing rate for first-time

takers is 87.6 percent, a number which falls to 84.9 percent when computed

on a national level and 78.9 percent on an international level.

“”I think one of the reasons our students do so well on the board exam is

that our curriculum emphasizes patient problem solving,”” said Donna Redman-

Bentley, PhD, PT, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy Education at

WesternU. “”In our program students spend a lot of time learning how to

apply the classroom information in a real-world setting. Opportunities for

clinical practice are interspersed throughout their education, not kept

until the end, so they get a lot of hands-on practice.””

Topics on the licensing exam include assessment, evaluation, intervention,

interpretation, planning and patient problem solving. It is computerized

and can be taken at any time once a student has graduated from an

accredited physical therapy degree program.

WesternU offers a master’s in physical therapy (MPT), and awarded the

degree to 52 graduates last June. Students typically take the licensing

exam within a month of graduation, and are then licensed to practice

physical therapy in the state in which they pass the exam.

The MPT program at WesternU began in 1992. It is accredited by the

Commission on Accreditation on Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The

program is two years plus 16 weeks in length, and consists of classroom

and laboratory experience as well as hands-on work in a variety of

clinical settings. There is room for 54 new students to join the program

each year.

Prerequisite requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited

college or university, specific courses in the sciences, English and

psychology, 100 hours of work experience in a physical therapy setting and

Graduate Record Examination test results. New students begin classes each

January. For more information, contact the Office of Admissions at (909)