The physical therapy education program at Western University of Health
Sciences is changing its current Master of Physical Therapy degree to the
Therapy (DPT). Applications are being accepted until February 1 for
the August 2003 start date for the three-year program.
The university received approval to make the transition from the Western
Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the regional accrediting
agency, earlier this month.
“”The role of the physical therapist is expanding and beginning to include
primary care, “” said Donna Redman-Bentley, PhD, PT, chair of the
university’s Department of Physical Therapy Education. “”As such, physical
therapists will be expected to perform medical screening, have a stronger
knowledge base of the medical and clinical sciences, and be able to
perform higher level problem-solving and clinical decision making.””
Until relatively recently, most of the 203 accredited PT programs in the
country awarded either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. But the profession
is moving to the DPT degree as the “”entry-level”” degree into the
profession, Dr. Redman-Bentley said. Creighton University was the first to
award the DPT degree in 1996 and, according to the American Physical
Therapy Association, as of July 2002, 59 of the 203 accredited entry-level
programs have moved to the doctoral level, with 60 more in some phase of
planning to transition to the DPT.
The program will increase from two-years, four-months, to three years in
length. In addition, curriculum changes include: