The straight facts about a Doctor of Physical Therapy
There are many discussions on message boards regarding which degree is best for physical therapy professionals. But after 2016, those discussions are completely moot. According to Dr. Christopher Wise, Alvernia’s DPT program director, “A bachelor’s in PT is no longer offered and after 2016, DPT will be the only path to becoming a physical therapist. So anyone considering a career in PT must go this path, there really is no other choice after 2016.
“Given this fact, the decision for students isn’t really over what degree to get in PT but rather whether physical therapy is the career that they’d like to pursue. I would therefore, approach this conversation more from the standpoint of why anyone would want to pursue PT vs why they would choose a particular degree within PT.”
The DPT breakdown
1. With the advent of the DPT, the following courses have been included in curricula: diagnostic imaging, pharmacology, clinical decision-making, diagnostics and medical screening.
2. The degree is really a “degree correction.” For years, master’s-trained PTs were earning enough credits for a doctoral degree. The DPT is the correct degree given the number of required credits.
3. The DPT is the most appropriate degree given professional initiatives which is moving DPT to more autonomous practice and direct access (PTs can see patients without a prescription), and due to a movement which is attempting to establish PTs as the “practitioner of choice” for certain conditions.
Alvernia’s DPT program at a glance
- Graduate program (4+3 year program) first cohort starts Fall 2015
- Undergraduate program (3+3 year program) starting Fall 2015
- Choice of electives allowing for specialty-practice learning experiences
- Comprehensive examination, which prepares students for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)
- Early and frequent clinical education immersion, which begins in the first semester of the program
- Performance-based physical therapy education, which focuses on the practical application of knowledge and the development of clinical skills
- Opportunities for multi-disciplinary educational experiences with students from OT, nursing, behavioral health, athletic training, medical imaging, and healthcare science, among others
- Active community engagement and service through various initiatives in the nearby city of Reading
Our DPT program is easily accessible to professionals and students from Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, Kutztown, Philadelphia and regions along the East Coast. On-campus housing is available for DPT students.