Healthcare Insider Blog

The straight facts about a Doctor of Physical Therapy

  • Healthcare Alvernia

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.

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

3 responses to “The straight facts about a Doctor of Physical Therapy”

  1. Emmanuela Victor says:

    hello i am now a junior majoring in behavioral health at Philadelphia campus, i just want to know if DPT program will also be available in Philadelphia campus.
    i just want to know how is work and what will be the process for someone who already have a bachelor degree.

    • Healthcare Alvernia says:

      Currently, Alvernia University is seeking accreditation for the DPT program.The first cohort for the DPT program is scheduled to start in Fall 2015 and the application deadline for that will be Feb 15, 2015.

      The DPT program will be offered at the main campus in Reading, PA. Prospective students with an earned bachelor¹s degree from Alvernia or another four-year accredited institution are welcome to apply. Upon admission, students will be required to complete an
      additional three years of coursework in order to achieve their Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

      If you need more information, please visit or call 1.888.ALVERNIA ext. 6.

  2. Jason Taylor says:

    Will Alvernia being offering a Freshman Admission track into the program?
    Also, does the academic scholarship last the entire 6 (or7) years?

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