The Department of Physical Therapy offers a graduate degree in physical therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy. One of the three graduate programs in the College of Health Professions, the program admits 40 students per year into a cohort based program. The DPT is a 9 semester, 3-year, full-time graduate program.
Physical Therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical and scientific base and widespread clinical application in the restoration, maintenance and promotion of optimal physical performance.
For more than 750,000 people every day in the United States, physical therapists:
- Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.
- Restore, maintain and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.
- Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.
Physical therapists are essential participants in the health care delivery system. They assume leadership roles in rehabilitation, in prevention, health maintenance, and in programs that promote health, wellness, and fitness in professional organizations and the community. Physical therapists also play important roles both in developing standards for physical therapist practice and in developing health care policy to ensure availability, accessibility and optimal delivery of physical therapy services (Rothstein, 2001).
Social and economic trends point towards people with and without physical disability living longer as well as a growing population of uninsured individuals. In addition, the baby boom generation is entering the prime age of age-related conditions – heart attack, stroke, and musculoskeletal injury. Future medical developments will also permit higher survival rates for trauma cases resulting in the increased need for rehabilitation. Health promotion, another major area of expertise for physical therapists, has potential to diminish risk factors for certain pathologies and thereby promote a healthier population in any one community. Physical therapists, at a lesser cost than the traditional medical management, can provide services to these groups of individuals that can restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities. The need for physical therapists will always be present. The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Physical Therapists as one of the fastest growing occupations, 2016-2026. These data project a 28% growth rate.