DMU expands opportunities in postgraduate physical therapy studies

Shane McClinton, center, instructs a student working with a patient to improve shoulder function.
Shane McClinton, center, instructs a student working with a patient to improve shoulder function.

The physical therapy profession has faced change beyond health care reform and evolving patient demographics. The profession’s terminal degree used to be a master’s of science; however, the vision of the American Physical Therapy Association states that by the year 2020, physical therapy should be provided by doctors in the field.

“We’re coming to the time we have to decide the direction for our profession,” says Traci Bush, D.P.T., M.S.P.T.’95, OTR/L, D.H.S., chair and director of DMU’s physical therapy program.

The University’s physical therapy department has expanded its postgraduate options to working physical therapists, regardless of where they are in their careers, to ensure lifelong learning and continued competence in evidence-based practice.

“The physical therapists who are practicing with a master’s degree may want to obtain their doctorate,” Bush says. “Others may need additional courses to gain licensure in a different state or, if they’re foreign-trained, in the U.S. And many want to expand their knowledge base to advance in their practice or organization.

“We have something to offer, including through online learning, whether they want to take a couple of courses or pursue an advanced degree,” she adds.

Options in postgraduate studies including the following:

  • Individuals with a master’s or bachelor’s degree in physical therapy may advance their degree in DMU’s post-professional doctor of physical therapy (PPDPT) degree program. 
  • Individuals also may take courses in the PPDPT program as professional development (non-degree) students. Those who later decide to apply for and who are accepted into the degree program may apply up to six credit hours completed in a non-degree status.
  • DMU offers self-study modules designed for physical therapists, in a non-degree status, to enhance current practice or demonstrate initial or continuing competence for licensure.
  • The PT department also offers educational content that may be applicable toward physical therapist licensure requirements pending individual state review and approval.

Learn more about physical therapy, post-professional D.P.T. or CME.

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