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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the PPDPT program accredited?

A common question we receive is if our program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). It is important for prospective students to understand that CAPTE does not currently have an accreditation process for transitional D.P.T. programs. To determine if a program is “good”, look to the university as a whole and its entry-level program. According to the APTA, “In most cases, quality is assured by virtue of the fact that rigorous standards are applied by regional accrediting agencies to the higher education institutions and by CAPTE to the professional programs, which offer the transition D.P.T programs.” Des Moines University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Our entry-level D.P.T. program holds full CAPTE accreditation and our next site visit is in 2016. In addition, in April 2010, the PPDPT program underwent a peer-review process. By inviting a physical therapy colleague and educator from another institution to campus, we were given constructive feedback on our curriculum, faculty, processes and program in general.

What are the requirements for students applying to the PPDPT program?

Applicants must be a U.S. licensed physical therapist and must have graduated from an accredited physical therapy program. There are no specific course prerequisites. Applicants must also satisfy all admission requirements.

Do I need to have a master’s degree in physical therapy to be eligible for the program?

No. We accept licensed physical therapists with bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees.

How much physical therapy experience is required?

Six months of employment as a physical therapist in the U.S. is recommended prior to entering the program. Recent graduates with an M.S. degree who begin employment immediately may begin working on their D.P.T. right away.

Do students have to come to campus for classes?

No. The manual therapy course (required for non-DMU alumni only) combines online and hands-on components. Students will complete the online component through DMU’s PPDPT 1609 course. There are several ways for students to meet the hands-on component: (1) documentation of certification in a manual therapy area; (2) 16 continuing education units in a manual therapy area within the last three years; (3) attendance at the DMU on-campus manual therapy lab (one weekend in length). All other courses are completely online. Learn more about taking classes online.

Is this a self-paced/independent study program?

No. Each course has a specific start and stop date, as well as specific due dates for assignments.

Is financial aid available to students enrolling in the PPDPT program?

Yes, for students who are registered for at least five credit hours within a trimester. Visit the DMU financial aid website for more information.

What are the computer requirements for the PPDPT program?

What about continuing education credits?

According to rules adopted by the Iowa Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy Examiners, and effective January 3, 2001, one academic semester hour equals 15 continuing education credits. The licensee may obtain continuing education hours of credit by providing official transcripts to the Board indicating successful completion of academic courses which apply to the field of physical therapy. Physical therapists licensed in a state other than Iowa and required to complete continuing education for licensure, will need to check their state’s physical therapy licensure law and rules concerning continuing education credit for academic courses.

Individuals may enroll in PPDPT courses for the purpose of professional development and receive academic credit without pursuing the DPT degree. Students will need to complete the university’s application process and be approved for registration. An orientation tutorial is required for all students prior to registering for any PPDPT coursework.

The Department of Physical Therapy also coordinates with the DMU Office for Continuing Medical Education to sponsor programs related to physical therapy as continuing education opportunities. These activities do not require an application for admission to the university and are not eligible for academic credit.