Frequently Asked Questions
- Who are physical therapists and what do they do?Physical therapists are movement experts who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on manual therapy, and patient education.
Physical therapists teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.
- What is the job outlook for physical therapists?According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2016-2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. While demand for physical therapists varies by geographical region and area of practice, unemployment rates are low across the country. As the population continues to age, the demand for physical therapy services will grow and the need for physical therapists is expected to remain strong.
- What is the expected salary for a Physical Therapist?The median salary for a physical therapist was $86,850 in 2017. Salaries vary based on position, years of experience, degree of education, geographic location, and practice setting. (Source: “Best Jobs” – U.S. News and World Report)
- What is a “3 + 3” program?A “3+3” program is an accelerated academic track that enables students to complete their Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees in 6 years as opposed to the traditional 7 years. At LMU, students pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Rehabilitation Science during their first three years of study (Pre-professional phase), and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree during their final three years of study (Professional phase). The Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Rehabilitation Science is awarded following completion of year four (first year of graduate study), and the Doctoral degree is awarded following completion of the Physical Therapy program.
- What are the requirements for the different pathways of entry at LMU?
- Is there a certain major that I should pursue?For those who enter the program via Pathway #1 and complete all requirements, they will receive a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Rehabilitation Science from LMU upon successful completion of all undergraduate requirements and first year of the Professional Phase of the DPT program.
For those entering the program through Pathways #2 or #3, these students may complete their degree in any area of study as long as the minimum requirements needed to apply for admission to the Professional Phase are met.
- How often are students admitted to the DPT Program?Admission to the DPT Program occurs once per year.
- What are the licensure requirements for becoming a physical therapist?After graduation from an accredited physical therapy program, candidates must pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). Other requirements for physical therapy practice may be different from state to state due to varying physical therapy practice acts and/or state regulations that govern physical therapy.
- Will the program prepare graduates to specialize in different areas of practice?No. The LMU DPT program prepares graduates to practice as “generalists”, but students receive additional education in certain areas of practice through elective courses offered during the Fall of the final year of the program. Elective subjects will vary based on the availability of content experts to teach the material and will range from courses on McKenzie and Maitland techniques, Advanced Wound Care, Women’s Health practice, Chronic Pain management, Diagnostic Imaging, etc.
- How long is the DPT program at LMU?The program consists of 9 semesters and lasts approximately 3 years (36 months). The first year begins in May/June and the final year ends in mid-May. This includes didactic coursework and clinical education requirements.
- How much is tuition?Tuition costs have not yet been finalized and approved at the institutional level but are expected to be competitive with other DPT programs at private schools in the area.
- Is financial aid available for the program?
- What prerequisites are required to enter the program?Please refer to prerequisite courses.
- Is the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) required for admission?No. The GRE is a multiple choice, computer-based, standardized exam that is often required for admission to graduate programs or business schools. It tests analytical writing, quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning and is usually taken at the financial expense of the applicant. It has been shown to be weakly correlated to first-time success on the national PT exam (NPTE) and is not required for admissions into the DPT program at LMU regardless of admissions pathway.
- Are volunteer/observation hours or work experience required for admission?Volunteer, observation, or work experience in a Physical Therapy setting, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist is required. The minimum number of hours required is 60 hours. A variety of types of clinical settings (for example: inpatient hospital settings, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation facilities, and outpatient clinics) is recommended so that the applicant will have a well-rounded view of the physical therapy profession.
- If a prerequisite course was taken more than once, are the grades averaged?No, only the highest grade will be included in the calculation of the GPA.
- Do observation hours from a PTA program count towards the requirement?Yes. The purpose of the clinical observation hour requirement is to ensure that students are exposed to a variety of practice settings to ensure that they are fully aware of the role and responsibilities of a Physical Therapist. Because these hours were completed under the supervision of a licensed professional, they will count towards the requirement.
- What is involved in the accreditation process?
The program is submitting the application for candidacy December 1, 2020. It will then have a virtual site visit conducted in late January 2021. The application for candidacy and site visit report will be reviewed during the spring CAPTE meeting to be held April 23-27, 2021 with a notification of decision with respect to Candidacy soon thereafter.
A full accreditation decision will be made during the CAPTE spring meeting in 2024 after review of a self-study report completed by the program and another on-site visit.
In April 2020, the US Department of Education stated that the first cohort of students graduating from a program with Candidacy status is considered to have graduated from an accredited program and will be eligible to sit for the NPTE board exam regardless of the full accreditation decision.