Jul 23, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, T.D.P.T.

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Program Coordinator

Michael A. Tevald, PT, PhD Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, Director of Post-Professional Programs

Kshamata Shah, PT, PhD Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, Director of Education for International Physical Therapists


About the Program

All post-professional D.P.T. courses are 2-credit, fully online courses with both synchronous and asynchronous components.

  • The program can be completed 1 to 3 years, or 1.5 to 3 years for internationally educated therapists.
  • Pricing schedule makes the program affordable and competitively priced.
  • Students can start any semester, and most courses can be taken in any sequence.
  • Course waivers, based on experience documented in a portfolio, are possible for up to 6 credits.
  • Students network and interact with nationally recognized faculty and peers.
  • Students can take two courses before formal application and matriculation.
  • Arcadia’s Physical Therapy program is ranked in the top 10% of programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

The profession and practice of physical therapy is rapidly changing. The demands imposed upon a physical therapist today are very different from those of even five or 10 years ago. These demands often go beyond the formal education provided in more traditional entry-level programs. Therapists increasingly are required to justify their practice patterns based on research evidence, to take on consulting and supervisory roles, and to provide administrative expertise and leadership.

Offered completely online, this program gives practicing clinicians easy access to make their formal education congruent with students graduating from entry-level D.P.T. programs. The program’s goal is to educate clinicians to achieve practice consistent with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Vision 2020 and beyond. Graduates will function with a high degree of professionalism and possess the requisite knowledge, skills and behaviors to practice physical therapy in a truly scientific manner (i.e., using evidence-based practice).

Graduates will demonstrate the ability to do the following:

  • Solve clinical problems using evidence.
  • Critically evaluate current literature and popular theories.
  • Function as an effective teacher at multiple levels—with patients, students, peers, and the public.
  • Lead others and advocate effectively (serve as a consultant or manager).
  • Enhance skills required to be a lifelong independent learner.

This is a program for practicing professionals who want to learn and interact with nationally recognized faculty and exceptional peers. The program is highly interactive and capitalizes on the wealth of knowledge clinicians bring with them.

Degree Requirements

The program consists of 18 credits (9 classes) for US-educated therapists and 22 credits (11 classes) for foreign-educated therapists. The curriculum emphasizes evidence-based practice and addresses core competencies to enrich the practice of physical therapy. Students with professional experience and/or coursework in certain areas may request waivers for up to 6 of these credits (3 courses, indicated in the course description below) by submitting a portfolio documenting their experience.  Detailed instructions are included in the acceptance packet.  Students submitting a portfolio will be charged a $200 portfolio review fee.

The program is entirely online.  Most courses include both synchronous (i.e., all students participate at a specific date and time) and asynchronous (i.e., on your own time) components.  Students are only required to take one course per semester, but many take two. Therefore, most students will take approximately two years to complete the program, although this may vary.

Students can start any semester.  Most courses can be taken in any order, with the following exceptions:

  • PT 505 Clinical Decision Making must be taken before the Clinical Practice Series course.  For individuals without a US license PT 505 must be taken first. 
  • PT 702 Case Analysis is designed as a capstone-like experience, and must be taken last.

Students must maintain a 2.7 cumulative grade point average to remain in good academic standing.  Failure to maintain this may lead to dismissal from the program.

The curriculum consists of Core Courses and the Clinical Practice Series. All courses are 2 credits.

Core Courses (all are required)

Additional courses required of foreign educated therapists

  • 2 credits Required course for which a waiver is possible (note the course waiver is not guaranteed).
  • 2 credits Required course for which a waiver is possible (note the course waiver is not guaranteed).

Clinical Practice Series (Choose one course)

The Clinical Practice Series courses emphasize recent advances in a particular specialty area of physical therapy practice. Students choose one course based upon their area of practice, although therapists with specialty certification or significant post-professional training in their area of practice may request a waiver via portfolio submission (see “Portfolio Review/Course Waiver” criteria below). The content in these courses reinforces and reflects principles taught in PT 505 Clinical Decision Making, which is a pre-requisite; however, emphasis is placed on specific recommendations for clinical management (i.e. content rather than process). Each course emphasizes a clinical reasoning process, use of appropriate tests and measures, use of appropriate interventions, and the most relevant outcome measures.

Students may take more than one of the Clinical Practice Series for additional tuition, which will be charged on a per-credit basis.

Elective Mini Courses

These brief, asynchronous courses provide an efficient means for students to address credentialing deficiencies on a variety of topic.  Please note that these course are separate from, and do not count towards, the DPT.  Each course is 0.5 credits, and students will be billed on a per credit basis.

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