A new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program in the Baylor Graduate School is aimed at providing an innovative, career-focused education to develop skilled, empathetic care providers in a profession in which doctorate programs are struggling to keep pace with demand.
“In addition to our long-standing and highly ranked program with the U.S. Army, Baylor will now offer a civilian DPT program that is open to all applicants around the country,” said Dr. Larry Lyon, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.
Scheduled to launch in 2018, the program will be compressed into two calendar years to reduce the cost of DPT education as well as the overall duration, said Dr. John D. Childs, PT, MBA, FAPT., associate professor and director of Baylor’s DPT program.
The new DPT program has been in the works for several years and is part of Baylor’s strategic plan, Pro Futuris, calling for greater emphasis on health-related professional programs. The program will blend intensive, faculty-directed online and onsite learning activities and collaborative clinical experiences that will be available in a nationwide network of clinical education sites, with laboratory sessions in Dallas and orientation, student events and graduation at Baylor’s Waco campus.
The Department of Labor projects job growth for the physical therapy profession at 40 percent over the next 10 years. In current DPT programs, more than 425 qualified applicants vie for every 40 slots, and an additional 73,500 therapists will be needed by 2022. Some drivers of the increased demand in the physical therapy field are a rise in musculoskeletal problems in the United States, the aging of baby boomers and that physical therapists are cost-effective providers of healthcare.
Baylor’s charter class is scheduled to begin in January 2018 with an estimated 100 students, with graduation scheduled for December 2019.
The curriculum will consist of 66 weeks of didactic education and 31 weeks of clinical education, with a six-month internship to prepare graduates for entry-level practice and serve as a foundation for post-professional residency opportunities in several specialties within physical therapy practice.