Baylor’s Graduate School Will Launch Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in 2018
Goal is to develop professionals in a field struggling to meet demand
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Contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321
WACO, Texas (April 10, 2017) — Baylor University's Graduate School is launching a new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program 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.
Projected job growth for the physical therapy profession is 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, according to the Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.
"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 Larry Lyon, Ph.D., vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.
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.
"We will integrate the most innovative technology, blended learning methods and structured clinical education into an accelerated, two-year curriculum, compared to three years in other DPT programs," said Denny Kramer, Ph.D., associate dean of the Graduate School.
The three-year academic program, compressed into two calendar years, will reduce the cost of DPT education as well as the overall duration, said John D. Childs, PT, PhD., MBA., FAPTA., associate professor and director of Baylor's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.
"Students can live anywhere in the country as long as they can commute to Dallas for the onsite lab intensives," Childs said.
The model will address many of the challenges facing PT education today, such as the lack of qualified faculty, difficulty in scaling programs given "brick and mortar" facility constraints, demand and competition for quality clinical education sites, inability to meet the education and healthcare needs of rural communities and the unsustainable cost of PT education, Kramer said.
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 the fact that physical therapists are cost-effective providers of health care, according to the Department of Labor.
As the demand for DPTs grows, so does the need for more time in the clinic — "guide on the side" — and less "sage on the stage," or isolated didactics, according to a Graduate School summary of the profession's future.
"The new Doctor of Physical Therapy will be a great addition to graduate education at Baylor in many ways," said Rodney Bowden, Ph.D., interim dean and professor of Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. "It will bring new and innovative approaches that enable more access to those wishing to enter the profession, help meet the demand for therapists and just as importantly, it has the potential to transform the discipline with innovative approaches to clinical education."
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.
To learn more about the program, visit Doctor of Physical Therapy or e-mail DPTAdmissions@baylor.edu. Baylor University is seeking Candidate for Accreditation status from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.