A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Entry-Level Doctor (DPT)

Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy 

About the Profession

Physical therapists provide services to patients/clients who have impairments, disabilities, or changes in physical function and health status as a result of injury, disease, and other causes.  They restore and promote overall fitness and health.  Physical Therapy is often indicated for individuals with disabling conditions such as low back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy as well as for individuals needing services for disease and disablement prevention.

Physical therapists test and measure strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration and motor function; they use electrical stimulation, hot packs or cold compresses, and ultrasound to relieve pain and reduce swelling.  They may also use traction or deep tissue massage to relieve pain.  Therapists teach patients to use assistive and adaptive devices such as crutches, prostheses and wheelchairs.  Some therapists specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine and neurology.

Job outlook

Employment of physical therapists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2020 and beyond. The impact of proposed federal legislation imposing limits on reimbursement for therapy services may adversely affect the short-term job outlook for physical therapists. However, over the long run, the demand for physical therapists should continue to rise as growth in the number of individuals with disabilities or limited function spurs demand for therapy services.

The growing elderly population is particularly vulnerable to chronic and debilitating conditions that require therapeutic services. Also, the baby-boom generation is entering the prime age for heart attacks and strokes, increasing the demand for cardiac and physical rehabilitation. Further, young people will need physical therapy as technological advances save the lives of a larger proportion of newborns with severe birth defects.

Future medical developments also should permit a higher percentage of trauma victims to survive, creating additional demand for rehabilitative care. In addition, growth may result from advances in medical technology that could permit the treatment of more disabling conditions.

Widespread interest in health promotion also should increase demand for physical therapy services. A growing number of employers are using physical therapists to evaluate work sites, develop exercise programs, and teach safe work habits to employees in the hope of reducing injuries in the workplace.

More information from the Bureau of Labor on Physical Therapy


Average salary for new graduates is $70,000.
Average salary for DPT's in California through the year 2020 is projected at 89,370.

Salaries may vary depending on experience and area of specialization, location, and size of employer.

PHYSICAL THERAPY--Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy

About our program
Our entry-level doctor of physical therapy program (DPT) is designed for individuals who have no previous degree in physical therapy or who have an Associate degree in the field of physical therapy and wish to pursue a doctor of physical therapy degree and professional certification.

Admission to the University follows completion of the prerequisite earned at an accredited college or university. The emphasis in the program is on professional courses, ethics, and practical experience. Additional emphasis is placed on research and specialized clinical affiliations.

The program is three years in length. Loma Linda University utilizes a four quarter system yearly. School breaks are built into the program. This program begins in June once a year.

Our students and graduates are eligible for membership in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The objective of the association is to foster development and improvement of service and education. This organization grants student membership at a nominal cost. Our students are required to become members of this association while in the program and are encouraged to read the journal and attend the APTA-sponsored meetings.

Satisfactory completion of the degree requirements and clinical affiliation qualify the student to sit for all state registration examinations.

Information about the state registries of physical therapists can be obtained at the office of the department chair. All states require that a physical therapist pass the national qualifying examination for registration to practice. California application form and fee are submitted to the Physical Therapy Board of California, 1430 Howe Avenue, Sacramento, California 95852.

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Loma Linda University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; (703) 684-2782.  Email:  accreditation@apta.org   Website: www.capteonline.org

The most recent accreditation status was granted on May 2, 2012 and is in effect through June 30, 2022.

Supervised experience is obtained in a variety of settings and at five different times during the program. In the spring quarter of the first year, students complete one two-week practicum. In the summer quarter of the third year, students complete one four-week practicum.   During the third year of the program, students complete three 10-12 week affiliations.

All clinical assignments will be made by the academic coordinator of clinical education or a designate. Because of the limited number of local facilities available, assignments cannot be made on the basis of the student's family/marital status or personal preference. Although the department makes an effort to accommodate the student's preference, the student agrees to accept the clinical assignments made by the department at any of the affiliated facilities, whether local or out of state.

CPR Certification
Students are required to have current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification for all scheduled clinical experiences.


Upon completion of the program, the graduate should be qualified to:

      1.  Clinical Skills: Demonstrate entry-level knowledge and clinical skills appropriate for safe and effective physical therapy practice.

      2.  Multicultural Competence: Demonstrate compassion and respect during interactions with individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

      3.  Clinical reasoning: Demonstrate the ability to critically think and integrate evidenced- based practice into their clinical decision making skill set.

      4.  Professionalism: Demonstrate an awareness and application of the ethical and legal parameters surrounding the profession of physical therapy.

      5.  Collaborative Care: Demonstrate an understanding of evidenced-based clinical care utilizing collaborative relationships between the patient, physical therapist, and other health-care practitioners.

      6.  Communication: Demonstrate effective verbal and non-verbal communication with instructors, classmates, and clinical personnel as needed to work effectively as a member of the health care team.


To be eligible for admission, the applicant must have:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.3.
  • Completed a minimum of 138 quarter/92 semester units at a regionally accredited college or university. Students do not need to have an earned bachelor's degree prior to acceptance. Specific course requirements apply. See below.
  • International students must provide a TOEFL exam score of 550 or higher to be eligible.

The Department has three deadlines by which to submit your application through the PTCAS Service.
Our recommended deadline is October 1 and our final deadline is November 2.  Due to the number of applicants, the potential for acceptance significantly drops if you do not apply by October 1.

Your Secondary application must be submitted by December 30th to be considered for the DPT program.

The Admissions process is a selective process. Criteria used include: GPA, completion of subject requirements, interview, recommendations, and work experience.

Those applying to the Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program must apply through the PTCAS Service.


  • Applicants to the entry-level DPT program may be accepted based on the verified application received from PTCAS.
  • If the accepted applicant chooses to attend Loma Linda University, official transcripts must be received prior to the individual registering for the first term.
  • Official college transcripts must be requested to be sent to us directly from ANY and ALL colleges you have attended. If you have difficulty in having your institution send your transcript directly to us, please contact us.
  • Official transcripts MAY NOT be hand-delivered or sent in by the student but must be sent directly from previous educational institutions. Hand-carried or sealed transcripts that are sent along with other application materials are not considered official copies even if the seal is unbroken.
For international students who have studied outside the United States:
All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by one of these four evaluation centers and sent directly to us from the service you choose. Transcripts from other services are not accepted at Loma Linda University. This process may take several weeks to complete. Please apply as early as possible. SAHP applications cannot be considered without these evaluations.


A TOEFL score of 550 (213 if computer generated) is required for globally educated or international students who have taken credits outside the US.  Students who have scored below 550 will need to retest and meet the minimum score before they are eligible. 

Prerequisite Requirements

Note: Enrolling in a general education course at Loma Linda University will not guarantee acceptance into the program.

OPTION TWO: DPT-only track

This option is for individuals who have an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Graduates will receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Natural sciences:

  • Human anatomy & physiology with lab complete sequence
  • Statistics
  • Two additional Biological science courses
  • General Chemistry - complete sequence with lab
  • General Physics - complete sequence with lab
  • Medical Terminology

Social sciences:

  • General Psychology
  • Human Growth & Development


  • One course in oral communication skills

Observation experience: 80 observation/work hours are required, 20 hours must be in an inpatient setting and 20 hours must be in an outpatient setting.  The remaining 40 hours can be in any setting.

Loma Linda University currently offers the following courses through its General Education Portal: Anatomy & Physiology, 1 year sequence with lab (AHCJ 250 & AHCJ 251): Statistics (AHCJ 475); Biological Science (AHCJ 241 & AHCJ 242 - sequence counts towards 1 additional biological science course); Medical Terminology (HCLS 241); Intro to Psychology (PSYCH 101); Developmental Psychology (PSYC 226).

Note: Enrolling in a general education course at Loma Linda University will not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Important Information for California Preparatory College Students

Tuition Rates and Fees

  • Tuition Rates
  • Nonrefundable acceptance fee of $350 to confirm class seat. Fee is due after receiving your acceptance letter.

The tuition quotes do not include books and supply fees, lab fees, living or transportation expenses and are tuition costs for the full program listed. Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to pursue scholarships. Tuition rates are subject to increase annually. 

Program of Instruction

PHYSICAL THERAPY--Entry-level doctor of Physical Therapy

The program of instruction outlined below:

PHTH 506 Exercise Physiology 3
PHTH 508 PT Communication and Documentation 2
PHTH 509 Physical Therapy Modalities  3
PHTH 510 Kinesiology 3
PHTH 513 Therapeutic Procedures 3
PHTH 514 Manual Muscle Testing 3
PHTH 519 Locomotion Studies 3
PHTH 521A Orthopedics IA 3
PHTH 527 Scientific Foundations for Therapeutic Exercise 2
PHTH 528 Therapeutic Exercise I 2
PHTH 557 Lifespan Studies: Infant-Adolescents 3
PHTH 563, 564 Scientific Inquiry I & II 2,2
PHTH 571 Physical Therapy Practicum I 1
AHCJ 705 Infectious Disease and the Health Provider 1
AHCJ 510 Human Gross Anatomy 9
AHCJ 538 Histology 3
AHCJ 542, 543 Pathology I, II 4,3
AHCJ 560 Physiology 4
AHCJ 561 Neuroscience I:  Neuroanatomy 4
AHCJ 562 Neuroscience II: Neurophysiology 3
AHCJ 563 Neuroscience III: Clinical Neurology 2
AHCJ 721 Wholeness Portfolio I 1
RELT 709 Christians Perspectives on Death and Dying 2
RELF 718 Adventist Heritage and Health 2
PHTH 501-503  Neurology I, II, III  2,3,3
PHTH 511 Clinical Orthopaedics 2
PHTH 512 Clinical Psychiatry 2
PHTH 517 Movement Science 2
PHTH 518 Aspects of Health Promotion 2
PHTH 521B-523 Orthopedics IB, II, III 3, 3, 3
PHTH 525 General Medicine 3
PHTH 526 Cardiopulmonary 3
PHTH 530 Therapeutic Exercise II 3
PHTH 534 Soft-Tissue Techniques 2
PHTH 540  Concepts of Acute Care 1
PHTH 555 Differential Diagnosis 2
PHTH 558 Lifespan Studies II: Developmental Disabilities 3
PHTH 559 Lifespan Studies III: Geriatrics 2
PHTH 561 Physical Therapy Administration 4
PHTH 575 Orthopedics IV 1
AHCJ 516 Clinical Imaging 3
AHCJ 524 Pharmacology 2
AHCJ 722 Wholeness Portfolio II 1
RELE 524 Bioethics and Society 3
RELF 740 World Religions and Human Health 3
PHTH 567 Pain Science 2
PHTH 572 PT Practicum II 2
PHTH 701, A B PT Affiliation IA IB  4,1
PHTH 702, 703 Affiliation II, III 5, 5
PHTH 731 Advanced Orthopedics Studies 3
PHTH 732 Advanced Neurologic Studies 3
PHTH 733 Advanced General Medicine Studies 3

Contact us

Larry Chinnock, PT, EdD, MBA
Associate Chair/Program Director
Department of Physical Therapy
Loma Linda University
School of Allied Health Professions
NH Room 1810
Loma Linda CA 92350
Phone: (909) 558-4632, extension 47251
Email: lchinnock@llu.edu

Please contact Dr. Chinnock directly at the above phone number or email if you have questions about this program.