Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy 

Program Resources

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

Earnings

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.

PROFESSIONAL REGISTRATION
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.

ACCREDITATION
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: http://www.capteonline.org

If needing to contact the program directly, please call Heather Hebron-Roybal at 909-558-0459 ex:83254, or email her at hhebron@llu.edu

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

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE
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.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

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.

Admissions

To be eligible for admission, the applicant must have:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.4
  • An earned Bachelor degree from a regionally accredited college/university plus completion of of our core prerequisites.  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 September 1 and our final deadline is November 1.  Due to the number of applicants, the potential for acceptance drops if you do not apply by September 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.

TRANSCRIPTS

  • 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.

TOEFL SCORE

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

 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

Communication:

  • 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.

Program of Instruction

PHYSICAL THERAPY--Entry-level doctor of Physical Therapy

The program of instruction outlined below:

YEAR ONE  
PHTH 506Exercise Physiology3
PHTH 508PT Communication and Documentation2
PHTH 509Physical Therapy Modalities 3
PHTH 510Kinesiology3
PHTH 513Therapeutic Procedures3
PHTH 514Manual Muscle Testing3
PHTH 519Locomotion Studies3
PHTH 521AOrthopedics IA3
PHTH 527Scientific Foundations for Therapeutic Exercise2
PHTH 528Therapeutic Exercise I2
PHTH 557Lifespan Studies: Infant-Adolescents3
PHTH 563, 564Scientific Inquiry I & II2,2
PHTH 571Physical Therapy Practicum I1
AHCJ 705Infectious Disease and the Health Provider1
AHCJ 510Human Gross Anatomy9
AHCJ 538Histology3
AHCJ 542, 543Pathology I, II4,3
AHCJ 560Physiology4
AHCJ 561Neuroscience I:  Neuroanatomy4
AHCJ 562Neuroscience II: Neurophysiology3
AHCJ 563Neuroscience III: Clinical Neurology2
AHCJ 721Wholeness Portfolio I1
RELT 709Christians Perspectives on Death and Dying2
RELF 718Adventist Heritage and Health2
   
YEAR TWO  
PHTH 501-503 Neurology I, II, III 2,3,3
PHTH 511Clinical Orthopaedics2
PHTH 512Clinical Psychiatry2
PHTH 517Movement Science2
PHTH 518Aspects of Health Promotion2
PHTH 521B-523Orthopedics IB, II, III3, 3, 3
PHTH 525General Medicine3
PHTH 526a, 525bCardiopulmonary I,II2,2
PHTH 530Therapeutic Exercise II3
PHTH 534Soft-Tissue Techniques2
PHTH 540 Concepts of Acute Care1
PHTH 555Differential Diagnosis2
PHTH 558Lifespan Studies II: Developmental Disabilities3
PHTH 559Lifespan Studies III: Geriatrics2
PHTH 561Physical Therapy Administration4
PHTH 575Orthopedics IV1
AHCJ 516Clinical Imaging3
AHCJ 524Pharmacology2
AHCJ 722Wholeness Portfolio II1
RELE 524Bioethics and Society3
RELF 740World Religions and Human Health3
YEAR THREE  
PHTH 567Pain Science2
PHTH 572PT Practicum II2
PHTH 701, 702, 703Affiliation I,II, III5,5,5
PHTH 731Advanced Orthopedics Studies3
PHTH 732Advanced Neurologic Studies3
PHTH 733Advanced General Medicine Studies3