Western Michigan University’s (WMU) new Doctor of Physical Therapy program has gained status as a candidate for accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, the university reports.
The program, which debuted in June, is designed to be completed in 30 months.
“Most DPT programs around the country take 3 to 3 1/2 years to complete. We condensed our program to 2 1/2 years by eliminating breaks, which many graduate students do not favor, and maximizing efficiencies,” says Dr. Stacie Fruth, the Department of Physical Therapy’s founding chair.
Its philosophy emphasizes introducing students to “real people with real physical challenges” as early and frequently as possible.
“We took a hard look at what many long-standing programs have been doing just because that’s the way things have always been done, and we took a few risks,” Fruth says. “We looked at what efficiencies we could capture and what would make us most responsive to the changing times. We were intent on ensuring every component we included would contribute to our students’ success, because that’s the main goal.”
The program is open to students who have earned a bachelor’s degree and completed all prerequisite courses. While hundreds of students will apply to the program each year, only 30 are accepted. Those students will go on to complete 110 credit hours of WMU graduate coursework.
Hands-on experiences with a diverse population of patients start in year one of the curriculum, when students engage in some 30 faculty-supervised hours in a variety of clinical settings. They also participate in two full-time 10-week clinical rotations during their second year and a full-time 12-week clinical rotation their final year, WMU continues, in its news article.
Regional employers as well as campus health and human services units are delighted WMU is offering a doctorate in the discipline, Fruth shares.
“One of the most consistent messages I’ve heard from clinic owners, hospital administrators and rehabilitation administrators throughout Kalamazoo and southwest Michigan is that they have a hard time attracting qualified and eager PT job applicants to the area,” Fruth comments.
“Once our first cohort graduates in 2021, we can help our clinical partners fill these positions with excellent clinicians who wish to stay in the area. That’s one of the reasons why everyone is so excited for us to be here.”
For more information about its Doctor of Physical Therapy program, visit Western Michigan University.
[Source: WMU News]