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Online Post-Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Gain advanced critical thinking and skills to become a DPT and fulfill Vision 2020 and the Vision Statement for the Physical Therapy Profession and Guiding Principles to Achieve the Vision

The profession of Physical Therapy has evolved over many years. The most substantial changes for the Physical Therapist have to do with the extent to which they must prepare to function effectively in a vital healthcare role. To that end, today's practitioner must also be prepared to act as consultant, educator, administrator, and clinical scholar, which requires advanced skills in critical thinking in addition to the traditional entry-level preparation of the past.

In addition to becoming a better physical therapist practitioner, there's another reason to earn the title of Doctor of Physical Therapy: As of 2014, all new US trained PTs graduate with their entry-level DPT degree. This was a part of Vision 2020 , a directive from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for all physical therapy to be provided by Doctors of Physical Therapy by the year 2020 and continues with the new vision and guiding principles. New PTs are entering the workforce with potentially higher degrees, current knowledge and skill sets, than more experienced PTs. Fortunately, Utica College provides a convenient way for licensed PTs to transition to the next level.

Licensed Physical Therapists now have the opportunity to earn a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Utica College through this innovative online program. DPT courses are all taught by qualified and experienced clinicians and are taken online in addition to one campus residency. Students will also complete a physical therapy practicum course under the guidance of the faculty. This graduate capstone course will allow you to focus evidence-based training in an area of physical therapy that aligns with your professional interests and career goals. The result? Graduates who are better prepared to become leaders in physical therapy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for physical therapists was $81,030 in 2013, with the top 10% of physical therapists earning an average of $113,340 per year. Doctors of Physical Therapy are typically among the top wage earners in the field. Earning your DPT degree online from Utica College can help you take your physical therapy career (and your earnings) to the next level.

Learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy career outlook.

About the transitional DPT Program

Our online Post-Professional (transitional) Doctor of Physical Therapy program is designed to accommodate your demanding work and home-life schedules by giving you the flexibility to access the finest curriculum available wherever you are in the world.

Designed specifically for licensed physical therapy professionals with BS/MS degree credentials, the online tDPT curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • ::  Foundations of Autonomous Practice
  • ::  Prevention and Wellness
  • ::  Diagnostic Imaging
  • ::  Pharmacology and Pathophysiology
  • ::  Global Health Care Issues

The tDPT reflects the culmination of a comprehensive program and the fulfillment of the highest standards of clinical performance in professional practice, and prepares you to thrive as an autonomous practitioner in an evolving society and direct-access healthcare environment. Our curriculum is designed to augment your current knowledge, gained through a traditional entry-level physical therapy education (prior to the advent of doctoral-level preparation), with content that is now included in entry-level preparation. It builds on the skills, knowledge, and experience of practicing clinicians and entitles graduates to the title of Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

After successfully completing each online tDPT course, students may be eligible to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Graduates of Utica's transitional DPT program will be able to demonstrate the skills necessary to become leaders in the field of physical therapy. Building on the library of knowledge acquired during undergraduate PT studies and clinical practice, graduates of the ppDPT program will be able to:

  • ::  Develop hypotheses to guide clinical decisions for patients
  • ::  Analyze results of diagnostic testing as part of patient examination
  • ::  Apply principles of risk management to physical therapy practice
  • ::  Describe the clinical impact of PT imaging technologies
  • ::  Revise physical therapy strategies and procedural interventions based on results of diagnostic imaging, response to treatment/medication or changes in histology or pathology

Learn more about the online Doctor of Physical Therapy learning objectives

Tools, Tips and Other Resources

Here are a few interesting tools, valuable tips and other resources in articles, industry links, and press releases to increase your Physical Therapy industry knowledge and assist you as you pursue your ppDPT education goals.


Click here for APTA President Video Transcript

My name's Scott Ward. I'm a physical therapist, have been for over 30 years and currently I'm serving as the President of the American Physical Therapy Association. As I think about post-professional doctoral physical therapy education, part of the experience is really getting to know where you're learning, understanding how you're going to be taught and really developing some sense of learning community. The interesting thing I think about Utica's particular program is that they developed this residency opportunity to bring in those members of the new class. To get together to meet each other to know who they'll be learning with over the next few years. And also most importantly to get an idea and a connection with what Utica College is all about. Meeting faculty, those who'll be teaching them, those they'll be learning with.

The residency opportunity provides them a bonding opportunity and an experience that learning really is a community endeavor and not just an individual one. What I do know most about Utica College is the great preparation they do at their entry level professional training. The opportunity students have at Utica has been stellar ever since they started the program in 1996. The addition of this post-professional doctoral opportunity for physical therapists who are currently practicing, if it's anything like their entry level program they're in great shape and those students will be well prepared with that doctoral degrees to continue to enhance this great profession.

Click here for Student Stories Video Transcript

Heather Signoretti: I'm a physical therapist, I've been working approximately 14 years. What I like about the program the most is the flexibility that we have with our time management. You know, I have a very very busy schedule - I'm a mother of a small boy, I work part-time, and you know also participating in the Utica program, it just kind of fits into my life.

Myra Choi: So I've been a physical therapist for ten years, practicing in the Bronx and an Acute Care Teaching hospital. So I did my volunteer work and it was with a group of patients who had amputations, and it was an amazing experience. It was getting to see them from like disbelief to final acceptance, and then moving on with their lives. We had one visitor come in for one of our group sessions, and he walked in, sat down, rolled up his pant-legs, and took off both of his legs. And the look on the patients' faces was amazing. So I decided to pursue PT at that moment.

Tajudeen Isola-Gbemla: I spoke to one of my friends who had just graduated from Utica College in July of 2011 last year, and everything he told me was very encouraging, so I picked up the phone and called Utica College. I tried to put it off for a while, and I just decided it's time to do it.

Heather Signoretti: When I first heard about the residency, and was told that we were going to have to travel a very long distance to go to the residency, I was kind of concerned. But after getting there, meeting our instructors, meeting the fellow students and really learning how to use the online program, it was very worthwhile.

Myra Choi: The residency program has been great. Everyone has been really nice, and it's awesome because everyone is excited about being in the program. They are also really good at trying to make everyone feel comfortable, and getting used to the system that they use, the Angel Learning Program.

Czeahreena Videz: I've been a physical therapist since 2003, I started as a volunteer physical therapist in the Philippines. Residency is really cool, there are so many amazing people around. They are very well experienced and some of them are seasoned physical therapists, and I think I'm going to learn a lot from them. A lot from their experiences, from their past experiences, from their different professions, from their different skilled nursing or from their different facilities. So, it's going to be an amazing, amazing program.

Click here for tDPT Director Video Transcript

Denise McVay: I am a board certified geriatric physical therapist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and I also have a background in sports medicine.

Shauna Malta: I have been practicing physical therapy many years. My first job was in the early 1980s and I primarily worked in a rehab facility at a local community hospital.

Denise McVay: I actually have taught most of the courses in the program. I currently teach the first course which is the foundations course, and I also am instrumental in teaching the capstone course which is the final course in the program. It includes many of the different options that students can take such as geriatrics, pediatrics, and advanced Pharmacology.

Shauna Malta: A lot of the students choose to come back for the post-professional program because it's a personal achievement and personal goal. Many see the need to improve their practice and really, with healthcare cost changing over the years and in the future, we're not sure what healthcare's going to look like. They want to be the most informed practitioner and the choice practitioner for patients to come to for managing their care.

Coming from a background in adult education, I understand the importance of students as adult learners getting to know each other. And the residency where they're face to face and in person and meeting each other and their faculty gives them a really nice opportunity to make that social connection. It puts them in a really good place to begin to work on an online discussion board from that point on.

Denise McVay: It's a great way for students to not only come and learn the different management systems that we have for the online program but also to network with one another, make great connections with faculty and staff, and to just get that real solid base to come into the program so that they can transition and take right through to the end of the program. Really, it's a positive benefit for students.

As a faculty member in the entry level program I had the opportunity to actually get an IDPT degree and what better place to get it than where I'm working? It's allowed me to see the program as it was when I finished in 2007 and then to kind of modify the program to the changing needs of the climate of physical therapy. It's been a great opportunity to do that and kind of see it go through to fruition.

Shauna Malta: I think our program has phenomenal faculty members who are so dedicated to not only the profession but the premise of an online program. We have very high expectations and very high standards for our profession and we have all been on board for a number of years seeing this profession move forward. The real focus of this is to tap into the adult learner and their strengths as adult learners, but more importantly to allow them to immediately apply the education information their learning to clinical practice. That's the beauty of this program.

If you would like more information about the online Post-Professional/transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, Request More Information or call us at 315.732.2640 or toll-free at 866.295.3106. An admissions representative will answer any questions you might have about why Utica College is the right choice for your ppDPT education.