A Physical Therapist (PT) is a health care professional who provides direct patient care to persons who have disorders of movement, mechanical, physiological and developmental impairments and functional limitations, whether caused by injury or disease, to help them achieve maximum physical function and mobility.
Physical Therapists have the necessary training to meet the total range of patient care responsibilities involved in preventing disabilities and promoting restoration of function to the physically impaired, including musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary and integumentary disorders that interfere with physical function. Physical Therapists practice in hospitals and medical centers, rehabilitation centers, private practice clinics, home health settings, sports medicine facilities, colleges, universities and in various other settings. The broad options in Physical Therapy allow PTs to develop and pursue a focus of care in any specific population from children and athletes to senior citizens. Physical Therapists also work as educators, researchers, consultants and administrators.
Physical Therapy is a sought-after career with virtually unlimited opportunities. It is a profession that offers a lifetime of satisfaction while directly helping people move more efficiently and function more effectively.
The Department of Physical Therapy has provided quality physical therapy education for nearly 30-years with continuous accreditation. A friendly faculty that is clinically and academically strong teaches the curriculum leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. As its Mission, The Department of Physical Therapy is 1)dedicated to the education of physical therapists who provide the highest levels of professional care to diverse communities while maintaining a commitment to life-long learning, and 2)committed to service and the advancement of knowledge in the profession through research and scholarly activity.
The exciting and challenging DPT program is offered in an 8-semester (32 continuous months) format, a new class entering each Fall semester. The curriculum includes a variety of professional training/educational experiences to prepare students to enter PT practice. Students benefit from significant hands-on clinical practical labs and formal lectures/discussions led by faculty with experience in each clinical practice area, clinical problem solving activities, clinical research plus 33 weeks of full-time clinical internship supervised by licensed physical therapists. The clinical internships are available in over 200 affiliated general hospitals, rehabilitation centers and various specialty practices representing a wide variety of educational opportunities for the student. While clinical sites are spread across the United States, the majority are within the Southeastern region.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of South Alabama prepares graduates for professional practice and is designed as an entry-level, first PT degree. Throughout the program, students develop necessary communication skills in addition to professional and manual skills and techniques. Strong emphasis is placed on gaining clinical reasoning/problem solving skills and the ability to practice as an independent primary care provider in any employment setting. Graduates will also have the capability of assuming responsibilities in areas of administration, consultation and research in physical therapy.
The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of South Alabama is accredited by:
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to gain licensure. Applicants are hereby informed that a history of felony conviction or moral crime, use of drugs or intoxicating liquors which affects professional competence, or narcotic law conviction will prevent physical therapy licensure. See Alabama Board of Physical Therapy website.
The DPT Early Acceptance Program (DPTEAP) allows for some highly qualified high school seniors who meet the qualifications to gain early provisional acceptance to the graduate program prior to starting college. Details are described on the Early Acceptance Program of the Office of Admissions website. In addition, a link to the application for this program is also found on this webpage and the "Special Programs" section of the Office of Admissions Website. The application deadline for this program is December 15th of the senior year in high school.
It is highly recommended, and in most cases required, that applicants complete a bachelor's degree prior to starting the PT program.
Admissions rankings for both groups are determined using the same criteria. Acceptance will be based on the student's academic ability and aptitude for a career as a physical therapist including GPA emphasizing Science prerequisites, GRE score, and interview score.
Click here for details on the admissions process.
A number of courses are determined to be good preparation for certain components of the PT graduate program and therefore are recommended if they fit into the applicants preparation: Microbiology or Infectious Disease (one is required for Advanced Undergraduate applicants), Medical Terminology, Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Basic Motor Learning, upper level Anatomy, Neuroscience, Pathophysiology, Abnormal Psychology, Physiological Psychology, Developmental Psychology.
(This admission option will no longer be available after the December 2016 application deadline.)
Students who have completed 96 semester or 144 quarter hours of prescribed and elective course work and who meet all admission criteria and the terms specified below are eligible for application to the program. Thus, these students may be able to complete the DPT degree in 6 years from entry into college. Students planning to pursue this category of admission must be working toward a back-up major in a discipline of their choice by the Junior undergraduate year. This will insure that students who are not admitted to the graduate program or who elect not to apply will be able to complete a degree within a normal time period. Also, students who go on to complete a bachelors degree and who meet all admission criteria (GPA > 3.0) will be eligible to apply later as Regular Graduate applicants.
In addition to the minimum admission requirements listed above, advanced undergraduate applicants also must acknowledge an understanding of the following:
#10 Variety of clinical facilities
#9 Location - close to home
#8 Small class size
#7 Location - close to the beach!
#6 Friendly atmosphere
#5 Comfortable informative interview
#4 Saved money
#3 Early entry option
#2 Program reputation and space
#1 Personable and knowledgeable faculty
We have fun while learning in a quality program!
The Filing a Complaint or Comment document lists several ways you can submit a complaint or comment regarding the Physical Therapy Program at the University of South Alabama or the faculty, staff or students.
The Department of Physical Therapy promotes membership in the APTA, and annually participates in the APTA's Reach100 Challenge, always with 100% faculty membership, and often achieving 100% membership among students. In 2016, we achieved "Gold" status.
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