Physical therapy is a health profession involved in the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of limited physical activity and injury. The practice is based in movement sciences. Physical therapists aid patients from pediatrics to geriatrics in the best methods of restoring an optimum quality of life. Physical therapists practice in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes, school systems, pediatric clinics, burn centers, wellness facilities, outpatient centers, and in private practice.
USAHS offers an alternative path to the DPT degree through the Flex DPT program. This program combines online education and weekend labs on campus in an entry-level DPT program designed for the student who is unable to attend classes on campus during the week per the residential schedule. By substituting asynchronous online education for most standard classroom participation and holding weekend labs on campus, an individual can earn a DPT degree in 12 trimesters (four years).
The Flex model represents an expansion of the entry-level DPT campus-based program currently in place at the USAHS. The campus-based and flex paths share a common mission and curriculum while the delivery format, length of program, and number of credits per term differs. The Flex program prerequisites, admission requirements, academic calendar, and policies are the same as the campus-based program.
Students in both the Resident and Flex programs complete three full-time clinical experiences in the second half of the program. This portion of the curriculum will require full-time attendance by the Flex DPT student at a designated clinical site, which may require students to temporarily relocate to fulfill clinical requirements.
There are two cohort groups of students admitted per year, in St. Augustine, Florida, and San Marcos, California, starting in September and January and in Austin, Texas, starting in May and September, with a maximum of 30 students per group and a minimum of eight students in all cohorts. If the number of Flex cohort students drops below eight, the University reserves the right to delay the start of the cohort by one trimester to combine with the following group.
The mission of the University’s DPT program is to graduate proficient and caring physical therapists who are prepared to work collaboratively in interprofessional settings to guide the patient/client to achieve optimal movement.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Flex DPT program, graduates will demonstrate the ability to
- engage in personal and professional development and lifelong learning activities;
- practice physical therapy in a manner that supports cooperative relationships with patients/clients, other healthcare providers, and the community;
- perform critical thinking and evidence-informed physical therapist practice based on foundational knowledge and professional clinical skills;
- implement effective communication and principles of ethical and professional behavior in physical therapist practice; and
- display qualities of leadership in physical therapist practice to advance the profession of physical therapy and the well-being of society.
See Admissions, Records, and Registration for prerequisites and application information.
Delivery of Coursework
The Flexible DPT program is 131 credits and is offered over 12 trimesters. More than 50% of the coursework is delivered to the student online through a web-based learning management system that includes graphics, videos, and audio clips. There are opportunities provided for faculty-to-student and student-to-student synchronous and asynchronous interactive collaboration. Assessment of online learning outcomes includes a wide variety of evaluation tools depending on the course outcomes, such as (1) quizzes and exams completed online, (2) graded discussion assignments, (3) case reports, (4) group projects, (5) research papers, and (6) article critiques.
In courses with a lab component, students come together on campus for up to 16 hours of laboratory classes per weekend for up to eight weekends during a 15-week trimester. The lab sessions provide an avenue for teaching activities not well suited for online delivery, such as the hands-on learning that is vital to physical therapy education; in addition to oral presentations, proctored written examinations, lab practical testing, and socialization activities. Currently, these lab activities are located on the St. Augustine, Florida; Austin, Texas; and San Marcos, California, campuses.
Standard Occupational Classification codes for which program is intended to prepare graduates: Physical Therapist (29-1123); Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1071)
California PT Licensure
As of the date of publication of the catalog, in order to be eligible for professional licensure as a Physical Therapist in California, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program graduates must hold a degree from an accredited Physical Therapy program. DPT graduates that are applying for licensure in the state of California are required to submit an Application of Examination and/or Licensure and all other required documentation, Certificate of Completion Form (P1E) completed by the registrar, application fee, and passing licensure exam score from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) to the Physical Therapy Board of California.
Washington State Residents
The Flex DPT program satisfies the educational requirements for licensure in Washington state.