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Western Kentucky University

DPT Frequently Asked Questions

Doctor of Physical Therapy FAQ's

What is the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program?

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) is an entry-level Doctoral program. This means that students must have a baccalaureate Degree and have completed all of the prerequisites prior to admission. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a DPT Degree and will be eligible to take the national licensure exam for physical therapists.

What role does accreditation play?

Effective April 24, 2013, Western Kentucky University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).  Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses and that the program is progressing toward accreditation.  Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. 

(CAPTE, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org).

Where can I fulfill the prerequisite requirements?

You may complete the prerequisite requirements at any accredited community college or university.

What is the length of the physical therapy program?

The professional program is 3 years in length. This includes didactic coursework and clinical education requirements.

Do Kentucky State residents get preference?

Yes, WKU is a State School; therefore preference is given to residents of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. However, this does not imply that Kentucky residents receive automatic acceptance. Admission to Physical Therapy Programs is competitive and all completed applications are reviewed. Consequently, several out-of-state students may receive admission into the Program. Kentucky residency of graduate students is in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Regents and the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A full statement of the regulations is available in the Graduate Catalog.

I am in college. How can I best prepare?

First, examine the courses you have previously taken to determine which ones could be credited towards completing our science prerequisites. If you are unsure which courses to choose, please contact this office for assistance (270 745-4070). Second, complete the necessary coursework to earn a baccalaureate degree in the field of your choice. Third, if you have not had volunteer, observation, or work experience in a physical therapy department, it is strongly recommended that you make plans to do so.

Do I need to do volunteer/observation/work experiences in a hospital as well as outpatient clinic, and how many hours are needed?

The DPT program at WKU believes it is important for applicants to have a broad understanding of what Physical Therapists do and where they practice. To accomplish this, it is recommended that volunteer/observation/work experiences be in 2 or more different types of physical therapy settings (e.g., pediatric and orthopedic, rather than 2 different orthopedic settings). Regarding how many hours are needed, the DPT program does not require a specific number of hours nor do we require the hours be verified.   A suggested minimum number of hours is 100.

Will observation or volunteer hours in health areas other than physical therapy be counted toward admission requirements?

While volunteer/observation/work experiences in other healthcare settings (non-specific hospital/clinical areas, insurance-billing, clerical, laboratory, escort, etc.) are valuable, we recommend that applicants have direct physical therapy experience.

How do I get an interview?

The admissions committee will evaluate your application, grades, test scores, personal statement, recommendations, and observation or volunteer hours in a physical therapy department. You will then be notified if you are to have an interview.

What GRE score do you require?

We prefer a composite score of 300 or higher in the verbal and quantitative sections and a 4.0 in the writing section. However, each application is considered on a case-by-case basis for this category. You may take the GRE as many times as you need to obtain these scores. We will take the highest score and not an average. We recommend that the GRE be taken prior to the December testing date.

Does it matter where I went to school as an undergraduate?

No, you may complete your undergraduate work at any accredited institution. If you have taken courses out of the United States as an undergraduate or if you are a citizen of another country, you must apply as an international student.

Can I work while I am in PT school?

Due to the time intensive nature of the Program, outside employment is discouraged.

Are scholarships available?

For general information regarding loans, grants, and scholarships contact the WKU Student Financial Assistance Office: (270) 745-2755, located in Potter Hall room 317.

In what area of study should I get my baccalaureate degree?

Many students receive a degree in Kinesiology or Exercise Science to fulfill the prerequisites for Physical Therapy School; however, you can get your degree in any area of study as long as you meet the minimum requirements needed to apply.

Can I go to PT school part-time?

No. This is a 3 year, full-time program.

Does my degree in physical therapy allow me to practice physical therapy?

No. The degree in physical therapy is a requirement to sit for the state licensure examination. Once the licensure examination has been passed, you are entitled to practice physical therapy in that state.

What are the requirements to practice as a Physical Therapist?

In order to practice as a licensed physical therapist, the individual must be a graduate of an accredited program and pass a licensure examination. Every state has these same two requirements. Completion of an accredited program does not automatically guarantee that the individual can practice as a physical therapist.

How many students are accepted into the program each year?

Currently, 30 students will be accepted per year.

I have a cumulative GPA of 2.8 but my GPA on my prerequisites is 3.0, can I still apply?

Yes, the minimum requirement for both the overall undergraduate GPA and prerequisites is 2.75.

What If I have a disability?

See the statement on Essential Tasks for DPT Admission or contact the Student Disability Services (270) 745-5004 for information concerning disabilities and reasonable accommodations.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14