A new physical therapy program may be coming to campus.
Dr. Maria Jones, clinical professor and director of physical therapy, is developing a graduate physical therapy program. The graduate program is planned to provide a doctor of physical therapy degree that will begin classes in June 2020.
The degree would be eight semesters long and combine didactic and clinical education. The requirements to apply would be:
- completion of a bachelor’s degree,
- both a science and cumulative GPA of at least 3.0,
- a certain score on the Graduate Record Examination received in the last five years, and
- three recommendations from various professional sources.
Jones began developing the program a year ago by submitting a plan to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). It is listed as a developing program, according to CAPTEonline.org.
“The exercise science degree track sets you up for PT school, but we don’t have a PT program here, and so I think they’re looking at streamlining that,” said Paige Caldwell, exercise science senior.
“I think if we do get a PT program here, there would be a lot more people coming to the school for that pre-PT program to go into it.”
Students who graduate from OCU with all of the necessary prerequisites would be guaranteed an interview for the doctorate program, Jones said. These prerequisites include the 3.0 GPA as well as 10 classes ranging from a behavioral science course to two chemistry courses.
A graduate cannot sit for their licensing exam unless they have graduated from an accredited program, meaning any students who participate in the first year would not be able to take their licensing exam until the program is accredited.
In case the program is not awarded accreditation, part of the application process to CAPTE includes a contingency plan with schools that have agreed to take in students who apply to rejected programs.
“It’s one of the challenges of a developing program,” Jones said. “It’s a huge time and money commitment for OCU to start this process, so making sure we have all our ducks in a row, we follow all those rules, and we’re upfront about where we are in the process really serves us good in the long run.”
The program is scheduled to open applications in Spring 2019.
More informational sessions are scheduled to take place as the program gets closer to opening. A website also will be launched with information on the program and the application process.