Healthcare demand leads to new doctorate programming

Poised for a future in a field that is already booming, Alvernia is adding several key opportunities in healthcare for students — from Associates level programs, to Bachelor’s, Master’s, and now a new Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Alvernia’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT), currently in “pre-candidacy” phase, will be the second doctoral program offered by the university and the latest addition to a thriving health sciences curriculum that is training the best and brightest for a growing healthcare field in Berks County and beyond. 

“A lot of hard work remains before we begin bringing students into this program,” says Dr. Christopher Wise, who has recently been named the Director of the DPT program at Alvernia. “The expectation is that candidacy will be achieved and students will begin to enroll for the professional, post-graduate phase of the program in fall 2014.” A practicing physical therapist and owner of a private practice with a long-standing academic career and a history of conducting research, Dr. Wise is already working to achieve the fall 2014 enrollment goal.

In addition to the DPT program, an exciting partnership with the nation’s largest medical college, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine has been initiated this spring. Through the agreement, Alvernia graduates can gain early acceptance into the college’s medical, pharmacy and dental schools. Students pursuing the pre-med, pre-pharma and pre-dental tracks, who meet academic requirements while earning their undergraduate degrees at Alvernia, will be guaranteed acceptance into Lake Erie College’s graduate medical program at its campuses in Florida and Pennsylvania. 

Alvernia’s well-known, established programs in nursing, occupational therapy and athletic training, are also being bolstered by a new undergraduate major in healthcare science, launched in January, and by a new Associate of Science degree program in medical imaging, offered through a dual enrollment agreement with the Reading Health System's School of Health Sciences. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ February 2013 report, “healthcare added 23,000 jobs.” In just one month (February 2013), “ambulatory healthcare services, such as doctors' offices and outpatient care centers, added 28,000 jobs, while employment in nursing and residential care decreased by 8,000."

“Obviously, the need for trained healthcare workers — in all areas of the field — is great,” said Karen Thacker, dean of Alvernia’s Professional Programs. “We’ve been working with several key organizations in the area, such as Reading Health Systems, St. Joseph Regional Health Network, and the Reading Area Community College to make sure we’re filling the greatest needs, and making the transition process between programs as smooth as possible.”

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

Read More:
• Alvernia Creating healthcare connections |Alvernia University
• Alvernia University, The Reading Hospital Develop Regional Initiative 
• Alvernia wins competitive Federal Nursing Workforce Diversity grant 
• Survey shows healthcare workers' employment confidence up | Healthcare Finance News
• Loved Degree #1 Bachelors in Health Care Administration, #4 Bachelor's in Nursing | Yahoo News
• Health job market continues upward trend
• Bureau of Labor Statistics February report
• The Future of Healthcare Report

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