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Alvernia offers first Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Berks County

Date: 10/17/2013



As the Baby Boomer generation ages, physical therapists are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 77,400 physical therapy openings by 2020, a 39 percent increase, which outpaces national average. 

Alvernia Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students will have the opportunity to learn from professors who remain active in clinical practice and publication and have demonstrated excellence in their ability to impart contemporary, evidence-based principles and skills to students for years. The university’s DPT program core faculty have over 80 years of combined clinical experience and represent several areas of specialty practice within the profession. 

“Our primary objective is to develop clinically competent, community-conscious graduates who are prepared to think critically and serve altruistically as they become life-long learners, reflective professionals, engaged citizens, and ethical leaders with moral courage,” says Program Director Dr. Christopher Wise.

Alvernia’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program is easily accessible to professionals and students in the Berks County and surrounding areas like Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, Kutztown and Philadelphia. On-campus housing is available for DPT students.

About the DPT Curriculum 
Throughout the curriculum, students will engage in 4 part-time and 4 full-time clinical education experiences, totaling 39 weeks of clinical education. Web-assisted resources will be utilized throughout each clinical internship to facilitate self-reflection and to connect clinical practice with previously learned classroom knowledge.

• A total of 111 weeks over 9 semesters with a Fall semester start and 2 summer semesters of unopposed focused clinical education.

• 75 weeks of didactic classroom instruction and 39 weeks of full-and part-time clinical education experiences.

• 121 total credits consisting of 89 credits of classroom learning experiences and 32 credits of clinical education experiences. 

• The Clinical Practice Pattern Track of the curriculum, comprised of 9 courses, is devoted to the practical clinical application of physical therapy skills within each of the 4 areas of clinical practice.

• The Critical Inquiry Track of the curriculum, comprised of 4 courses, emphasizes the role of the physical therapist as a critical consumer of the literature and culminates in a collaborative original research project with DPT faculty.   

• The Administration and Education Track, comprised of 4 courses, focuses on concepts related to teaching and learning, principles of management in physical therapy, health policy, and the role of physical therapy within today’s healthcare system.

• The opportunity to choose up to 2 Electives will allow students to experience a combination of in and out-of-classroom learning experiences in an area of specialty practice taught by clinical experts.   

• A final, Comprehensive Examination, which mimics the format of the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) (www.fsbpt.org), is required at the conclusion of all coursework prior to graduation.

The DPT Program is currently in the Pre-Candidacy Stage. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior student admission and achievement of candidacy does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

About Alvernia University
Alvernia’s Franciscan heritage includes a rigorous intellectual tradition that recognizes and values the importance of diversity of thought, faiths and cultures. The university challenges students to shape the world and transform it as working professionals, concerned citizens and caring community members, consistent with the principles and teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi.

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