Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) or Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPhysio) is a post-baccalaureate three-year degree conferred upon successful completion of a professional (entry-level) clinical doctoral level professional or post-professional (transition) physical therapist education program for the licensed physical therapist. The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree is conferred by 206 of the nation's 213 US accredited professional physical therapist degree programs. This degree signifies completion of post-baccalaureate requirements needed to enter the profession and represents the completion of a comprehensive 3-year program and the fulfillment of high standards of clinical internship.[1]

As a part of its vision, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) [2] passed in 2000, Vision 2020 that states: "By 2020, physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as the practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, function, and health."


Professional degree (the entry-level)

The professional (entry-level) DPT degree is the current degree conferred by 96% of physical therapist professional programs upon successful completion of a three-year post-baccalaureate degree program in the United States, that prepares the graduate to enter the practice of physical therapy. Admission requirements for the program include completion of an undergraduate degree that includes fulfillment of specific prerequisite coursework, volunteer experience or other exposure to the profession, completion of a standardized graduate examination (e.g., GRE), letters of reference, personal goals statement, passing the national licensure examination and meeting the requirements of the state(s) in which the physical therapist practices. Typical prerequisite courses usually include two semesters of anatomy and physiology with labs, 2 semesters of physics with labs, 2 semesters of chemistry with labs, a general course in psychology, another course in psychology usually abnormal or developmental psychology, statistics, two semesters of biology and one or two specific courses required by specific schools. The physical therapist curriculum consists of foundational sciences (i.e., anatomy, cellular histology, neuroscience, kinesiology, physiology, exercise physiology, pathology, pharmacology, radiology/imaging, medical screening), behavioral sciences (communication, social and psychologic factors, ethics and values, law, business and management sciences, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice) and clinical sciences (cardiovascular/pulmonary, endocrine and metabolic, gastrointestinal and genitourinary, integumentary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular), and physical therapist practice (patient/client management model, prevention, wellness, and health promotion, practice management, management of care delivery, social responsibility and advocacy, and core values). In addition, learners under the supervision of licensed physical therapists, engage in full-time clinical practice by managing patients/clients with a variety of conditions across the lifespan and with an expectation of providing safe, competent, and effective physical therapy.

Transition degree

The post-professional [3] DPT (Transitional) degree is conferred upon successful completion of a post-professional physical therapist education program. The "transition" DPT is intended for licensed physical therapists that hold the bachelor, master, or certificate degrees at the professional (entry-level) level. This program is designed to provide contemporary knowledge and skill for licensed physical therapists associated with evidenced-based and best clinical practice. This program enables licensed physical therapists to obtain knowledge that is commensurate with current professional DPT graduates in the United States. Much of the core curricular content is consistent among post-professional DPT programs including, but not limited to, pharmacology, radiology/imaging, medical screening and diagnosis, evidence-based practice, administration and management, and professionalism and ethics. There are more than 70 physical therapist programs that offer post-professional DPT (Transitional) degree programs through classroom instruction, distance learning, or a combination of both.

Advanced clinical science degree

The "advanced clinical science" doctorate (e.g., DPTSc or DScPT, DHSc, ScDPT) is one of several degrees conferred by academic institutions upon successful completion of a post-professional physical therapist education program. This program is intended to provide an experienced clinician with advanced knowledge, clinical skills, and professional behaviors, usually in a specific specialty practice area. These programs typically culminate work that contributes new knowledge to clinical practice in the profession. Completion of these advanced clinical science doctoral programs may include credentialed clinical residencies and lead to ABPTS clinical specialization or other advanced certifications.


The University of Melbourne and Bond University in Australia are now offering doctor of physiotherapy degrees as postgraduate degrees in physiotherapy.[citation needed]

United Kingdom

Some UK universities now offer a DPT as a post-professional qualification, the qualifying degree remains Bachelor or Master of Science, Physiotherapy (with honours). The Doctor of Physiotherapy in the UK differs from a US clinical doctorate in that it is a 5-year post-professional Physiotherapy specific research programme, which is offered at the University of Sussex in Brighton. Other UK institutions prefer to offer a generic ProfD (Professional Doctorate) as this is recognised across many professions from veterinary medicine to pharmacy. It is soon to be a convention for all UK physiotherapy consultants to have earned a post-professional doctorate (PhD, DHSc, ProfD, DPT etc.)[citation needed] although the ever-changing NHS landscape makes it difficult to predict where the profession will be in 10 years.


There are 6 Institutes offering DPT in Pakistan: the Riphah International University, Isra College of Rehabilitation Sciences (Isra University Hyderabad),Isra School of Rehabiliattion sciences[ISRS],Islamabad Campus[ campus],offering DPT & PPDPT, only university have three campuses in Pakistan offering these degrees Mayo Hospital Lahore( King Edward Medical University, Lahore), Sargodha University and the University of Faisalabad. Azra Naheed medical college(superior university Lahore). The Isra Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences-Karachi,Isra University (two years Post Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy PP-DPT)and 5 year entery level DPT program, Sargodha university, also started DPT in Pakistan are currently offering a doctor of physical therapy degree as a first professional degree in physical therapy. also Baqai Medical university's institute of physical therapy and rehabilitation medicine. KMU Institute of physical medicine and Rehabilitation (IPM&R) is the only institute in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which offers DPT .


Iranian Physiotherapists have begun their activities about DPT. Iranian Physiotherapists hope to achieve to government agreement for DPT course.[citation needed] In Iran DPT was approved by Health Ministry on 23 July 2011 and PTs are going to prepare to graduate in two or three years DPT's level.


Egyptian Physiotherapists have begun their activities about DPT. They are qualified to achieve the target soon by support from the government.


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