Program Overview

The Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) bridge program is designed to allow licensed physical therapist assistants (PTAs) to expand on their academic and clinical experience to promote health, wellness, and function in diverse populations. The program bridges licensed PTAs to become contemporary Doctors of Physical Therapists (DPT), equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and professionalism to be independent practitioners who optimize movement, improve health, and transform society.  Students will build on their existing professional knowledge through an experiential technology infused curriculum of a combination of didactic and clinical experiences to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to be doctors of physical therapy and have opportunities for focused study in areas of clinical interest.

Graduates will emerge as highly skilled Physical Therapists, demonstrating expertise, leadership, professionalism, cultural humility, and critical thinking in their pursuit to deliver exemplary care to patients/clients in diverse physical therapy practice settings. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be clinicians, educators, scholars, and leaders who have developed the knowledge and skills for contemporary, autonomous and collaborative practice, as well as a commitment towards service and lifelong learning.

 

Applications for the DPT program are anticipated to open in June of 2025
First student cohort for the DPT program is anticipated to begin Spring Term of 2026 (March 2026)

 

No matter where you are on your journey to a Physical Therapy career, New England Tech provides several options for you!

 

IF:
THEN:
If you do not have a PTA license…
  • Then apply for the Physical Therapist Assistant, AS program
  • Once you have successfully completed the PTA program, you can move on to the Health Practice Management, BS
  • This program is now accepting applications on a rolling basis
If you have an active PTA license, but no bachelor’s degree…
  • Then apply for the Health Practice Management, BS program
  • The Health Practice Management, BS program will then bridge you into the DPT program
  • This program is now accepting applications on a rolling basis
If you have an active PTA license, AND a bachelor’s degree…
  • Then apply for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program
  • This program is anticipated to open applications in June of 2025, with the first student cohort anticipated to begin in March of 2026

 

 


Accreditation Statement:

Please Note: The PTA to DPT Bridge Program is in development. Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone; 703-706-3245; [email protected] is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states. Candidacy is considered to be an accredited status, as such the credits and degree earned from a program with Candidacy status are considered, by CAPTE, to be from an accredited program. Therefore, students in the charter (first) class should be eligible to take the licensure exam even if CAPTE withholds accreditation at the end of the candidacy period. That said, it is up to each state licensing agency, not CAPTE, to determine who is eligible for licensure. Information on licensing requirements should be directed to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT;www.fsbpt.org) or specific state boards (a list of state boards and contact information is available on FSBPT’s website. [Name of Institution] is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist [assistant] education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on May 1 2025. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the [professional/technical] phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in [professional/technical] courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

 

 

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Related Programs

Program Mission, Goals, and Outcomes

Program Mission

The mission of the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Bridge Program is to offer a clinical doctoral degree through an innovative and transformative educational pathway for licensed Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) to become Physical Therapists.  The program bridges their transition to become contemporary Doctors of Physical Therapists (DPTs), equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and professionalism to be independent practitioners who optimize movement, improve health, and transform society.  Students will build on their existing professional knowledge through an experiential technology infused curriculum of a combination of didactic and clinical experiences to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to be doctors of physical therapy and have opportunities for focused study in areas of clinical interest.  Graduates will emerge as highly skilled Physical Therapists, demonstrating expertise, leadership, professionalism, cultural humility, and critical thinking in their pursuit to deliver exemplary care to patients/clients in diverse physical therapy practice settings. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be clinicians, educators, scholars, and leaders who have developed the knowledge and skills for contemporary, autonomous and collaborative practice, as well as a commitment towards service and lifelong learning.

Program Themes:

  • Technology: Consumers of and innovators in technology in movement science and practice
  • Evidence Based Practice: Evidence Based Practice utilizing best available evidence, technology and leadership skills
  • Clinical Reasoning: Independent diagnostic practitioners addressing the whole health of an individual throughout the lifespan to meet the evolving needs of the community and workforce
  • Professional Formation: Professionalism and professional growth PTA-DPT- commitment to development of self and to lifelong learning
  • Movement Science: From foundation to integration, experts in analyzation and promotion of movement science
  • Social Consciousness: Demonstrate self-awareness, cultural humility and emotional intelligence, accepting and advocating for all to equitably receive healthcare and physical therapy services

Program Goals:

  1. Program Goal 1 (Integrated Curriculum)
    Provide a learner-centered, integrated educational pathway that builds on the existing skills of a PTA, ultimately graduating entry-level Doctors of Physical Therapy who meet and exceed the APTA Standards of Practice, demonstrating proficiency in assessment, treatment, and patient management and care.
  2. Program Goal 2 (Flexible Learning Approach for adult learners)
    Provide a flexible educational program that accommodates the diverse learning needs of adult learners, utilizing various teaching methods including flexible scheduling, online resources, technology and interactive teaching strategies to maximize comprehension and retention of knowledge and skills.
  3. Program Goal 3 (Professional Values and Diversity)
    Instill in graduates a sense of commitment to the American Physical Therapy Association’s core values by fostering a commitment to lifelong learning and service, as well as preparing graduates to practice in a manner that is competent, compassionate, professional, ethical, and sensitive to issues of diversity and inclusion.
  4. Program Goal 4 (Contribution to Workforce)
    Produce graduates with skills to become leaders and practitioners of choice, actively contributing to the employment sector and meeting the needs within urban, rural and underserved areas, thus addressing health disparities, and improving access to physical therapy services.

Student Goals:

Successful students within the proposed Bridge to DPT program demonstrate each of the following learning outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate competence in the delivery of physical therapist services as outlined by the Guide to PT practice.
  2. Demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning through active participation in academic activities balanced with an individualized professional development plan.
  3. Demonstrate commitment to transform and serve society as movement professionals through service and/or leadership to the community and/or profession.
  4. Engage in collaborative practice to learn about, with, and from other interprofessional health care providers across the other programs at NEIT.
  5. Explore career paths of interest within the Profession of Physical Therapy.

Graduate Goals:

Successful graduates of the proposed Bridge to DPT program will be able to successfully demonstrate each of the following learning outcomes:

The graduate will:

  1. Demonstrate competence as an evidence-based, direct-access practitioner, prepared to practice as a member of an interprofessional team, to deliver outcome-driven and cost-effective patient care.
  2. Provide patient-centered, socially responsible physical therapy services across the lifespan, allowing for patient engagement in preventative and restorative care.
  3. Engage in effective communication for all written and oral expressions of ideas and concepts.
  4. Effectively utilize skills in problem-solving, and thinking logically, flexibly, and critically during all professional engagements.
  5. Exhibit values, ethics, and physical therapy practice patterns consistent with the APTA Core Values and Standard of Practice.
  6. Demonstrate leadership, advocacy, and a commitment to life-long learning in physical therapy practice.

 

Program Director: Dr. Kristin Curry Greenwood 

Dr. Kristin Curry Greenwood PT, DPT, EdD, MS, FNAP, GCS Emeritus; is a physical therapist for over 25 years with experience in acute care, older adults, and higher education She has served in a variety of leadership roles in higher education and clinical practice. She currently serves as Professor and Program Director of the developing Doctorate of Physical Therapy Bridge Program for physical therapy assistants at New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich Rhode Island. Dr. Greenwood’s scholarship focuses on preparing students for acute care interprofessional physical therapist practice, competency-based education, and simulation education. She has worked to advance entry-level acute care education through her work with the Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy, including leading the task force to develop the Core Competencies for Entry-level Practice in Acute Care Physical Therapy. She is an editor and author (5th and 6th editions) of the Acute Care Handbook for Physical Therapists. Kristin has received several awards for her contributions to science and health science education, including the Dorothy E. Baethke-Eleanor J. Carlin Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching from the American Physical Therapy Association, the Distinguished Educator Award, Academy of Education American Physical Therapy Association, and several awards from APTA Acute Care including the Acute Care Lecture Award and the James Dunleavey Acute Care Physical Therapy Distinguished Service Award. She is recognized for her interprofessional research and educational collaborations as a Distinguished Fellow of National Academies of Practice. Kristin is an American Board of Physical Therapist Specialists certified geriatric clinical specialist, received her simulation instructor training from the Harvard/MIT Center for Medical Simulation, her medical education research certificate from the Association of American Medical Education Colleges and has her Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Curriculum Leadership and Learning from Northeastern University. Kristin leads and educates from a mission-driven, student-centered approach to academic excellence. She is forward-thinking of the critical concerns faced by health science stakeholders, including student diversity, equity, & inclusion, education cost, research advancement, and sustainability. 

For questions about the developing PTA to DPT Bridge Program please email Dr. Greenwood at [email protected] 

Courses Offered

Term I
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 611 Foundations PT Practice and Professional Formation 1 2 6 4
PT 613 Foundation of Movement System 1 – Introduction 1 2 2
PT 614 Foundation of Movement System 2 – Gross Anatomy 4 4 6
Onsite Wednesday- Monday week 1, Friday-Monday (F-M) week 4 and 8 7 12 12

Total Quarter Credits for Bachelor’s Completion earned during DPT Courses = 12

Term II
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 721 Foundations of PT Practice 2 – Biomechanics/Kinesiology (First half of term) 3 4 5
PT 722 Foundations of PT Practice 3 – Exam (Second half of term) 3 4 5
PT 725 Professional Formation 2 – Clinical Decision-Making PTA to DPT 2 0 2
Onsite F-M weeks 4 and 8 8 8 12

Total Quarter Credits for Bachelor’s Completion earned during DPT Courses = 12

 

Term III

Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 900 Patient Management 1 – Cardiopulmonary and Integumentary 4 4 6
PT 902 Biopsychosocial Influences of PT 2 0 2
PT 906 Pathology & Pharmacology 4 0 4
Onsite F-M weeks 4 and 8 10 4 12
Term IV
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 911 Foundations of PT Practice 4 – Motor Control 3 4 5
PT 913 Foundation of Movement System 3 – Neuroscience 3 4 5
PT 916 Evidence-Based Practice 2 0 2
 Onsite F-M week 4 and 8, week 10 as snow back up 8 8 12

Term V

Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 925 Professional Formation 3 – Readying for Clinical 2 0 2
PT 927 Musculoskeletal Examination and Treatment 1 3 4 3
PT 928 Neuromuscular Examination and Treatment 1 3 4 3
PT 929 Clinical Research Capstone 1 2 0 2
Onsite F-M weeks 4,8 and 10 10 8 14
Term VI
Course No. Course Title C L T
SLP 620 Clinical Education 1 (10 weeks @40 hrs/wk) 10 0 10
At Clinical 40 hours a week 10 0 10
Term VII
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 945 Professional Formation 4 – Wellness Participation 2 0 2
PT 947 Musculoskeletal Exam and Treatment 2 3 4 5
PT 948 Neuromuscular Exam and Treatment 2 3 4 5
Onsite F-M weeks 4 and 8  8 8 12
Term VIII
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 950 Patient Management 2 – Acute Care/Home Care 3 4 5
PT 952 Orthotics, Prosthetics and Assistive Technology 2 2 3
PT 955 Professional Formation 5 – Leadership (first half of term) 3 0 3
PT 956 Professional Formation 6 – Readying for Clinical Intra and Inter IPE (second half of term) 2 0 2
Onsite F-M weeks 4 and 8; week 10 snow back up 10 6 13
Term IX
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 960 Patient Management 3 – Complex Integration Cases and Differential Diagnosis 2 0 2
PT 967 Musculoskeletal Exam and Treatment 3 – Lifespan and Special Topics/Complexity 2 4 4
PT 968 Neuromuscular Exam and Treatment 3 – Lifespan and Special Topics/Complexity 2 4 4
PT 969 Clinical Research Capstone 2 4 0 4
Onsite F-M weeks 4 and 8 and 10 10 8 14
Intersession
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 976 Diagnostic Imaging 3 0 3
3 0 3
Term X
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 979 Clinical Education 2 (10 weeks @40 hrs/wk) 3 0 3
AT CLINICAL 40 hrs a week 10 0 10
Term XI
Course No. Course Title C L T
PT 985 Professional Formation 7 – Entry-Level Practice 2 0 2
PT 989 Clinical Education 3 (10 weeks @40 hrs/wk) 10 0 10
AT CLINICAL 40 hrs a week onsite 4 days week of graduation 12 0 12

 

Total Program Credit Hours = 135

Legend

C = Number of lecture hours per week

L = Number of laboratory hours per week

T = Total Quarter Credit Hours where each lecture hour per week is one credit, and every 2-4 laboratory hours are one credit depending on the expected amount of pre- or post-lab work.

Subject to change.

 

 

 

Q&A and Technical Standards

Questions & Answers

 

  1. What are the entrance requirements for the DPT Bridge program? The requirements for application and admission for the DPT Bridge Program are listed below. Candidates may apply with or without an earned bachelor’s degreeStudents who have an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the USA will apply through PTCAS ([http://about:blank/]https://ptcasdirectory.apta.org/). Students who do not have an earned bachelor’s degree will apply through PTCAS ([http://about:blank/]https://ptcasdirectory.apta.org/) and through the NEIT application portal to submit all relevant documentation for the transfer of all prerequisite credits. Candidates will also need to submit a personal statement as part of the admission process that details your interest in the program and how it will enable you to accomplish your professional goals.
Admission requirements:  
        • Evidence of having graduated from a CAPTE accredited physical therapist assistant program.  
        • Active PTA license in a U.S. jurisdiction, currently working with contemporary evidence of work by resume, recommended a minimum of 32 hours per month.   
        • One-year full-time experience (or equivalent) working as a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant within 3 years of matriculation. 
        • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0/4.0 and minimum science prerequisite GPA of 3.0/4.0  
        • Successful completion of at least 60 undergraduate semester-credits (or 90 quarter-credits) through PTA degree.   
        • Three professional letters of reference. One must be from a supervising PT. It is recommended one from a past professor if available or secondary supervisory reference if not. Letters from family and friends will not be accepted.   
        • GREs taken within the last 10 years. No minimum after first cohort accepted average scores of cohort will be published for subsequent cohorts. 
        • TOEFL if applicable.  
        • Transcripts for all college coursework. Prerequisite courses must be completed at a minimum level of C (B- is preferred), with a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0/4.0 and a minimum science prerequisite grade point average of 3.0/4.0. Please note that all science courses must be appropriate for majors in that discipline. We allow up to three repeated courses where we take the highest grade. We count the first three repeats taken, regardless of the course. After that, we take both grades in the GPA calculations. W does not count as a repeat. AP credits for pre-requisite courses with a score of 4 or better will be accepted. Courses taken Pass/No Pass will not be accepted. An exception will be granted for classes taken as Pass/No Pass during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For these courses, students must receive course credit, verified on a transcript with a Pass grade equivalent of A, B, or C. 
        • Physical Therapist Assistant associate degree: 60 semester credits 
Prerequisite courses: 
        • BIO 116 Introduction to Biology Course (not botany) 3 semester credits (equal to 4 quarter credits) 
        • BIO *107 Comprehensive Anatomy & Physiology I and Lab 3 semester credits with lab 
        • BIO *127 Comprehensive Anatomy & Physiology II and Lab 3 semester credits with lab 
        • CHM *300 Chemistry I and Lab (MA/SCI Core) 3 semester credits with lab 
        • CHM *400 Chemistry II and Lab (MA/SCI Core) 3 semester credits 
        • PHY *200 Physics I & Lab (MA/SCI Core) 3 semester credits with lab 
        • PHY *300 Physics II & Lab (MA/SCI Core) 3 semester credits with lab 
        • PS 201 Introduction to Psychology (SS Core) 3 semester credits 
        • PS 410 Applied Research Statistics (SS Core) 3 semester credits 
        • PS 440 Developmental Psychology (SS Core) 3 semester credits 
        • RS *411 Exercise Physiology and Laboratory 4 semester credits  
  1. Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree to apply to the DPT Bridge Program? No, you do not need to have a bachelor’s degree to apply to the DPT Bridge Program. You do need to meet the entrance requirements including the prerequisite courses, GPA and application process as described for applicants without a bachelor’s degree and be enrolled in a bachelor’s program at NEIT if you do not already have a bachelor’s degree completed by time of entrance to the program. 
  2. I am a PTA and I do not have a bachelor’s degree. Will this affect my coursework or the length of the programThe length of the DPT program will not be affected if you do not have a bachelor’s degree. There are courses that will be needed to complete the bachelor’s degree outside of the prerequisites and DPT courses. These must be completed prior to starting the DPT, you will finish your bachelor’s degree with the remaining 2 terms as your first 2 terms of the DPT dually enrolled.  
  3. I am a PTA and have already earned my bachelor’s degree. Will this affect my coursework or the length of the program  Holding a bachelor’s degree will not affect the length of the program or the coursework. 
  4. Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) to be accepted into the program? If you are an external applicant and completed your PTA degree and Bachelor’s degree outside of NEIT, GRE’s are required and must be taken within 10 years before application.
  5. Is NEIT accredited? NEIT is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Accreditation by NECHE is recognized by the federal government and entitles NEIT to participate in federal financial aid programs. Some academic departments have specialized professional accreditations in addition to accreditation by NECHE. For more information on accreditation, see NEIT’s catalog. 

  6. Is the DPT program at NEIT accredited? Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone; 703-706-3245; [email protected] is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.   

    Candidacy is considered to be an accredited status, as such the credits and degree earned from a program with Candidacy status are considered, by CAPTE, to be from an accredited program. Therefore, students in the charter (first) class should be eligible to take the licensure exam even if CAPTE withholds accreditation at the end of the candidacy period. That said, it is up to each state licensing agency, not CAPTE, to determine who is eligible for licensure. Information on licensing requirements should be directed to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT;www.fsbpt.org) or specific state boards (a list of state boards and contact information is available on FSBPT’s website.     

    New England Institute of Technology is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on May 1, 2025. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.  

  7. Can I transfer credits earned at another college to NEIT? Students cannot transfer any courses to replace DPT courses in their curriculum.  
  8. Are there other things I should know about the admissions process? The DPT program at NEIT does not discriminate against qualified people with disabilities in the admissions process. We do require all students to meet the Program’s Essential Functions and Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodations 

  9.  Do I need to maintain a certain grade point average?  Yes. You are required to have a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0/4.0 and a minimum science prerequisite grade point average of 3.0/4.0 in order to apply to the DPT Bridge Program. You are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the programStudents who fail more than two courses in the curriculum, or fail the same course twice, or whose GPA falls below 3.0 for more than 2 terms will be dismissed. Students who are dismissed will have the option of reapplying to the program after 2 years of full-time clinical practice as a PTA and will repeat the program in its entirety.   

     

  10. Do I need to have a Criminal Background check?All DPT students are required to have a criminal background check. The Joint Commission on requires all healthcare facilities which they accredit to perform criminal background checks on students. Prior to entering clinical affiliation, students will be required to undergo a criminal background check. In addition to the criminal background check required by (The Joint Commission), some clinical sites may also require a national criminal background check. It will be necessary for students to sign a Consent and Disclaimer permitting NEIT to perform a criminal background check and a Release and Authorization permitting NEIT to disclose the results of the criminal background check to a clinical site where the student is being considered for placement. Students have an obligation to self-disclose to the Department Chair any criminal convictions or pending criminal federal, state, or local charges which occur after a criminal background check has been performed. When they do, the student must undergo an updated background check. If a background check reveals any criminal convictions, the student may be disqualified from a clinical placement or employment in the field. When a student is declined a placement by a site as a result of a positive background check, another attempt will be made to place a student in a clinical site. If a background check reveals any criminal convictions, the student may be disqualified from a clinical placement or employment in the field. Further, students convicted of a felony will need to comply with state licensure requirements for The Rhode Island Department of Health. Students assume the cost of all background checks.    Some facilities may also require a drug screen prior to accepting a student for clinical placement. NEIT makes no guarantee that once a student is matriculated, the student will be able to attend any clinical affiliation training setting, sit for the national certification, or gain licensure if the student has a prior criminal conviction. This is the student’s responsibility to discover what they must do to manage a positive criminal background investigation. A graduate from the program may not be able to obtain a license depending on the criminal offense and the decision of the license board in each state.  
  11. When do my classes meet? This is a hybrid program with a combination of weeks done remotely with asynchronous and synchronous work online and onsite intensive laboratory weeks in person at the East Greenwich campus.  The specific pattern of attendance for dates will be listed on the website and student handbook when scheduled.  

    Classes canceled by the College for any reason will be rescheduled.   

  12. How large will my classes be? The average size for a class is about 18 to 20 students; however, larger and smaller classes occur from time to time. Laboratory coursework will have a ratio of 9 students to instructor.   
  13. Where do my classes meet? Remote work occurs online; in-person onsite intensive work occurs on the East Greenwich campus.  
  14. How long should it take me to complete my program? If you successfully complete each course as listed in the DPT curriculum you will finish in 31 months over 11 terms.   
  15. How many credits do I need to acquire my Financial Aid? Students entering the program will be eligible for various forms of financial aid, including loans. See your financial aid officer for additional details. The program has enough credits each semester to apply for financial aid
  16. 17. What does my program cost? The cost will be as outlined in your enrollment agreement, along with your cost for books and other course materials.   

  17. What kind of employment assistance does NEIT offer?  The Career Services Office assists NEIT students and graduates in all aspects of the job search, including resume writing, interviewing skills, and developing a job search strategy. Upon completion of their program, graduates may submit a resume to the Career Services Office to be circulated to employers for employment opportunities in their fields. Employers regularly contact us about our graduates. In addition, our Career Services Office contacts employers to develop job leads. A strong relationship with employers has existed as a result of our training students to meet the needs of industry for over fifty years. No school can, and NEIT does not guarantee to its graduates employment or a specific starting salary.  

  18. Where will job opportunities exist? The DPT program will prepare you to sit for the national licensure examination in any of the 50 United States and graduates will have the ability to look nationally for employment opportunities.   
  19. Is there any state or federal licensing required in my field? All Graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program are required to pass the National Physical Therapist Examination to obtain licensure. Individual additional licensure requirements vary by state. 

Technical Standards/ Essential Functions  

The Bridge to Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is a rigorous and intense program requiring specific functions and abilities for the safety and success of students enrolled in the program. The knowledge skills and abilities of the program are the same as the knowledge skills and abilities needed for clinical practice upon graduation.   

Physical Therapist Graduates are expected upon graduation to demonstrate entry-level knowledge skills and abilities across clinical practice settings as a generalist practice. Essential functions are the aptitudes and abilities required of physical therapist students to successfully complete the curriculum of the Bridge to DPT program, and to perform the clinical skills of a physical therapist consistent with The APTA Professional Standards and the Guide to Physical Therapy Practice.  

These essential functions of the DPT Bridge Program establish the essential qualities considered necessary for students admitted to this program to achieve the knowledge, skills, and competencies to enter this field. Successful students must possess the following skills and abilities or be able to demonstrate that they can complete the requirements of the program with or without reasonable accommodation, using some other combination of skills and abilities.  

Upon admission, students must be able to perform each of the essential functions outlined below during classroom, laboratory, and patient clinical care and research settings.   

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS  

Students are required to perform the following essential functions of the DPT program:  

Affective  Behaviors:  

    • Ability to maintain emotional stability and the maturity necessary to interact with other members of the faculty, students, patients, and caregivers in a responsible manner.  
    • Meet deadlines and time requirements for assignments.  
    •  Utilize strategies to appropriately react to feedback and under difficult situations.  
    • Demonstrate professionalism as outlined by the American Physical Therapy Associations Core Values  
    • Develop professional, respectful, culturally sensitive empathetic relationships with individuals from all lifestyles, cultures, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and abilities.   
    • Develop and have effective relationships with faculty, students, professional colleagues, peers, patients/clients, families, and the general public.  
    • Demonstrate an ability to function effectively in complex, highly stimulating environments.  
    • Demonstrate responsibility for self-directed assessment, reflection, and professional growth.  
    • Demonstrate accountability for the consequences of one’s own actions with honesty, and empathy.  
    • Demonstrate ethical behavior, proper judgment, and decision-making skills in and out of class.  

Communications Skills:  

    • Communicate effectively with faculty, clients, staff, and other professionals using layman’s terms or medical terminology as appropriate.  
    • Orally report data and observations in language appropriate to the situation.  
    • Read English sufficiently to understand and comprehend college-level textbooks, written protocols, documentation in client’s chart, information necessary for documentation, evaluation, and directions on tools or packaging.  
    • Interpret and respond professionally to non-verbal, verbal, and written communication from patients, faculty, students and the community.  
    • Write English sufficiently to legibly record client evaluations, progress notes, and other documentation for the client’s chart.  
    • Express thoughts clearly and succinctly in one-on-one and larger group settings.  
    • Give written or verbal instructions in English to direct others in their work and to carry out intervention and assessment.  

Cognitive Ability:  

    • Process, synthesize, organize, and learn new material in order to plan and implement a variety of activities.  
    • Identify cause-and-effect relationships in clinical situations; synthesize data and draw sound conclusions.  
    • Problem solve independently using several variables at once.  
    • Utilize basic math concepts for measurement and construction tasks.  
    • Imitate role modeling of professional skills and behaviors.  
    • Perceive events realistically, and think rationally and clearly to function in routine and emergency situations   
    • Follow written or verbal instructions in English.  
    • Prioritize information from several sources to solve problems.   
    • Measure, Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate data and multiple sources of information.   
    • Recall, interpret, apply, and deduce information.  
    • Respond to emergent and unsafe situations with timely judgments and reactions.  
    • Professionally seek assistance from others, apply and accept feedback  
    • Demonstrate adherence to legal and regulatory requirements  
    • Demonstrate Self-management skills in organizing, preparing, and time management.   

Physical Ability:  

    • Ability to stand and/or sit for long periods of time.  
    • Possess balance, movement, hand-eye coordination, physical capability, and dexterity required to perform patient care tasks safely.  
    • Ability to perform learned skills, independently, with accuracy and completeness.  
    • Be able to perform intermittent physical activity for 8 hours a day in clinical skills labs and patient care settings.   
    • Be able to tolerate equipment such as gloves, masks, and other personal protective equipment throughout an 8-hour day.  
    • React to emergent situations including sudden movement of others for their and your own safety.  
    • Maintain physical health through required immunizations of clinical care.   

Manual Ability:  

    • Sufficient motor function and sensory abilities to participate effectively in the classroom laboratory clinical patient care and research settings.   
    • Sufficient manual dexterity and motor coordination to coordinate hands, eyes, and fingers in the use of physical therapy equipment.  
    • Engage in complex, coordinated movements needed during a variety of activities including skills in lab practice and clinical settings, including manual techniques, patient examination, intervention, and guarding.  

Sensory Ability:  

Visual  

      • Observe and obtain information from all relevant sources required during client care. Acute enough to read small, printed language on tools used for therapy. Also, adequate distant vision to respond to cues in a visual environment approximately 20 feet away  
      • Sufficient contrast sensitivity to interpret information on medical monitors and equipment with LED screens, etc.   

Auditory   

      • Perceive spoken word; hear and interpret loud, soft, and muffled sounds (including alarms and machinery).   

Tactile  

      • Use sensation for physical assessment of clients (pulse/muscle movement) and to perceive environmental cues (temperature, vibration, pressure) and diagnose patient presentations.  

Students Seeking Accommodations: ADD disability resource information here.   

Reference: Ingram, D. (1997). Opinions of Physical Therapy Education Program Directors on Essential Functions, Physical Therapy, 77(1), 37-45.