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Doctor of Physical Therapy

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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What degree is offered at St. Ambrose?
St. Ambrose University awards the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree upon successful completion of the entry-level curriculum.
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How long is the physical therapy program at St. Ambrose and when does the program begin?
The program is 2.5 calendar years in length. A new class begins the DPT program each fall. Students complete at least 3 years of undergraduate work prior to beginning the DPT program.
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How are students admitted to the DPT program at St. Ambrose?
Students are admitted to the DPT program through three different tracks. Track I is for qualified high school students who complete their undergraduate degrees at St. Ambrose. They complete 3 years of undergraduate work and enter the DPT program during the fall of their senior year. College students can apply during their junior year (Track II) or senior years (Track III) for admission the following fall. Further details on admission process may be found here.
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What are the requirements for admission to the Track I program?
Track I applicants must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4 point unadjusted scale and a composite ACT score of 24 or higher. They must also complete year long high school classes in biology and chemistry (physics is encouraged if available), an application for the Track I program and at least 20 hours of observation with one or more licensed physical therapists. Students applying to Track I must also be accepted to St. Ambrose University and apply before the February 15 deadline.
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Are Track I students guaranteed admission to the DPT program?
As long as all published requirements are met, Track I students are guaranteed a position in the DPT class that begins fall of their senior year. Track I students submit a formal application during their junior year and participate in the interview process.
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How are college students interested in physical therapy selected? What criteria does St. Ambrose consider when selecting DPT students?
College applicants are selected through a competitive process. Several criteria are considered during the selection process. These include measures of academic performance cumulative GPA, prerequisite GPA, and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Scores, references, documented clinical hours, and all content provided in the written application include the statement of goals and why the student is interested in the DPT program at St. Ambrose University. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required.
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Do you accept adult learners or individuals already in the work force?
Yes. Physical therapy is a very common second profession. Each year we receive applications from individuals who have already entered other professions.
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Does St. Ambrose give preference to St. Ambrose University undergraduate students for admission to the DPT program?
Applicants are selected by the criteria listed above. No preference is given to St. Ambrose University students.
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Does St. Ambrose give preference to Iowa residents for admission to the DPT program?
As a private university, we do not give preference to Iowa residents.
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How many students are accepted into St. Ambrose University's physical therapy program? What is the average GPA for the students accepted into the program?
We accept 36 students into the DPT program each fall. The average cumulative GPA of those accepted is usually 3.7 or higher on a 4.0 scale and average combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores of over 300.
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How large is the applicant pool?
The number of applicants to the professional DPT program varies from year to year. This year we received 353 qualified applications for 36 positions or just over 9 applications for every position in the class.
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How do I start the admissions process?
Applications through Track II or III are submitted through Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). To start the process applicants should visit the PTCAS website at www.ptcas.org.
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Can I meet with a faculty member to discuss the program?
Yes, contact our department at 563/333-6403 or at pt@sau.edu to set up and advising appointment.
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Can I specialize in one area, for example pediatric physical therapy, in the entry-level program?
The emphasis in entry-level education is on providing a broad based professional training in all major practice areas. However, an introduction to the specialty areas is included within the curriculum and students may select clinical education experiences to further explore areas of interest. Board certification as a clinical specialist requires clinical experience as a physical therapist and the passing of an exam. Clinical specialty areas in physical therapy are cardiopulmonary, clinical electrophysiology, geriatrics, orthopedics, neuromuscular, pediatrics, and sports. St. Ambrose's Physical Therapy Department now offers an Orthopaedic Residency Program for persons who have completed their entry-level education.
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What is St. Ambrose University going to do to make me as marketable as possible when I graduate and go into the job market?
SAU DPT graduates are highly sought by employers. The Career Development Center helps students develop professional resumes and cover letters. Faculty serve as references and guide students in the establishment of their own professional development plans. Students gain exposure to potential employers through their clinical education experiences - 7 experiences usually completed at 7 different sites. We post position openings in the department on the university's career center website.
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What prerequisite courses are required for the St. Ambrose DPT program?
The prerequisite courses include courses in general biology (8 credits), general chemistry (8 credits), college physics (8 credits), human physiology (3 credits) or anatomy and physiology (8 credits), statistics (3 credits), introduction to psychology (3 credits) and one upper level psychology or sociology class (3 credits). In some cases, other courses may be substituted. For example, precalculus or calculus will fulfill the math requirement.
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What majors do students interested in physical therapy seek? Are any specific majors preferred?
Students are encouraged to select an undergraduate major based on their own academic interests. Common majors for students applying at St. Ambrose include exercise science, fitness and human performance, biology, and psychology.
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What is the placement percentage of students who graduate with a Physical therapy degree?
Of the students who have graduated from the St. Ambrose University PT program and sought employment as a physical therapist, 100% are employed. For the last two years, 75 - 80% of the students interviewed and accepted positions prior to graduating from the DPT program.
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Where do your graduates find jobs?
Between 60-70% of our graduates accept positions in Iowa and Illinois, the remaining are working throughout the United States.
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What are some of the different job options that students in the physical therapy program have obtained?
Graduates from the St. Ambrose University physical therapy program are employed in virtually every setting physical therapists are employed. These include hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, sport centers, pediatric centers, rehabilitation centers, school systems, home health care, aquatic centers, nursing homes, colleges/universities, and even the armed services! Some focus on specialty areas in their practice and others see a wide variety of patients.
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How do SAU graduates do on the National Physical Therapist Exam?
SAU graduates have been very successful in passing the licensure examination. The Classes of 2010, 2011, and 2012 had a 97% licensure pass rate.
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What academic degree is needed to become a physical therapist?
To practice physical therapy one must be a graduate of an accredited program by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and have satisfactorily passed the National Physical Therapy Exam for licensure. Currently, about 93% of the accredited programs offer a doctoral degree. The remaining programs offer an entry-level master's degree. Many master degree programs are in the process of converting to the DPT.
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What factors can one use in deciding on a school?
The decision to attend a physical therapy program is a very personal one that must be made on the basis of a variety of factors, including: geographic location and size of the school, cost, class size, faculty composition and cohesiveness (i.e., number of years working together), degree awarded; and design and length of curriculum. In an effort to compare the above factors, you may wish to survey current students and recent graduates of the program and interview employers who hire graduates and ask about program strengths and weaknesses.
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How much do new physical therapists earn?
New graduates from St. Ambrose report earning a mean annual salary of $60,000. Many graduates report a variety of benefits including tuition reimbursement, sign-on bonuses, relocation assistance, professional dues and travel for professional continuing education. Salary varies depending on a number of factors including location, type of facility and experience.
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