Physical Therapy — D.P.T. (Entry Level)

Program director
Lawrence E. Chinnock

Directors of clinical education
Henry Garcia
Theresa Joseph

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree is for individuals who have no previous degree in physical therapy or who have an associate's degree in the field of physical therapy. The D.P.T. degree curriculum lasts for three years. Individuals must have an earned bachelor degree in any field prior to entering the program.

Clinical experience

Supervised experience is obtained in a variety of settings and at different times during the course of study. First-year students complete a four-week clinical experience during the spring module. Second-year students complete a four-week clinical experience following the spring module. The major clinical experiences are during the third year. Student are assigned experiences as follows: 12 weeks during the autumn module, 11 weeks during the winter module, and 10 weeks during the spring module.

The director of clinical education (or a designee) plans and schedules all clinical assignments. Because of the limited number of local facilities available, assignments cannot be made on the basis of the student's family/marital status or personal preference. Although the department makes an effort to accommodate the student's preference, the student agrees to accept the clinical assignments made by the department at any of the affiliated facilities, whether local or out of state. Students should expect that at least one rotation will be beyond commuting distance from Loma Linda University. Many clinical sites will require the student to have a current flu vaccine if the rotation is during flu season. Therefore, the University requires that all students receive the flu vaccine on a yearly basis.

Program learning outcomes

Upon completion of the degree, the graduate should be able to:

  1. Conduct a safe and effective physical therapy practice;
  2. Demonstrate compassion and respect during interactions with individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds;
  3. Think critically and integrate evidence-based practice into their clinical decision-making skill set;
  4. Apply ethical and legal parameters surrounding the profession of physical therapy;
  5. Provide evidence-based clinical care utilizing collaborative relationships among the patient, physical therapist, and other health-care practitioners;
  6. Make use of effective verbal and nonverbal communication with instructors, classmates, and clinical personnel as needed to work effectively as a member of a health-care team.

Professional association

Students and graduates are eligible for membership in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The objective of the association is to foster development and improvement of service and education. This organization grants student membership at a nominal cost to students in member schools. The student is required to become a member of this association while in the program, and is encouraged to read the journal and attend the APTA-sponsored meetings.

Professional registration

Satisfactory completion of the entry-level D.P.T. degree requirements qualifies the student to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination. Information about the state registries of physical therapists can be obtained at the office of the department chair. All states require that a physical therapist pass the national qualifying examination for license to practice. A California application form and fee are submitted to the Physical Therapy Board of California, 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2600, Sacramento, CA 95815; telephone: 916-561-8200; website: <http://www.ptbc.ca.gov/>.

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Loma Linda University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 800/999-2782; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: <http://www.capteonline.org>.

Admission is based on a selective process. Criteria used include: G.P.A., completion of subject requirements, interview, and recommendations. In addition to Loma Linda University and School of Allied Health Professions admissions requirements, the applicant must also complete the following requirements:

  • an earned bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited college or university
  • a minimum prerequisite G.P.A. of 3.4
  • anatomy and physiology, complete sequence with laboratory
  • general chemistry, complete sequence with laboratory
  • general physics, complete sequence with laboratory
  • two additional biological science courses (e.g. cell biology, microbiology, exercise physiology, upper division anatomy and/or physiology,)
  • statistics
  • medical terminology
  • general psychology
  • human growth and development (developmental psychology, child psychology)
  • one course in basic communication (speech)
  • work/observation experience—A minimum of 80 hours of work /observation experience is required prior to beginning the degree. Of the 80 hours, a minimum of 20 hours must be in an inpatient physical therapy setting and a minimum of 20 hours must be in an outpatient physical therapy setting.

  • GRE

Technology requirement

Students are required to have an iPad that can be brought to class with them as the majority of quizzes and tests are completed on the device.  A $65 technology fee is charged each year.

First YearUnits
AHCJ 510Human Gross Anatomy9
AHCJ 705Infectious Disease and the Health Care Provider1
AHCJ 7211Wholeness Portfolio I1
PHTH 505Integrated Clinical Experience1
PHTH 506Exercise Physiology3
PHTH 508PT Communication and Documentation2
PHTH 509Biophysical Agents3
PHTH 510Kinesiology3
PHTH 513Therapeutic Procedures3
PHTH 514Manual Muscle Testing3
PHTH 516Histology2
PHTH 519Locomotion Studies3
PHTH 521AOrthopaedics 1A3
PHTH 528Therapeutic Exercise I3
PHTH 539Integrative Physiology4
PHTH 557Pediatrics I3
PHTH 563Research I2
PHTH 564Research II1
PHTH 565Research III1
PHTH 566Pathology4
PHTH 568Integrative Neueroanatomy4
PHTH 569Clinical Neurology2
PHTH 571Short Clinical Experience I2
PHTH 586Orthotics and Prosthetics2
RELE 707Ethics for Allied Health Professionals2
RELR 775Whole Person Care2
RELT 718Adventist Heritage and Health2
Second Year
AHCJ 722Wholeness Portfolio II1
PHTH 501Neurology I3
PHTH 502Neurology II3
PHTH 503Neurology III3
PHTH 505Integrated Clinical Experience1
PHTH 511Clinical Orthopaedics2
PHTH 512Clinical Psychiatry2
PHTH 517Movement Science2
PHTH 518Aspects of Health Promotion2
PHTH 521BOrthopaedics 1B3
PHTH 522Orthopaedics II3
PHTH 523Orthopaedics III3
PHTH 525General Medicine3
PHTH 526ACardiopulmonary I3
PHTH 526BCardiopulmonary II3
PHTH 530Therapeutic Exercise II3
PHTH 534Soft Tissue Techniques2
PHTH 540Concepts of Acute Care2
PHTH 555Medical Screening2
PHTH 558Pediatrics II3
PHTH 559Geriatrics2
PHTH 561Physical Therapy Administration4
PHTH 575Orthopaedics IV1
PHTH 587Pharmacology2
PHTH 595Clinical Imaging3
PHTH 597Specialized Interventions in Physical Therapy2
RELT 740World Religions and Human Health3
Third Year
PHTH 504Neurology IV1
PHTH 572Short Clinical Experience II2
PHTH 596Orthopaedics V3
PHTH 701Long Clinical Experience I5
PHTH 702Long Clinical Experience II5
PHTH 703Long Clinical Experience III5
 Total Units: 158

Noncourse requirement

Program completion and eligibility to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) is dependent on successful completion of all coursework and passing a final comprehensive examination.

Normal time to complete the program

Three (3) years (12 academic quarters) — full-time enrollment required