Mount Union to Add Doctor of Physical Therapy

August 19, 2013

ALLIANCE, Ohio — The University of Mount Union Board of Trustees and faculty have approved the addition of a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) to the institution’s degree offerings. The University plans to launch the program in fall 2015, pending the appropriate external approvals.

The proposed three-year program stems from Mount Union’s strategic initiative to build a curriculum for the future, with a particular focus on health-related programs. The program will prepare students to become physical therapists to serve in any areas of the discipline. After researching the medical community’s needs, Mount Union’s program will be distinctive in the area of sport physical therapy and have unique clinical opportunities for students in athletics and fitness. The DPT program also meets the five criteria the University has established for new programs – it is mission compatible, draws sufficient student interest, provides significant career opportunities for graduates, enhances or maintains the current academic profile of the student body and is fiscally responsible.

“The Doctor of Physical Therapy program supports our mission to prepare students for fulfilling lives, meaningful work and responsible citizenship,” said Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of the University. “The employment outlook for physical therapists appears to be excellent and we are confident that our DPT graduates will be prepared for successful careers in the field upon completion of the program.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth in physical therapy will exceed 30% in the next 10 years, making it the 26th fastest growing occupation. More than 56,000 new physical therapy jobs are expected within the next 10 years. Physical therapy is also listed among the Buckeye Top Fifty: 2008-2018 among Ohio’s high wage occupations in demand.

Numerous studies and reports have indicated that physical therapy is a growing profession and that the need for physical therapists is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

“There is clearly going to be a demand for physical therapists nationwide and jobs in the field have proven desirable for graduates,” said Giese. “In fact, CNNMoney recently ranked physical therapy fourth on its list of best jobs in America.”

The proposed program will build on the strengths of Mount Union’s tradition in liberal arts and sciences and will complement the institution’s growing number of healthcare-related programs, including the successful graduate program in physician assistant studies that was launched in 2009 and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which will begin this fall. Mount Union also has strong working relationships with Alliance Community Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, the SPIRE Institute and others, which provide valuable clinical and medical education opportunities for Mount Union students.

“Area clinics and the medical community are supportive of the DPT program and we are working to seek their assistance with the development of the program,” said Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the University. “DPT students will have opportunities to work with numerous area physical therapists and healthcare providers as part of the DPT curriculum.”

The program is searching for a founding director and will be presented to the Ohio Board of Regents, Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

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