T Nation

MPT/DPT Schools

So I’ve decided to go back to school after 9 months of unsuccessfully trying to find a job. I plan on getting a Masters (preferable) or Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed learning about so I figured I might as well. That being said, I was wondering if anyone knew of any great MPT schools?

I was looking at Emory and they are highly touted but only offer a Doctoral program from what I can see and I would truly like to get the biggest bang for my buck since I will be taking out student loans. So any thoughts, advice, or information would be greatly appreciated.

What were you trying to find a job in?

Finance industry. I have an undergrad degree in corporate finance with a double minor in accounting and economics.

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:
Finance industry. I have an undergrad degree in corporate finance with a double minor in accounting and economics. [/quote]

…So you’re looking to go into the finance industry and see no problem with taking out huge student loans to satisfy a hobby?

Oh boy…

If you truly want to do Physical Therapy, I strongly advise finding a direct admission program. This means right from the get go you are accepted into graduate school.

Saint Louis University, Marquette, Wash U (I believe), Bradley, and St. Ambrose are all school that do this off the top of my head. I currently go to SLU for PT, and am a junior. If you need further information, shoot me a PM and I’ll try to help.

Maybe just a terminology misunderstanding, but so you know, the Masters degree has been phased out. DPT is currently the standard, title being doctor of physical therapy. It is usually a 36 month program. PhDs can still be obtained afterward.

Emory does offer a 36 month DPT. If you are very serious, definitely visit some schools. The online ratings aren’t always the most reliable. When I was looking (about 4 years ago), Washington in St. Louis and Pitt were my top choices.

Emory is very good also. You shouldn’t need the 5-6 year direct admit programs since you have already completed your undergrad. You may need to fill in a couple of prerequisite courses, but after that you can probably go anywhere. Schools do like a unique background, your finance experience might even help as long as your reasoning for the PT career choice is solid.

Often there is a requirement for a short amount of clinical time though. Pitt required 100 hours shadowing, and letters of reference from PTs were strongly recommended.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
LiquidMercury wrote:
Finance industry. I have an undergrad degree in corporate finance with a double minor in accounting and economics.

…So you’re looking to go into the finance industry and see no problem with taking out huge student loans to satisfy a hobby?

Oh boy…[/quote]

No I’m looking at going into another industry…I am looking at practicing as a PT, hoping that my degree and education in business will allow me to move up quickly within the structure of a PT center and allow me to manage it (eventual open my own).

[quote]Ovation wrote:
Maybe just a terminology misunderstanding, but so you know, the Masters degree has been phased out. DPT is currently the standard, title being doctor of physical therapy. It is usually a 36 month program. PhDs can still be obtained afterward. Emory does offer a 36 month DPT. If you are very serious, definitely visit some schools. The online ratings aren’t always the most reliable. When I was looking (about 4 years ago), Washington in St. Louis and Pitt were my top choices. Emory is very good also. You shouldn’t need the 5-6 year direct admit programs since you have already completed your undergrad. You may need to fill in a couple of prerequisite courses, but after that you can probably go anywhere. Schools do like a unique background, your finance experience might even help as long as your reasoning for the PT career choice is solid. Often there is a requirement for a short amount of clinical time though. Pitt required 100 hours shadowing, and letters of reference from PTs were strongly recommended. [/quote]

Hmm from what I had found on google and talked to a friend currently in a graduate program, is that they are currently phasing out MPT and moving to DPT but it will not be the standard until 2020. That being said, I am willing to do the doctoral program if that is what everyone thinks is the best way to go. As far as Emory goes, I have missed the admission deadline for this year (Jan 31) so I am going to have to look at another program I suppose. I do not believe I need to do a direct admit program as you pointed out since I do have my undergrad. If I go the route of just apply for a graduate program, how would I go about getting the 100 hours of shadowing hours/clincial hours? Would I just ask a local PT if I could shadow so that I might ascertain a DPT later on? Basically I need to get all my ducks in a row. So far this is what I have on my list of things to do:

Take GRE
Get Transcripts/Application paperwork in order
Get Financial Aid in order i.e. loans if necessary and whatever else might be needed

Now am I correct in assuming that the shadowing hours are mandatory to apply? Or will they just go a very long way in helping me get there?

The hours will help immensely.

Have you taken Gross Anatomy, Basic Anatomy, Basic Physiology, and Exercise Physiology?

The hours will help immensely. For some schools, St. Ambrose for example, you had to have at least 50 when applying senior year in high school to get into their program.

And yeah, all I did for them was explain why I wanted to observe to a Physical Therapy department in a hospital and set up a weekly schedule with them.

Have you taken Gross Anatomy, Basic Anatomy, Basic Physiology, and Exercise Physiology?

[quote]dreads989 wrote:
The hours will help immensely. For some schools, St. Ambrose for example, you had to have at least 50 when applying senior year in high school to get into their program.

And yeah, all I did for them was explain why I wanted to observe to a Physical Therapy department in a hospital and set up a weekly schedule with them.

Have you taken Gross Anatomy, Basic Anatomy, Basic Physiology, and Exercise Physiology?[/quote]

I have not taken those classes. Looking at the Emory program which is the one I will go to should I get in (unless I can find one that starts in fall semester that hasn’t had a deadline pass for applications) I will need physics as well. This summer I will be taking all the above classes just to make sure I have them as I know pretty much every program will want me to of taken them. As I said I am not applying for an undergrad program but a graduate program so not sure if the hours are truly important, or more important for that matter?

As a physical therapist for the past 9 years let me offer a few suggestions.

  1. Find a school in the area you eventually want to practice in. This will help tremendously with networking to land a job.

  2. A very close second is find the cheapest school you can. Most everything you do in physical therapy is learned on the job. The school only provides you with the means for sitting for the national exam. No sense taking on a boat load of debt to go to the “best” PT school.

  3. When looking at schools MPT vs DPT remember that it really doesn’t matter. When you get out of school you will almost certainly be working for someone (owner, supervisor) that only has a BS in PT. The MPT and DPT programs just offer more with the business aspects. The basics have to be offered at both levels as they were when it was only a BS degree. Remember, you don’t really learn much in school just the basics (anatomy, phys, neurology, etc). Again, see above regarding the fact that school only serves to allow you to sit for the national exam. Personally, I only have a post-bac BS in PT (I was the last year of the BS before MPT) along with a BS in psychology, BS in athletic training (no ATC), MS in exercise physiology and CSCS.

  4. Start to shadow to get hours. Most every school needs them to apply. Also, find therapist that graduated from the school you want to attend, their recommedations carry a lot more weight.

I have been practicing 9 years in a sportsmed facility. This is an actual sportsmed facility with high school and college athletes as well as higher level weekend warriors. I treat a ton of ACL repairs, cuff repairs, SLAP repairs, menisectomies, etc. I am very fortunate that I don’t have to deal with pain in the ass chronic back pain or neck pain or any other chronic pain complaints from piles of shit who have no motivation to improve!! Keep this in mind, as most jobs in PT are in general outpatient therapy (chronic pain, etc) or nursing home (I work nursing home on the weekend because the money is easy, but I could never do it for 40hrs a week).

Physical therapy is definitely not what I would have chosen 9 years ago if I had known what type of people I could potentially have to work with. As I said I am very fortunate to be in a strictly sportsmed facility but hearing from several of my old classmates makes me realize how fortunate I am because they hate the clientel they have to work with.

Regarding owning your own facility, insurance re-imbursements have essentially killed this idea for most therapists as you would need a large staff to support the volume needed. Or, you wind up having to work with markets you have no interest in (worker’s compensation, women’s health, etc). Also, a lot of hospitals require/strongly encourage their surgeons/doctors to refer to their hospital owned therapy services. They call in “revenue leakage” when clients see their surgeons/doctors but then choose to go somewhere else.

[quote]74 wrote:
As a physical therapist for the past 9 years let me offer a few suggestions.

  1. Find a school in the area you eventually want to practice in. This will help tremendously with networking to land a job.

  2. A very close second is find the cheapest school you can. Most everything you do in physical therapy is learned on the job. The school only provides you with the means for sitting for the national exam. No sense taking on a boat load of debt to go to the “best” PT school.

  3. When looking at schools MPT vs DPT remember that it really doesn’t matter. When you get out of school you will almost certainly be working for someone (owner, supervisor) that only has a BS in PT. The MPT and DPT programs just offer more with the business aspects. The basics have to be offered at both levels as they were when it was only a BS degree. Remember, you don’t really learn much in school just the basics (anatomy, phys, neurology, etc). Again, see above regarding the fact that school only serves to allow you to sit for the national exam. Personally, I only have a post-bac BS in PT (I was the last year of the BS before MPT) along with a BS in psychology, BS in athletic training (no ATC), MS in exercise physiology and CSCS.

  4. Start to shadow to get hours. Most every school needs them to apply. Also, find therapist that graduated from the school you want to attend, their recommedations carry a lot more weight.

I have been practicing 9 years in a sportsmed facility. This is an actual sportsmed facility with high school and college athletes as well as higher level weekend warriors. I treat a ton of ACL repairs, cuff repairs, SLAP repairs, menisectomies, etc. I am very fortunate that I don’t have to deal with pain in the ass chronic back pain or neck pain or any other chronic pain complaints from piles of shit who have no motivation to improve!! Keep this in mind, as most jobs in PT are in general outpatient therapy (chronic pain, etc) or nursing home (I work nursing home on the weekend because the money is easy, but I could never do it for 40hrs a week).

Physical therapy is definitely not what I would have chosen 9 years ago if I had known what type of people I could potentially have to work with. As I said I am very fortunate to be in a strictly sportsmed facility but hearing from several of my old classmates makes me realize how fortunate I am because they hate the clientel they have to work with.

Regarding owning your own facility, insurance re-imbursements have essentially killed this idea for most therapists as you would need a large staff to support the volume needed. Or, you wind up having to work with markets you have no interest in (worker’s compensation, women’s health, etc). Also, a lot of hospitals require/strongly encourage their surgeons/doctors to refer to their hospital owned therapy services. They call in “revenue leakage” when clients see their surgeons/doctors but then choose to go somewhere else. [/quote]

Thanks for the info. It is definitely eye-opening. Ideally i would like to remain in Atlanta (where I currently reside) hence why Emory seemed like a good idea and the fact that they are very highly touted it would seem. That being said, if I’m looking for a cheap alternative in the Southeast preferably, do you have any recommendations as to schools?

In regards to sportsmed, how do you get involved in that? What you do sounds exactly like what I want to do and not so much outpatient work. Is there any “proven road” so to speak of how to get involved in that?

Thanks again for all the info from everyone.

Depending on when you went to school, some of your classes might not transfer over. So you might be looking at taking some General Ed classes along with science stuff. DPT is tough but doable. Its what I looked into when I was graduating school, but decided not to go into it after working in a hospital.

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:
74 wrote:

Thanks for the info. It is definitely eye-opening. Ideally i would like to remain in Atlanta (where I currently reside) hence why Emory seemed like a good idea and the fact that they are very highly touted it would seem. That being said, if I’m looking for a cheap alternative in the Southeast preferably, do you have any recommendations as to schools?

In regards to sportsmed, how do you get involved in that? What you do sounds exactly like what I want to do and not so much outpatient work. Is there any “proven road” so to speak of how to get involved in that?

Thanks again for all the info from everyone.[/quote]

I really don’t know about schools in the south. I was fortunate enough to land a volunteer/shadow position with my current employer through my college athletic trainer. I spent 2 years+ volunteering when I could while an undergrad. During PT school, my current employer actually tracked me down through the same athletic trainer to offer me a job. Like I said, I am fortunate to have the job I do. On top of it all, I get paid very well…more than my boss when I lived in a much larger city without any of the managerial headaches, just see clients and go home!!!

Finding such a situation is difficult, I looked at over 15 facilities in the larger city and never found what I had here (I was here for 3 years, gone for 2 years, back for past 4 years). The best I can offer is look in the yellow pages for sportsmed clinics. Go check them out. Just by seeing the facility you may be able see if it is a fit for you (equipment, therapists, clients, etc). If it fits, offer to volunteer. Most places will take volunteers that are looking to attend PT school.

As stated in other posts, check to make sure you have all the pre-requisites. This has changed a lot as the education has moved from BS to MPT to DPT. You may have to do a significant amount of coursework before you even can apply. The course I am seeing required a lot is gross anatomy, which is sometimes very difficult to take on it owns (not academically, just tough to find it offered). Probably, the best course you will take in all of PT school though.

Yah I have found a few pre-reqs I’ll need to take at least if I apply to Emory. I’ll check some other programs that I might be able to get into and see what else I might need.