BGSU launches innovative two-year Doctor of Physical Therapy program, the only of its kind in Ohio

The accelerated, hybrid program is positioned to draw students from around the country and will allow for coursework completion from virtually anywhere

By Michael Bratton

Committed to creating public good and supporting workforce needs, Bowling Green State University has launched an all-new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

The only of its kind in Ohio, the two-year accelerated, hybrid program is positioned to draw students from around the country and will allow for coursework completion from virtually anywhere.

The BGSU DPT program will be housed in the School of Physical Therapy, which was created in June 2020, in the College of Health and Human Services (HHS). Students will complete a majority of their coursework online, but will come to campus twice per semester for hands-on clinical practice.

“We are very excited to finally offer this program,” said Dr. Stephanie Thurmond, school director and associate teaching professor. “This is an excellent program that will attract a diverse population of students from around the country to BGSU, and it will really fulfill a need in physical therapy practice.”

Meeting a critical need

The launch of the DPT degree comes at a time when people are relying heavily on health care providers due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Meanwhile, demand for physical therapists is also set to grow 18% from 2019 through 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The need for physical therapists to help rehabilitate patients recovering from coronavirus-related illness is ever-growing,” Thurmond said. “As experts in movement practice, the goal of a physical therapist is to get patients to the highest level of function they can attain. Patients recovering from COVID-19 are going to need that specialized care, and we can educate our students on how to provide that care upon completion of the DPT program.”

Learning from experienced experts

Students admitted to the DPT program at BGSU will learn from experienced faculty and industry-leading physical therapy practitioners guided by standards set by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Based on those benchmarks, BGSU DPT students will learn how to make appropriate clinical judgments through efficient and effective reasoning, reflection and mindfulness. Courses will focus on Clinical Neuroscience for the Physical Therapist, Health Promotion and Fitness Management, Cardiopulmonary Practice and more.

The University’s DPT program has approval from the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The program is also seeking CAPTE accreditation and will submit a formal application for candidacy on December 1, 2021.

“Students pursuing a DPT degree at BGSU are going to get an engaging and rigorous education,” said Dr. Jim Ciesla, HHS dean. “The University is well-known for producing successful, skilled graduates in health and human services careers. DPT faculty at BGSU are known in their fields, are highly respected and are eager to create public good through well-rounded students.”

Reducing barriers to education

Offering a holistic admissions approach, BGSU is reducing barriers for students looking to enter the physical therapy profession by not requiring the GRE or interviews for its accelerated program.

“We want to provide prospective students an opportunity to get into the field, and we do that by reducing barriers,” said Dr. Jennifer Kish, DPT admissions director and associate clinical professor. “The flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the BGSU DPT program speaks to the University’s mission of keeping education accessible. We value diversity in our student body and our faculty support every student’s academic and career success.”

The accelerated, hybrid format of the BGSU DPT program also reduces overall student cost and the need for relocation, which increases access to underrepresented groups in the physical therapy profession.

Entering the workforce faster

Through the University’s innovative program, students will be able to enter the workforce sooner and earn a salary faster.

Upon passing the licensure exam, graduates will have the opportunity to practice in a variety of settings, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, critical care units and sports and fitness facilities. At present, the average annual salary for entry-level DPT graduates is $85,000.

The BGSU DPT program will welcome its first cohort beginning in Fall 2022, and a program open house is set for Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

“This has been a long time in the making and everyone in the School of Physical Therapy is eager to educate the next generation of physical therapists so they can lead meaningful and productive lives,” Thurmond said.

Related Stories

Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 10/08/2021 08:30AM