About the Physical Therapy Profession

The profession of Physical Therapy promotes optimal human health and function through the application of scientific principles to prevent, identify, assess, correct and alleviate acute or prolonged movement dysfunction. The roles of the physical therapist practitioner in achieving this purpose are multidimensional; they encompass planning and implementing patient care and education, as well as providing consultative and administrative services in the delivery of physical therapy services. The professional also needs knowledge and expertise in directing clinical research and quality-improvement management.

Physical therapists, or PTs, are health care professionals who evaluate and treat people with health problems resulting from injury, disease, or biomechanical dysfunction. Physical therapists are integral members of the primary care team and are involved in the prevention of disability and promotion of positive health. They are also acting consultants in restorative care.

Physical Therapy practice today is based on a well-developed body of scientific and clinical knowledge. Physical therapists apply knowledge from the basic, behavioral, and social sciences. Physical therapists must also demonstrate effective communication skills. Insight and sensitivity to the unique needs of diverse populations are essential to effectively maximize the individual's functional potential in society.

The profession of Physical Therapy promotes optimal human health and function through application of scientific principles to prevent, identify, assess, correct and alleviate acute or prolonged movement dysfunction. The roles of the physical therapist practitioner in achieving this purpose are multidimensional; they encompass planning and implementing patient care and education, as well as providing consultative and administrative services in the delivery of physical therapy services. The professional also needs knowledge and expertise in directing clinical research and quality-improvement management.

Physical Therapy Education

The Department of Physical Therapy offers an entry-level Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The student completes 3 years of study to complete the DPT degree that includes clinical experiences throughout the curriculum.

The DPT program has been approved by the university and by our regional accreditation body or WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges).

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program is a three-year (eight semesters) full-time course of study. Completion of graduate-level course of study leads to the granting of the DPT degree. This new education standard for physical therapy prepares graduates to practice autonomously in preparation for direct access. The DPT is the required degree to become a licensed physical therapist as of 2015. The DPT program focuses on critical thinking strategies that promote effective analysis and interpretation of data in the formulation of treatment alternatives that can achieve predictable functional outcomes in patient management.

Individuals must possess a baccalaureate degree and complete all prerequisite requirements prior to beginning the professional program. Following successful completion of the professional curriculum, the student receives the DPT degree. Completion of a postgraduate internship is required to be eligible to seek a license to practice Physical Therapy in the state of California.

If you are a prospective student, please refer to our Admissions Requirements.  

Click here to view DPT program curriculum matrix

Department Mission and History

Mission Statement

The mission of the department is to graduate a diverse physical therapy practitioner of the highest quality, committed to life-long learning, self-development, and critical inquiry, with the ability to apply researched data and physical evidence in order to function autonomously in current and future culturally sensitive healthcare environments. The professional physical therapy education at Fresno State seeks to stimulate scholarly inquiry and critical thinking, while supporting and encouraging research and its dissemination, to develop future leaders of the profession engaged in the community who will enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for all.

In concert with the American Physical Therapy Association APTA's Vision Statement for the Physical Therapy Profession (2013), we will prepare graduates to examine, evaluate, and establish a diagnosis and prognosis within the scope of physical therapy practice; implement and manage a physical therapy plan of care; and provide a sound rationale for evaluation and treatment procedures, based on a theoretical framework based upon evidence.

APTA Vision Statement

American Physical Therapy Association APTA's Vision Statement for the Physical Therapy Profession (2013):

"Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience."

Department History

The Physical Therapy program at Fresno State University has 30+ years' experience transitioning from a BS degree (1973) program to MPT program in 1993. In 1997, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education granted accreditation for a 3 year Masters in Physical Therapy. In 2000, the Department of Physical Therapy proposed a revised two-year 68 unit MPT degree program. In addition, the program proposed a 124-unit B.S. degree with a pre-Physical Therapy option, which incorporated the prerequisites coursework for the MPT program. These changes enabled the program to develop and identify a larger undergraduate applicant pool, streamline the student's preparation and completion of the MPT program, and bring our program in line with current Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) requirements for post-baccalaureate professional education in Physical Therapy.

In response to the changes in healthcare and increased responsibilities for practicing physical therapists, PT schools nationally began to implement a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. However, as a CSU institution, Fresno State was not able to offer an independent DPT degree program. Therefore, in response to this change, Fresno State University was the second public university to offer the joint professional DPT in California in 2008. Students holding an MPT from Fresno State were given an opportunity to return to Fresno State for an additional 9 months to obtain a DPT.

With a change in the legislation allowing CSU's to offer DPT programs, Fresno State received approval to implement a 3 year entry-level DPT program in fall 2012. With the execution of this program, the undergraduate IHRS program was discontinued and the joint DPT program with the University of California San Francisco will no longer be needed as of spring 2014 since all students graduating from Fresno State will hold a DPT. There is no longer an MPT program at Fresno State.

Accreditation

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at California State University, Fresno is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org ; website: http://www.capteonline.org

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