Text size:  A  A  A

DPT program receives full re-accreditation

DPT students practice their skills with classmates.
DPT students practice their skills with classmates.
Rebecca Zenefski 10

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has re-accredited St. Catherine University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program through June 30, 2020.

The program was first accredited in 1994, then again in 1999.

“We are excited to be fully re-accredited,” says DPT Program Director Cort Cieminski. “Upon moving from our masters program to a doctoral program in 2003-2004, the program went out on a limb and completely revamped our curriculum model — going from a traditional to an integrated model. Most other physical therapy (PT) programs kept their curriculum intact, added a few courses around the periphery and changed the degree awarded to the DPT.”

St. Kate’s 33-month, year-round program breaks away from more traditional physical therapy curricula by integrating basic and clinical sciences within each course. Case studies and hands-on application are central to the program, encouraging self-reflection and experiential learning.

The faculty’s effort to go the non-traditional route caught CAPTE’s attention. It has commended the St. Kate’s program for its integrated model.

“The model serves us well,” says Cieminski. “We have buy-in from all of our constituents, including students, faculty, administrators, clinical instructors and the community at-large that we impact. So, it’s exciting for the commission to point that out. It’s also very significant because our accrediting body is used to seeing more traditional models of PT education.”

Physical therapy is currently one of the fastest growing areas for employment within the burgeoning healthcare field. Aging baby boomers are largely contributing to the demand. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs for physical therapists — who generally help people rehabilitate from injury, prevent recurrence, and maintain fitness and health — are expected to grow by 31.6 percent in the decade ending in 2016.

In 2008, St. Kate’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program was named among the “Top Physical Therapy Programs” in U.S. News & World Report’s national survey of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” More than 204 accredited DPT programs exist nationwide.

“Re-accreditation means we continue to take high-quality students, and they’re coming to a high-quality program that’s been recognized nationally,” says Cieminski.

May 27, 2010 by Pauline Oo

See also: Healthcare