California Law blocks DPT at four state schools

therapy legislation

Buzz in the PT blogosphere points to the popularity and acceptance of the physical therapy doctorate or DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) professional degree. The American Physical Therapy Association is pushing to make the DPT the entry-level credential for physical therapy jobs by year 2020 and hundreds of PT schools across America have implemented DPT programs.

In fact, 98 percent of the nation's physical therapy programs offer Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees, Dr. Sheryl Low, associate professor and department chair of physical therapy at CSUN (California State University Northbridge) told California's Daily Sundial.*

Professor Low teaches Physical Therapy at one of the last four colleges in the Continental U.S. that has yet to transition from the Master's in Physical Therapy to the DPT. All four operate under the California State University System.

Why can't CSU get Physical Therapy Doctorate accreditation?

California's "Master Plan" for higher education has prevented CSU schools from making the transition to the DPT, which lawmakers say will force Physical Therapy students out of state to obtain their degree.

Under the Master Plan, CSU schools are prohibited in awarding doctorates of any type, as state law confines doctoral graduates to the University of California post-secondary educational system- schools granted doctoral exclusivity by the state's Donahoe Higher Education Act.

Lawmakers are also concerned that without expanding DPT offerings in the state, demand for physical therapy doctorates may outstrip supply; causing Californians to import DPT graduates from other states to perform critical physical therapy jobs.

DPT reform has passed in the California State Assembly and is headed to the State Senate for consideration

No date has been set for a vote in the Senate. But Assembly Bill 2382 aimed at reforming DPT restrictions has recently passed in the State Assembly 75 to 1, a victory for CSU educators and physical therapy students.

Assemblyman, Bob Blumenfield, said legislation needs to be passed by 2013 in order for CSU campuses to continue taking DPT admissions for the academic year 2013-2014.*

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