What is the structure of the D.P.T. program at NIU?

The program consists of nine consecutive terms, starting in the summer semester of year one and finishing in the spring semester of year three. Coursework consists of a combination of lecture courses, lecture/laboratory courses and clinical experiences.

Why should I consider the D.P.T. program at NIU?

The faculty for the D.P.T. program at NIU take pride in providing a high quality, professional educational experience. The faculty emphasize the development of clinical decision-making skills that are based on current best evidence, as well the development of exception manual skills and the application of therapeutic exercise principles in the examination and treatment of individuals across the lifespan. The D.P.T. program is one of only a few in the country that provides an early introduction to direct patient care, which is done through NIU's Physical Therapy Clinic.

What are the costs of the program?

The total tuition and fees for the program are about $68,000 based on 2019-2020 tuition rates. There are additional costs associated with external clinical experiences (such as for housing), requirements for certain clinical affiliations (such as drug tests) and transportation.

Can I work while in the program?

The program is a full-time day program, requiring a significant amount of out-of-class preparation and study. The faculty ask that you keep that in mind when considering employment during the D.P.T. program. A number of program students do hold jobs during the program.

What clinical experiences are there in the program?

There are two types of clinical experiences within the D.P.T. curriculum. Internal clinical experiences are provided at the Physical Therapy Clinic. Starting in their second semester, students work under faculty supervision to provide direct patient care. The second type of clinical experiences are the external, full-time experiences. There are four of these experiences in the program. The first is a six-week affiliation during the second fall semester. The second is an eight-week affiliation during the summer between the second and third years. The final two clinical experiences, ranging in length from eight to ten weeks, are in the final spring semester.

Do I have to find my own clinical experiences?

No, the program has established contracts with a wide range of clinical facilities. You may recommend that the program develop a contract with a given site and the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education will explore the option. Establishing a contract with a clinical facility can take up to a year.

What does the program consider in its admission process?

Considerations in admission decisions are grades in prerequisite courses, the grade point average for the most 60 recently completed undergraduate credit hours, Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores, references, goal statement, essay responses, and interview results. NIU students do get additional consideration.

What is needed for me to practice as a physical therapist?

Physical therapists are licensed professionals in all states. To be eligible for a license, you must graduate from an accredited professional program, pass the national licensing examination and meet all specific state requirements for licensing.

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