Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program

Earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and pursue a career helping people of all ages restore mobility so they can live full lives.

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

36 Months

Obtain your DPT degree in 36 months

133 Credits

Earn 133 credits to complete your DPT program

3 Internships

Complete three end-of-program clinical internships prior to graduating

DPT Program Highlights

Support and Guidance

Theory put into action through enriching simulations and hands-on clinical experiences

16,000 square feet of learning space designed for graduate students, including industry-current medical equipment

Your Success

Ongoing career support after graduation through WCU’s Career Services team

Interprofessional education so you learn alongside students in other healthcare disciplines

Why Choose WCU’s DPT Program in Los Angeles?

Our Doctor of Physical Therapy program provides a student-centric education that prepares you for caring, innovative, interdisciplinary, and evidence-based approaches to patient-centered care.

In addition to classroom learning and simulations that mimic real-life treatment scenarios, as a DPT student at WCU, you will complete three full-time, end-of-program clinical internships (totaling 48 weeks) that help ensure you are equipped to work in a range of clinical settings.

Explore the DPT program at WCU!

Overview: Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Program Details

Program Pace

On-Campus

133 Credits

36 Months

9 Trimesters

Curriculum
Course NumberCourse NameTotal Credit Hours
NumberNameHours
PT 700Physical Therapy Professionalism2
PT 701Foundation Sciences: Human Anatomy4
PT 704Clinical Skills I: Foundations of Physical Therapy Practice4
PT 706Ethicolegal Issues in Healthcare and IPE Collaboration3
PT 707Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I5
PT 708Cardiopulmonary and Vascular Physical Therapy3
PT 710The Socio-Cultural Aspects of Human Interaction2
PT 712Neuromuscular Physical Therapy I5
PT 713Foundation Sciences: Neuroscience I3
PT 714Clinical Skills II: Physical Therapy Examination3
PT 716Critical Inquiry: Research Methods and Biostatistics3
PT 717Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy II5
PT 728Evidence-Based Concepts of Musculoskeletal Imaging2
PT 719Physical Therapy Experience5
PT 720Foundation Sciences: Applied Biomechanics2
PT 722Neuromuscular Physical Therapy II5
PT 723Interprofessional Healthcare1
PT 724Clinical Skills III: Therapeutic Exercise and Physical Agents4
PT 725Evidence-Based Practice I2
PT 726Foundational Sciences: Kinesiology/Pathomechanics4
PT 729Clinical Internship I13
PT 730Introduction to Management2
PT 731Foundation Sciences: Physiology/Histology4
PT 732Pharmacotherapy3
PT 734Clinical Skills IV: Physical Therapy Evaluation I: Focused Guidance3
PT 735Evidence-Based Practice II2
PT 739Clinical Internship II13
PT 740Prosthetics and Orthotics2
PT 743Foundation Sciences: Neuroscience II3
PT 744Clinical Skills V: Physical Therapy Evaluation II: Independent Evaluation3
PT 749Clinical Internship III 13
PT 751Foundation Sciences: Pathophysiology3
Total Credits131
Students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program must choose one (1) elective.
PT 780Advanced Physical Therapy Research2
PT 781Advanced Orthopedic Physical Therapy2
PT 782Advanced Neuromuscular Physical Therapy2
PT 783Advanced Pediatric Physical Therapy2
PT 784Advanced Cross-Cultural Service Learning2
Total Credit Hours133
Tuition & Financial Aid

How Much Does the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Cost?

We know school is a substantial commitment. At WCU, we want to equip you with all the information you need to make the right decision for your future.

Our goal is to give you a clear understanding of DPT tuition costs so you can be well-informed as you navigate the application and enrollment process. To assist you in your decision, we provide a breakdown below of the DPT program costs at West Coast University.

We offer several financial aid options — including scholarships, grants, and loan access — to help support you through your studies.

For more information about your financial support options, visit our financial aid page.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Tuition and Fees
Degree Type Doctorate
Total Program Credits133
Program Length (Full-time)9 trimesters
Tuition Cost (per credit)$882
Total Tuition Cost
$117,306
Application Fee (non-refundable)$0
STRF Fee1 (non-refundable)$307.50
EstimatedTotal Book Costs3$3,848
Estimated Total Book Shipping Cost2$385
Estimate for Uniforms Fees2$300
Estimate for Supplies & Licensure Preparation Fees2$0
Technology Fee3 ($100 per trimester)$900
Estimated Total Program Costs$123,046.50

 

Indirect Costs

8 Month Academic Year4
with parentsoff campus
Loan Fees$220 $220
Course Materials (Personal Electronic Device-1st year only)
$1,000$1,000
Living Expenses (Food & Housing)$3,552$11,840
Transportation$2,456$2,456
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses$8,048$8,048
Total

$15,276

$23,564

1Effective April 1, 2022, the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) assessment rate will be two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of institutional charges.

The State of California established the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) to relieve or mitigate economic loss suffered by a student in an educational program at a qualifying institution, who is or was a California resident while enrolled, or was enrolled in a residency program, if the student enrolled in the institution, prepaid tuition, and suffered an economic loss. Unless relieved of the obligation to do so, you must pay the state-imposed assessment for the STRF, or it must be paid on your behalf, if you are a student in an educational program, who is a California resident, or are enrolled in a residency program, and prepay all or part of your tuition.

You are not eligible for protection from the STRF and you are not required to pay the STRF assessment, if you are not a California resident, or are not enrolled in a residency program.

It is important that you keep copies of your enrollment agreement, financial aid documents, receipts, or any other information that documents the amount paid to the school. Questions regarding the STRF may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, 1747 N. Market Blvd. Ste 225 Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 431-6959 or (888) 370-7589.

To be eligible for STRF, you must be a California resident or enrolled in a residency program, prepaid tuition, paid or deemed to have paid the STRF assessment, and suffered an economic loss as a result of any of the following:

  1. The institution, a location of the institution, or an educational program offered by the institution was closed or discontinued, and you did not choose to participate in a teach-out plan approved by the Bureau or did not complete a chosen teach-out plan approved by the Bureau.
  2. You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution within the 120-day period before the closure of the institution or location of the institution or were enrolled in an educational program within the 120-day period before the program was discontinued.
  3. You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution more than 120 days before the closure of the institution or location of the institution, in an educational program offered by the institution as to which the Bureau determined there was a significant decline in the quality or value of the program more than 120 days before closure.
  4. The institution has been ordered to pay a refund by the Bureau but has failed to do so.
  5. The institution has failed to pay or reimburse loan proceeds under a federal student loan program as required by law or has failed to pay or reimburse proceeds received by the institution in excess of tuition and other costs.
  6. You have been awarded restitution, a refund, or other monetary award by an arbitrator or court, based on a violation of this chapter by an institution or representative of an institution, but have been unable to collect the award from the institution.
  7. You sought legal counsel that resulted in the cancellation of one or more of your student loans and have an invoice for services rendered and evidence of the cancellation of the student loan or loans.

To qualify for STRF reimbursement, the application must be received within four (4) years from the date of the action or event that made the student eligible for recovery from STRF.

A student whose loan is revived by a loan holder or debt collector after a period of noncollection may, at any time, file a written application for recovery from STRF for the debt that would have otherwise been eligible for recovery. If it has been more than four (4) years since the action or event that made the student eligible, the student must have filed a written application for recovery within the original four (4) year period, unless the period has been extended by another act of law.

However, no claim can be paid to any student without a social security number or a taxpayer identification number.

2 The Estimate for Book, Uniform, and Supply fees reflect the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price totals compiled in January 2022 and are subject to change. Supplies become student purchases once issued to student. Students who drop or have been dismissed after supplies have been issued will assume ownership for these items and will not be eligible for refunds. For details on all of the supplies, contact the Bursar Office.

3 Technology Fee includes student technical support, Office 365, blended and online course delivery/learning management system, mobile app, student portal technology and access, and required electronic course materials/software. 

4  The purpose of the Cost of Attendance (COA) is to provide students and families with an estimated cost to attend West Coast University. The COA includes both direct and indirect cost estimates. Direct costs are paid directly to West Coast University and are shown separately for each program. Indirect costs are not paid to West Coast University and are estimates students may use to budget expenses they may incur while attending school. While actual indirect costs may vary, West Coast University estimates these amounts based on the number of months in an academic year and whether students will live with parents or off campus.

Note 1: Students who wish to take Challenge Exams will be subject to a fee of $100 for each Challenge exam. Please see the campus Bursar Office for a full price listing.

Note 2: Course Audits - If a course(s) is being audited. Credits for these course(s) will be included for the student's schedule status for courses taken by semester. Audit course fees will be incurred by program, based on these schedule statuses shown above.

Note 3: Applicants are conditionally accepted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program until a non-refundable $250.00 good faith payment for a Seat Deposit has been submitted. The Seat Deposit is not a separate charge but will be credited to the program costs should the student not cancel their enrollment. The University will retain the full amount of this deposit should the student cancel their enrollment at any time, for any reason. Seat Deposits may be paid by credit card, debit card, money order, or cashier's check made payable to West Coast University. A Seat Deposit will be collected for each enrollment and cannot be applied to or carried over to enrollments for other programs or start terms. At their discretion, the Executive Director may refund the full Seat Deposit for unusual or unexpected circumstances that would warrant a full refund.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program must:

  1. Have obtained a bachelor’s degree and specific prerequisite courses from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. Applicants must have achieved a minimum 3.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) in the last 60 semester units at the undergraduate level, and a minimum 3.0 GPA in program prerequisite courses (from accredited universities) within the last ten years and with a grade of a C or better.
  3. Required prerequisite courses:
    • One (1) course in Statistics (three semester credit hours).
    • One (1) course in Human Anatomy (four semester credit hours including a lab, for science majors).
    • One (1) course in Human physiology (four semester credit hours including a lab, for science majors).
    • Two (2) courses in Physics (four semester credit hours each including labs, for science majors).
    • Two (2) courses in Chemistry (four semester credit hours each including labs, for science majors).
    • One (1) course in biology (at least three semester credit hours).
    • Six semester credit hours in the behavioral sciences (Life span development is one of the preferred courses).
  4. Applicants must take the GRE and provide evidence of completion. Please submit your official GRE scores through ETS to institution/school code 4358. The GRE must have been completed within the last 5 years (GRE scores are reportable for 5 years following the test date).
  5. Applicants must provide signed proof of having achieved 40 hours of clinical observation in a clinical setting.
  6. Applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation (one from a faculty member and one from a physical therapist).
  7. Applicants must have an interview with the Admissions Committee.
  8. Submit a completed application for admission with all admissions requirements through the Centralized Application Service for Physical Therapy system (PTCAS).

Additional Requirement

One (1) course in Medical Terminology (certificate acceptable as well) – this is a requirement based upon acceptance into the program, not a prerequisite.

For more information on admission requirements, please visit our online catalog.

For questions about admissions, please contact:
Admissions Department
(323) 284-4376
Send an email

Academic Calendar

Academic terms begin in Spring, Summer, and Fall. To see a list of term start and completion dates, view the Academic Calendar.

Additional Information

Our Philosophy

The mission of West Coast University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to provide a student-centric education that helps prepare graduates for caring, innovative, interdisciplinary, evidence-based approaches to patient-centered care.

Our Mission

The mission of West Coast University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is to provide a student-centric education that prepares graduates for caring, innovative, interdisciplinary, evidence-based approaches to patient-centered care.

Program Learning Outcomes

Each student will have the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors in order to:

  • Provide professional physical therapy services to diverse populations consistent with American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) standards
  • Perform autonomous entry-level physical therapy skills in a safe manner
  • Facilitate culturally sensitive communication using consultative and collaborative skills as a part of the healthcare team
  • Design evidence-based physical therapy treatment plans using clinical reasoning for optimal patient-centered care
  • Exercise professional conduct that is consistent with the ethical and legal practice of physical therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy Financial Fact Sheet

West Coast University is accredited by WASC Senior College of University Commission (WSCUC), an institutional accreditating body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

1001 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 402
Alameda, California 94501
510-748-9001
www.wscuc.org

Programmatic Accreditation

Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at West Coast University’s Center for Graduate Studies is accredited through 2032 by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 323-300-5155 or email BNithman@westcoastuniversity.edu

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 323.454.5068 or email CGSGradAdmissions@westcoastuniversity.edu

CAPTE has a mechanism to consider formal complaints about physical therapy education programs that allege a program is not in compliance with one or more of CAPTE’s Evaluative Criteria or has violated any of CAPTE’s expectations related to academic integrity. (www.capteonline.org/Complaints)

In reviewing and acting on a complaint, CAPTE cannot and does not function as an arbiter between the complaint and the institution. Should CAPTE find that a complaint has merit and that the program is out of compliance with the Evaluative Criteria or the integrity statement(s), CAPTE can only require the program to come into compliance with the Evaluative Criteria. CAPTE cannot force a program into any specific resolution of the situation that resulted in the complaint.

Students or other interested parties may file a formal complaint about a PT program with CAPTE at any time. To obtain the materials necessary for submitting a complaint, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at (703) 706-3245 or email accreditation@apta.org.

Graduation Rate2

For the class of 2020 and 2021, the two-year average graduation rate is 98.8%.

Graduation YearGraduation Rate
Class of 202197.7%
Class of 2020100%

NPTE Pass Rates (As of August 2022)

For the class of 2020 and 2021, the two-year average first-time pass rate is 80.9%. The two-year average ultimate pass rate is 96.4%.

Graduation YearGroupNumber of CandidatesNumber of Passing CandidatesPass Rate
Grad. YearGroupNum. of CandidatesNum. of Passing CandidatesRate
2021First Time433274.4%
2021Ultimate434195.3%
2020First Time403587.5%
2020Ultimate403997.5%

Employment Rate4

For the class of 2020 and 2021, the two-year average employment rate is 95%.

Graduation YearEmployment Rate
202195%
202095%

The above data are based on the program accreditor’s (CAPTE) standards and definitions.

 1 Graduation Rate: The percentage of graduates who are matriculated in the first course in the professional program after the drop/add period and who complete the program.

2 Pass Rate: The percentage of graduates who take and successfully pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). First-Time Pass Rate is the percentage of students in a graduation class that took the NPTE and passed on their first attempt. The Ultimate Pass Rate is the percentage of students in a graduation class that took the NPTE and passed, no matter how many attempts it took.

3 Employment Rate: The percentage of graduates who were employed (full-time or part-time) as a physical therapist within one year following graduation.

At West Coast University, we believe that our buildings — just like every other aspect of the university — must support, promote, and encourage student success and academic excellence. Students learn skills and procedures using a wide range of modern equipment provided for our physical therapy program.

The physical therapy program is based at the Center for Graduate Studies (CGS) campus, located at 590 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90004. This 80,000-square-foot facility houses the departments of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pharmacy.

The physical therapy program has approximately 16,000 square feet of space, including classrooms, a skills clinic, dedicated laboratories, a faculty and student research lab, and private study rooms for individuals or groups. Students practice using industry-current equipment to help prepare them for real-world application.

A rehabilitative ultrasound imaging unit is available for student- and faculty-directed research as well as improving clinical information instruction. All didactic classrooms and labs contain fully integrated computer/video systems; Wi-Fi enabled, interactive whiteboards; and overhead projectors.

Lecture Classroom

Dedicated lecture classrooms have ergonomic chairs, outlet placements for laptops, an integrated computer/video system, an interactive whiteboard, and overhead projector, and additional flat-screens on room pillars for added student visual comfort.

Teaching Laboratory

Dedicated teaching laboratory areas are equipped with an integrated computer/video system, interactive whiteboard, overhead projector, and adjustable hi-lo tables for optimal ergonomic positions for presentations and laboratory techniques and procedures. Labs are equipped with cameras with the ability to record practical examinations, instructor techniques, content for group/class participation, discussion, and feedback.

Research Laboratory

The research laboratory is a space of approximately 1,160 square feet that will support the scholarly agenda of the core faculty.

Skills Clinic

The CGS campus has a dedicated skills clinic for students to learn the physical therapy diagnosis and therapeutic approaches to patient care with the use of an integrated computer/video system. The skills clinic is essential for helping students prepare to become entry-level autonomous practitioners.

Physical therapy is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. Students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors needed throughout the physical therapist’s career. Those abilities that physical therapists must possess to practice safely are reflected in the technical standards that follow.

For successful completion of degree requirements, students must be able to meet minimum technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation.

Observation Skills

Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, and somatic sensations, as well as the use of common sense. Students must have visual perception, which includes depth and acuity. A student must be able to observe lectures, laboratory dissection of cadavers, and lecture and laboratory demonstrations. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, observe digital and waveform readings and other graphic images to determine the patient’s condition, and obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian.

Examples in which these observational skills are required include palpation of peripheral pulses, bony prominences and ligamentous structures, visual and tactile evaluation for areas of inflammation, and visual and tactile assessment of the presence and degree of edema. A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals.

Communication Skills

Communication includes speech, language, reading, writing, and computer literacy. Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively. They must be able to convey a sense of compassion and empathy with patients to elicit information regarding mood and activities, as well as to perceive non-verbal communications.

Physical therapy education presents exceptional challenges in the volume and breadth of required reading and the necessity to impart information to others. Students must be able to communicate quickly, effectively, and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the healthcare team. Students must be able to complete forms according to directions in a complete and timely fashion.

Motor/Psychomotor Skills

Students must possess sufficient motor function to elicit information from the patient examination by palpation, auscultation, tapping, and other evaluation maneuvers. Students must be able to execute movements required to provide general and therapeutic care, such as the positioning of large or immobile patients, gait training using therapeutic aids and orthotics, manual mobilization techniques, non-surgical wound debridement, and placement of electromyographic electrodes.

Students must have the physical strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency treatment to patients. These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and the integrated use of touch and vision.

Intellectual – Conceptual Integrative and Quantitative Analysis Abilities

To effectively solve problems, students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history, physical examination, and laboratory data. They must also be able to provide a reasoned explanation for likely therapy, recalling and retaining information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating treatment and plans is essential.

In addition, students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of structures. Candidates must have the ability to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information.

Behavioral/Social Attributes and Professionalism

Students must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of patients; and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients.

Students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. As a component of their education, students must demonstrate ethical behavior.

Specifically, students must be able to:

  • Attend and participate in classes for 30 or more hours per week during each academic semester (Classes consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, laboratory, and clinical activities.)
  • Use auditory, tactile, and visual senses to receive classroom instruction and to evaluate and treat patients
  • Read, write, speak, and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion and development of positive patient-therapist relationships
  • Complete readings, assignments, and other activities outside of class hours
  • Apply critical thinking processes to their work in the classroom and the clinic
  • Exercise sound judgment in class and in the clinic
  • Participate in clinical experiences, which typically require students to be present 40 or more hours per week on a schedule that corresponds to the operating hours of the clinic
  • Gather decision-making pieces of information during patient assessment activities in class or in the clinical setting without the use of an intermediary (classmate, aide, etc.)
  • Perform treatment activities in class or in the clinical setting by direct performance or by instruction and supervision of intermediaries
  • Sit for two to 10 hours daily, stand for one to two hours daily, and walk or travel for two hours daily
  • Frequently lift weights less than 10 pounds and occasionally lift weights between 10 and 100 pounds
  • Occasionally carry up to 25 pounds while walking up to 50 feet
  • Frequently exert 75 pounds of push/pull forces to objects up to 50 feet and occasionally exert 150 pounds of push/pull forces for the same distance
  • Frequently twist, bend, and stoop
  • Occasionally squat, crawl, climb stools, reach above shoulder level, and kneel
  • Frequently move from place to place and position to position, and do so at a speed that permits safe handling of classmates and patients
  • Frequently stand and walk while providing support to a classmate simulating a disability, or while supporting a patient with a disability
  • Occasionally climb stairs and rarely negotiate uneven terrain
  • Frequently use their hands repetitively with a simple grasp and frequently use a firm grasp and manual dexterity skills
  • Frequently coordinate verbal and manual activities with gross motor activities
Information SessionsTo view available dates and reserve your virtual seat, click here!.
Campus ToursAvailable every Thursday at 4pm.
Campus Address: 590 N Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90004

WCU DPT Student Handbook, please click here.

Philosophy & Mission

Our Philosophy

The mission of West Coast University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to provide a student-centric education that helps prepare graduates for caring, innovative, interdisciplinary, evidence-based approaches to patient-centered care.

Our Mission

The mission of West Coast University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is to provide a student-centric education that prepares graduates for caring, innovative, interdisciplinary, evidence-based approaches to patient-centered care.

Outcomes

Each student will have the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors in order to:

  • Provide professional physical therapy services to diverse populations consistent with American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) standards
  • Perform autonomous entry-level physical therapy skills in a safe manner
  • Facilitate culturally sensitive communication using consultative and collaborative skills as a part of the healthcare team
  • Design evidence-based physical therapy treatment plans using clinical reasoning for optimal patient-centered care
  • Exercise professional conduct that is consistent with the ethical and legal practice of physical therapy
Accreditation

West Coast University is accredited by WASC Senior College of University Commission (WSCUC), an institutional accreditating body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

1001 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 402
Alameda, California 94501
510-748-9001
www.wscuc.org

Programmatic Accreditation

Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at West Coast University’s Center for Graduate Studies is accredited through 2032 by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 323-300-5155 or email BNithman@westcoastuniversity.edu

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 323.454.5068 or email CGSGradAdmissions@westcoastuniversity.edu

CAPTE has a mechanism to consider formal complaints about physical therapy education programs that allege a program is not in compliance with one or more of CAPTE’s Evaluative Criteria or has violated any of CAPTE’s expectations related to academic integrity. (www.capteonline.org/Complaints)

In reviewing and acting on a complaint, CAPTE cannot and does not function as an arbiter between the complaint and the institution. Should CAPTE find that a complaint has merit and that the program is out of compliance with the Evaluative Criteria or the integrity statement(s), CAPTE can only require the program to come into compliance with the Evaluative Criteria. CAPTE cannot force a program into any specific resolution of the situation that resulted in the complaint.

Students or other interested parties may file a formal complaint about a PT program with CAPTE at any time. To obtain the materials necessary for submitting a complaint, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at (703) 706-3245 or email accreditation@apta.org.

Program Statistical Data

Graduation Rate2

For the class of 2020 and 2021, the two-year average graduation rate is 98.8%.

Graduation YearGraduation Rate
Class of 202197.7%
Class of 2020100%

NPTE Pass Rates (As of August 2022)

For the class of 2020 and 2021, the two-year average first-time pass rate is 80.9%. The two-year average ultimate pass rate is 96.4%.

Graduation YearGroupNumber of CandidatesNumber of Passing CandidatesPass Rate
Grad. YearGroupNum. of CandidatesNum. of Passing CandidatesRate
2021First Time433274.4%
2021Ultimate434195.3%
2020First Time403587.5%
2020Ultimate403997.5%

Employment Rate4

For the class of 2020 and 2021, the two-year average employment rate is 95%.

Graduation YearEmployment Rate
202195%
202095%

The above data are based on the program accreditor’s (CAPTE) standards and definitions.

 1 Graduation Rate: The percentage of graduates who are matriculated in the first course in the professional program after the drop/add period and who complete the program.

2 Pass Rate: The percentage of graduates who take and successfully pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). First-Time Pass Rate is the percentage of students in a graduation class that took the NPTE and passed on their first attempt. The Ultimate Pass Rate is the percentage of students in a graduation class that took the NPTE and passed, no matter how many attempts it took.

3 Employment Rate: The percentage of graduates who were employed (full-time or part-time) as a physical therapist within one year following graduation.

Facilities

At West Coast University, we believe that our buildings — just like every other aspect of the university — must support, promote, and encourage student success and academic excellence. Students learn skills and procedures using a wide range of modern equipment provided for our physical therapy program.

The physical therapy program is based at the Center for Graduate Studies (CGS) campus, located at 590 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90004. This 80,000-square-foot facility houses the departments of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pharmacy.

The physical therapy program has approximately 16,000 square feet of space, including classrooms, a skills clinic, dedicated laboratories, a faculty and student research lab, and private study rooms for individuals or groups. Students practice using industry-current equipment to help prepare them for real-world application.

A rehabilitative ultrasound imaging unit is available for student- and faculty-directed research as well as improving clinical information instruction. All didactic classrooms and labs contain fully integrated computer/video systems; Wi-Fi enabled, interactive whiteboards; and overhead projectors.

Lecture Classroom

Dedicated lecture classrooms have ergonomic chairs, outlet placements for laptops, an integrated computer/video system, an interactive whiteboard, and overhead projector, and additional flat-screens on room pillars for added student visual comfort.

Teaching Laboratory

Dedicated teaching laboratory areas are equipped with an integrated computer/video system, interactive whiteboard, overhead projector, and adjustable hi-lo tables for optimal ergonomic positions for presentations and laboratory techniques and procedures. Labs are equipped with cameras with the ability to record practical examinations, instructor techniques, content for group/class participation, discussion, and feedback.

Research Laboratory

The research laboratory is a space of approximately 1,160 square feet that will support the scholarly agenda of the core faculty.

Skills Clinic

The CGS campus has a dedicated skills clinic for students to learn the physical therapy diagnosis and therapeutic approaches to patient care with the use of an integrated computer/video system. The skills clinic is essential for helping students prepare to become entry-level autonomous practitioners.

Technical Standards

Physical therapy is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. Students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors needed throughout the physical therapist’s career. Those abilities that physical therapists must possess to practice safely are reflected in the technical standards that follow.

For successful completion of degree requirements, students must be able to meet minimum technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation.

Observation Skills

Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, and somatic sensations, as well as the use of common sense. Students must have visual perception, which includes depth and acuity. A student must be able to observe lectures, laboratory dissection of cadavers, and lecture and laboratory demonstrations. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, observe digital and waveform readings and other graphic images to determine the patient’s condition, and obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian.

Examples in which these observational skills are required include palpation of peripheral pulses, bony prominences and ligamentous structures, visual and tactile evaluation for areas of inflammation, and visual and tactile assessment of the presence and degree of edema. A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals.

Communication Skills

Communication includes speech, language, reading, writing, and computer literacy. Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively. They must be able to convey a sense of compassion and empathy with patients to elicit information regarding mood and activities, as well as to perceive non-verbal communications.

Physical therapy education presents exceptional challenges in the volume and breadth of required reading and the necessity to impart information to others. Students must be able to communicate quickly, effectively, and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the healthcare team. Students must be able to complete forms according to directions in a complete and timely fashion.

Motor/Psychomotor Skills

Students must possess sufficient motor function to elicit information from the patient examination by palpation, auscultation, tapping, and other evaluation maneuvers. Students must be able to execute movements required to provide general and therapeutic care, such as the positioning of large or immobile patients, gait training using therapeutic aids and orthotics, manual mobilization techniques, non-surgical wound debridement, and placement of electromyographic electrodes.

Students must have the physical strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency treatment to patients. These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and the integrated use of touch and vision.

Intellectual – Conceptual Integrative and Quantitative Analysis Abilities

To effectively solve problems, students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history, physical examination, and laboratory data. They must also be able to provide a reasoned explanation for likely therapy, recalling and retaining information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating treatment and plans is essential.

In addition, students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of structures. Candidates must have the ability to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information.

Behavioral/Social Attributes and Professionalism

Students must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of patients; and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients.

Students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. As a component of their education, students must demonstrate ethical behavior.

Specifically, students must be able to:

  • Attend and participate in classes for 30 or more hours per week during each academic semester (Classes consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, laboratory, and clinical activities.)
  • Use auditory, tactile, and visual senses to receive classroom instruction and to evaluate and treat patients
  • Read, write, speak, and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion and development of positive patient-therapist relationships
  • Complete readings, assignments, and other activities outside of class hours
  • Apply critical thinking processes to their work in the classroom and the clinic
  • Exercise sound judgment in class and in the clinic
  • Participate in clinical experiences, which typically require students to be present 40 or more hours per week on a schedule that corresponds to the operating hours of the clinic
  • Gather decision-making pieces of information during patient assessment activities in class or in the clinical setting without the use of an intermediary (classmate, aide, etc.)
  • Perform treatment activities in class or in the clinical setting by direct performance or by instruction and supervision of intermediaries
  • Sit for two to 10 hours daily, stand for one to two hours daily, and walk or travel for two hours daily
  • Frequently lift weights less than 10 pounds and occasionally lift weights between 10 and 100 pounds
  • Occasionally carry up to 25 pounds while walking up to 50 feet
  • Frequently exert 75 pounds of push/pull forces to objects up to 50 feet and occasionally exert 150 pounds of push/pull forces for the same distance
  • Frequently twist, bend, and stoop
  • Occasionally squat, crawl, climb stools, reach above shoulder level, and kneel
  • Frequently move from place to place and position to position, and do so at a speed that permits safe handling of classmates and patients
  • Frequently stand and walk while providing support to a classmate simulating a disability, or while supporting a patient with a disability
  • Occasionally climb stairs and rarely negotiate uneven terrain
  • Frequently use their hands repetitively with a simple grasp and frequently use a firm grasp and manual dexterity skills
  • Frequently coordinate verbal and manual activities with gross motor activities
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Student Handbook

WCU DPT Student Handbook, please click here.

Career Services

Career Services

West Coast University supports you beyond the last day of class. Our Career Services department1 provides ongoing assistance in a variety of ways, including:

  • Resume and CV writing workshops
  • Personalized career development advice
  • Help connecting with job opportunities in your field
  • Interview coaching
  • And more!

As a WCU alum, you’ll have ongoing access to these services!

Featured Faculty

Robert W. Nithman, PT, PhD, DPT, GCS

Robert W. Nithman, PT, PhD, DPT, GCS

Program Dean/Director & Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Dr. Nithman joined WCU in 2021. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania where he graduated cum laude with a BS in Health Sciences and a Master of Physical Therapy from Duquesne University. He then returned for his post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (t-DPT) from Chatham University. From there, he went on to achieve board certification as a Geriatric Clinical Specialist (GCS) in 2006 (recertified in 2016), as well as to own and operate a rehab staffing company and a Medicare-certified home health agency. Dr. Nithman began full-time teaching in 2009, which led him to pursue additional professional development, ultimately earning his PhD from Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Nithman draws from his experiences in business startups, interprofessional practice management, consulting, formal post-professional education, and over 25 years of experience across the healthcare continuum. His teaching focus is in outcomes management, interprofessional education and practice management, healthcare policy, law and ethics, reimbursement systems including value-based healthcare, geriatric rehabilitation, and health and wellness of older adults, including fall screening and prevention. Dr. Nithman’s expertise in Prospective Payment System (PPS) and in-home assessment and reimbursement procedures are exemplified by his certification as an Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) Specialist (COS-C) in 2005-2021.

Dr. Nithman has consulted for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Harvard Medical School in addition to numerous private healthcare businesses. He has over 40 peer-reviewed scholarly products with most recent works focusing on a Clinical Practice Guidance Statement and a Delphi consensus-based document for the physical therapist’s management of patients/clients with low bone mass, the acceptance/feasibility/reliability/validity of remote fall risk screening, value-based healthcare, the CDC’s STEADI algorithm, and telerehabilitation.

Dr. Nithman has presented to national and international audiences on telerehabilitation, fall screening and prevention, interprofessional rehabilitation and prognostic tools, risk and strategic planning with business entity selection, high-fidelity simulation, technology in home healthcare, case management in prospective payment systems, predictive validity of admissions interviews, as well as critical thinking and debate-style learning.

As a highly engaged professional, Dr. Nithman is the current Chair of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) Geriatrics Specialty Council, which oversees the Geriatrics Specialty Exam (GCS). He has served the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) as an item writer and coordinator, and he was ultimately appointed to the National Physical Therapist Exam (NPTE) Development Committee.

Dr. Nithman is a former elected and founding board member of American Council of Academic Physical Therapy’s (ACAPT’s) National Interprofessional Education Consortium (NIPEC). He was also appointed by ACAPT to the newly formed Advocacy Committee where he represents DPT programs from California and Hawaii. Dr. Nithman is a member of the APTA’s Academies of Education, Geriatrics, and Health Policy & Administration, along with a number of special interest groups.

Education

PhD Nova Southeastern University, 2018
t-DPT Chatham University, 2005
MPT Duquesne University, 1997
BS Duquesne University, 1996

View all Doctor of Physical Therapy faculty.

FAQs

What type of degree do you need to become a physical therapist?

To become a physical therapist, you must have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.2

What is the difference between a PT and a DPT?

A physical therapist (PT) is an occupation while a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a degree that one must obtain before becoming a physical therapist. In addition to earning their DPT degree, an individual must also pass their state licensure exam before they can practice physical therapy.

How long does it take to earn a DPT degree?

Our DPT program allows you to earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 36 months.

When does the Doctor of Physical Therapy program start at WCU?

It starts in the fall of each year.

What if my prerequisite GPA is below a 3.0?

We do allow prerequisites courses to be retaken. The highest grade earned will be used for the calculation of your GPA. All coursework must be completed/verified prior to the deadline in order to be considered.

What are the standards for prerequisites courses?

All required prerequisite coursework for the DPT program at WCU must:

  • Be completed with a grade of a C or better
  • Meet our semester unit requirements
  • Be completed within the last 10 years and through a regionally accredited college or university
Can I have pending coursework when I apply?

Yes, but only under the condition that you have the coursework and all admissions requirements finished and turned in by the deadline. For coursework to be reviewed, it has to be verified by the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) by the deadline.

How can I learn more about the DPT program at WCU?

If you are considering getting your Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, sign up for an information session or fill out the form on this page to receive more information from a WCU representative.

Request Info

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1 WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment.

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physical Therapists, Updated Sept. 8, 2022

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.