Western Michigan University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program is now a candidate for accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education according to a university press release. The program is new to the university, debuting in June after being accepted for candidacy.

The Board of Trustees approved the creation of the Department of Physical Therapy and the doctorate in 2015. The department operates within the College of Health and Human Services. Two years after the board's approval, Dr. Stacie Fruth was brought aboard as the department's founding chair.

In a statement made as a part of the release, Fruth said that accreditation candidacy is an important milestone for physical therapy programs.

"Achieving it means the accreditation commission is confident that you're absolutely prepared--everything is in place and has proven to be at or above the established standards," Fruth said. "We'll be assessed again when our first cohort is close to completing the program. If we're still in compliance, which we expect to be, our program will be granted full accreditation before our first cohort graduates."

The DPT program will take 2 1/2 for students to complete will see a December graduation date; most other DPT programs take 3 to 3 1/2 and see students graduate in the spring. According to the university's release, this makes for a competitive advantage as those graduating from WMU's program will enter the market six months earlier than those graduating from other programs.

The program consists of 110 credit hours of graduate coursework as well as hands-on experience including 30 hours of supervised clinical experience, two full-time 10-week clinical rotations during its second year and a full-time 12-week clinical rotation in its final year. Only thirty applicants will be accepted to the program each academic year.

More information about the program can be found at: wmich.edu/physicaltherapy.

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