The Department of Physical Therapy offers opportunities for you to work with patients in real clinical settings and pursue research with our faculty. You’ll gain experiences that prepare you for a fulfilling career as a physical therapist.
Optimal patient outcomes occur when healthcare professionals work together. Qualities of an effective healthcare team include excellent communication skills, collaboration, knowledge of each professional’s expertise and placing the patient at the center of the experience. Students of all healthcare professions need to learn these skills in the classroom and then apply them in the clinic.
In the DPT program, you’ll put your interprofessional skills necessary to work in a variety of interprofessional clinics, including a collaborative clinic with medical students from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). PT faculty from Saint Joseph’s University and Doctor of Osteopathy faculty from PCOM will supervise you as you evaluate patients with a variety of medical conditions. This unique interprofessional clinic exposes you to the skills that other professions bring to patient care to enhance outcomes.
The Department of Physical Therapy values service to the community. Each year, students and faculty collaborate to provide pro bono physical therapy services to people and communities in need. Working hands-on with patients in a real-world environment helps bolster your self-confidence, decision-making and advocacy skills.
Integrated Clinical Experiences
Weaved throughout the curriculum, integrated clinical experiences give you invaluable opportunities to interact with patients. You’ll work alongside healthy community members as well as those with health conditions to practice communication, examination and intervention skills. Your integrated clinical experience may involve evaluating elders for balance deficits, evaluating patients recovering from a stroke and observing physical therapists working in rehabilitation settings.
Full-Time Clinical Experiences
The Department of Physical Therapy’s curriculum includes three 12-week clinical experiences during the professional phase, all under the supervision of an instructor who is a licensed physical therapist.
The first 12-week experience occurs in the spring of the second year in the professional phase of the curriculum. There are two additional 12-week full-time experiences in the summer and fall of your third year. Altogether, the 36 clinical weeks exceed the amount of hands-on training required for a DPT program — and the amount of time most other programs offer — but we’ve found that early and frequent clinical experiences greatly enhance your learning and prepare you to succeed immediately after graduation.
Your clinical options are vast at Saint Joseph’s University. You can travel outside of the Philadelphia area for clinical experiences to broaden your exposure to a variety of learning opportunities. Saint Joseph’s University has contracts with hundreds of facilities nationwide, including:
- Acute care hospitals
- Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers
- Skilled nursing facilities, sub-acute rehabilitation centers and nursing homes
- Outpatient offices that may offer specialties such as women’s health, sports medicine, work hardening and neurological rehabilitation
- Pediatrics (school-based and early intervention)
- Occupational medicine
- Home healthcare
Saint Joseph’s University is an approved participating institution of the State Authorization Reciprocity Act (SARA). Learn more about SARA and the implications for licensure.