Physical Therapy Becomes First UTC Doctorate
October is Physical Therapy Month
Physical therapist: health care professional who evaluates and
treats people with health problems resulting from injury or disease.
The UT Board of Trustees has approved for the UTC College of Health and
Human Services to begin offering a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
This becomes UTCs first doctoral program.
UTC has for years offered a masters degree in physical therapy,
putting the program ahead of a national mandate this year requiring more
than a four-year degree from an accredited institution. UTC offers a rolling
physical therapy admissions procedure.
In addition to the UTC program, more than 200 colleges and universities
nationwide offer professional educational programs in physical therapy,
according to Dr. Debbie Ingram, of the UTC Physical Therapy Department,
the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education. Ingram helps place students
in a hospital or medical center to gain experience working with patients.
She has served as the national chairman for Clinical Education for the
American Physical Therapy and as the Federal Affairs Liaison for the Education
Section of the APTA.
"Siskin, Erlanger, Memorial, Center for Sports Medicine, Parkridge
Hospital , East Ridge Hospital, and Hutcheson Memorial all provide an
opportunity for UTC graduate students to gain experience in physical education
while working with patients, or clinical work," Ingram said.
Students from UTC have the opportunity to go these institutions to work
with patients: Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC;
Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta; University of Alabama at Birmingham
Medical Center; Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; Shepherd Center in
Atlanta; Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and the largest
medical center in Vancouver, British Columbia .
Although the experience may move the student to a distant city, there
is a benefit to leaving the Chattanooga area.
"Even if the new graduate chooses to return to southeast Tennessee
to work, we feel they will bring these different approaches to our local
facilities and ultimately strengthen the services provided," Ingram
Ingram encourages students to take this opportunity, if they can afford
"One of the most difficult situations I face in clinical education
is related to the enormous financial burden our students carry. They are
not paid by these facilities and housing has to be arranged and paid for
by the student," Ingram said.
Here are a few quick facts:
- there are more than 120,000 physical therapists are licensed in the
- more than 65% of physical therapists practice in private offices community
health centers, industrial health centers, sports facilities, rehabilitation
centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, schools or pediatric centers
- many other physical therapists work in hospital settings