Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the FAQ section of our website. We hope that the information contained here will be of value to you. After reviewing this page and the related sections of our website, feel free to contact the department with any additional questions you may have.

After reviewing our FAQs, if you have additional questions regarding admissions, please contact the program coordinator at  

General PT Questions

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is an entry-level post-baccalaureate degree conferred upon successful completion of a professional clinical doctoral education program.  Refer to the official American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) web site for further information on DPT education and view the video You Can Be Me: A Career in Physical Therapy.

According to the website '', The median expected salary for a typical Physical Therapist in the United States is $80,188. This varies by region and level of experience.

PTs practice in a great variety of settings including outpatient clinics, acute care hospitals, neuro-rehabilitation hospitals, inpatient hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, pediatric clinics, schools, home health settings, industrial or office settings (ergonomics), sport and fitness facilities, obstetrician gynecology practices (women’s health), etc.

Good therapists have a thirst for knowledge to constantly access and execute the best evidence based practices for their patients, empathy to identify with and care for patients facing greatly diverse health issues, drive to advocate for patients with disabilities that may not be able to advocate for their own needs, care and concern for the needs of others, and pride in achieving functional outcomes in the lives of their patients. These are just a few qualities that make a good therapist. Click here for more information.

UTC DPT Program

The Department of Physical Therapy at UTC is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). We received our initial accreditation by CAPTE in 1992, and have been continuously accredited since that time.

Since the charter class graduated in 1992, the vast majority of UTC PT classes have exceeded the national pass rate average for all PT programs on the state licensure exam on their first attempt. For the last three years (2015-2017), 99% of our graduates have passed the licensure exam, with a 100% first-time pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Exam for the classes of 2014 and 2016.

 Our department has achieved an average graduation rate of 97.0% for the last three graduating classes (2015, 2016, 2017).
 CAPTE does not rank individual PT programs. However, UTC is a highly competitive program.
 The DPT program is a year-round program, spanning eight semesters and three years. The length of our professional physical therapy program is 3 calendar years (8 straight semesters, including 2 summers).  Our 4 + 3 program model accepts students after completing an undergraduate (UG) degree.  Therefore, the total length of prerequisite and professional coursework is a minimum of 7 years (4 + 3).
No, the program meets full time during the day.
No, the entry-level DPT program is full time, and cannot be completed online.

Students take orthopedics courses and basic sciences (anatomy, neuroscience, kinesiology, pathology) in the first year in addition to basic skills courses. This is to prepare them for their first clinical rotation in the summer, which is in outpatient orthopedics, and to build a foundation for the rest of the curriculum.

The second year is focused on advanced adult and pediatric neuro and med/surg coursework to prepare for the second summer’s two clinical rotations in acute care hospitals and neuro rehab hospitals. The students also begin their research projects in the second year.

The third year focuses on advanced coursework in orthopedics, licensure prep, research, and a variety of advanced electives based on the student’s particular interest (i.e. neuro, ortho, pediatrics, sports, etc.). In the second semester of the third year, the students go on their fourth and final clinical rotation for fifteen weeks.

In the third year, the student can choose an elective as well as the final clinical experience to be more specific to the practice area of physical therapy that interests the student. However, clinical specializations and certifications are pursued after physical therapy school through continuing education programs in the physical therapist’s professional career.

Classes start in the fall semester of each new academic year.

The program is designed to be completed on a full-time basis.  Typically classes meet between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM Monday-Friday.  Working during the first year of the professional program is strongly discouraged.  In the second year, approximately ten graduate assistant positions are typically available. 

Most students live off campus in houses or apartments. There are numerous apartment complexes and rental properties within a short walk or commute from campus. The program does not recommend specific housing, but can connect incoming students with their new classmates in order to find roommates or housing information.

Chattanooga is a beautiful area combining beautiful mountains and outdoor activities (climbing, hiking, mountain biking, etc.) with a vibrant city and downtown area centered around the waterfront. New locally owned shops and restaurants open every year. While the city underwent major revitalization in the nineties, individual areas and neighborhoods continue to become newer and more lively every day.

Learn more about our wonderful city!

There are several student-sponsored events each year, and students form intramural teams, as well as small groups to just get together and throw frisbees in the park, for example. The ARC also rents kayaks, SUPs, canoes, mountain bikes, snowboarding equipment, backpacking equipment, etc., for free to UTC students, so our students take advantage of these opportunities and more.
UTC has a fitness complex called the ARC that has swimming, indoor climbing, and excellent workout facilities in addition to equipment rentals. There is also a recreation room in the basement of the UTC University Center that has pool tables, foosball tables, table tennis, Wii, Xbox and Playstation consoles, etc.
The professors are very dedicated to the students’ success. They are available to help in any way that they can. Since the faculty is a relatively small group, students get to know their professors well throughout the program, and some of them become mentors when the students graduate and enter the profession.
We have an exceptional faculty that represent a variety of specialties. Please visit our faculty and staff profiles page for additional information.
Yes. Multiple professors work in the community in various health care settings. All of our faculty have many years of clinical experience.
Each professor designs a research project every year that students work on in conjunction with the professor. In addition, our professors are continuously working on their own research projects that are published and presented at national and state meetings. Please visit the Research section of our web page to see some of the research conducted by our faculty and students.
Students are required to complete a research project as a part of their education and some of these projects are published and/or presented at professional meetings. 
Students are not required to write a dissertation, however they are required to complete research projects.