Doctor of Physical Therapy


Program Description

Our Mission

Within a Catholic Franciscan University, with a tradition of service, caring and openness to all, broad intellectual background with career development, and encouragement of growth in self-awareness and in one’s relationship to others and to God, the mission of Briar Cliff University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is to pursue academic excellence in preparing the next generation of physical therapists to practice autonomously and respond to patient and societal needs of the region, including the underserved, by restoring, maintaining, and promoting optimal movement, activity participation, and wellness of clients. By challenging students to provide skilled, reflective, ethical, legal, compassionate, culturally competent, interprofessional, evidence-based, and patient-centered care, graduates will be prepared to be effective leaders and health care providers within their communities and the ever-changing healthcare environment.

Our Vision

The vision of the Department of Physical Therapy at Briar Cliff University is to be recognized regionally as an outstanding physical therapy education program that prepares students of all backgrounds to be leaders and effective health care providers within interprofessional teams, their profession, and underserved clinical and community-­‐based environments.

Our Values

Consistent with Briar Cliff University and the profession of physical therapy, the DPT program is founded upon the core values of altruistic service, respect for others, cultural competence, and a relentless commitment to excellence. These values guide all Program initiatives from course content to hiring practices to student admissions and ensure that the mission, goals, and outcomes of the Program are achieved. An appreciation for the role of the Program as part of a larger community will prepare graduates for making significant contributions to the communities in which they live and serve.

Our Goals

In order to uphold the program’s mission, the program will:

  • 1. Provide an innovative curriculum that prepares students to be autonomous and contemporary interprofessional practitioners, respond to patient and societal needs, and be leaders within their profession and communities.
  • 2. Promote the advancement of evidence-­‐based physical therapy practice.
  • 3. Collaborate with local stakeholders to provide patient-­‐centered initiatives that address the health-­‐related challenges of the region.

In order to uphold the program’s mission, the faculty will:

  • 1. Demonstrate a commitment to life-­‐long learning and the advancement of contemporary expertise in the realms in which they teach.
  • 2. Serve as leaders and role models for students, graduates, and colleagues within the University, Siouxland community, and profession, including, but not limited to, the realms of community service, professional service, interprofessional collaboration, and scholarly activity.

In parallel with the Program’s Mission, upon completion of all requirements of the Briar Cliff University School of Physical Therapy, the student/graduate will be prepared to:

  • 1. Practice physical therapy autonomously.
  • 2. Provide health care services in underserved settings.
  • 3. Be leaders within their communities and profession.

About the Profession

Physical therapists (PTs) are devoted to helping people. They are health care professionals who help recently injured patients — from newborns to older adults — carry out normal activities in their daily lives, despite medical problems or other health-related conditions.

Usually, this involves treatment techniques to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability. It can also involve developing daily routines and programs that promote healthy and active lifestyles and prevent loss of mobility before it occurs.

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private clinics, nursing homes, schools and athletic training or fitness facilities. If you plan to practice physical therapy, you'll need special licensure from the state in which you plan to work.

For more information, visit the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website »

Career Outlook

Physical therapy has been listed as a “Bright Outlook Occupation” that is expected to grow rapidly in the next several years (source: This coincides with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimates a 36 percent increase in the rate of change in employment for PTs from 2012-2022, compared to the national average of 11 percent, meaning a potential of 73,500new PT jobs nationally by 2022.

The expected growth of this industry is one of the reasons why U.S. News & World Report ranked PTs as No. 5 on its list of the best healthcare jobs and No. 7 on its list of best jobs of 2014 and why Forbes ranked PTs as No. 5 on its list of the best jobs in healthcare in 2014.

APTA Statement for Physical Therapy
“By 2020, physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as the practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions, and environmental barriers related to movement, function, and health.”

Source: American Physical Therapy Association.

Last updated Aug 2018

About the School

Briar Cliff University is a community committed to higher education within a liberal arts and Catholic perspective. In the Franciscan tradition of service, caring and openness to all, Briar Cliff emph ... Read More

Briar Cliff University is a community committed to higher education within a liberal arts and Catholic perspective. In the Franciscan tradition of service, caring and openness to all, Briar Cliff emphasizes quality education for its students, combining a broad intellectual background with career development. The University challenges its members to grow in self-awareness and in their relationships to others and to God. Read less