SAC STATE Physical Therapy - FAQs


Two applications are REQUIRED to apply for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program for Fall 2016 Enrollment Consideration: 

  1. PTCAS Application
    Deadline: October 3, 2016
  2. PT Department Application
    Deadline: October 3, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions about the Program

Is the program at Sacramento State Accredited?

Yes.  The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has awarded full accreditation to our program through 2014.  We expect to receive another 10-year re-accreditation at that time. The first DPT cohort graduate in August of 2015, with full eligibility to sit for licensure.

Why does Sacramento State require Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology as prerequisites?

We require these courses as prerequisites for the DPT program because their content provides important background for being successful in the program coursework.  The foundational knowledge of kinesiology and exercise physiology is needed as we integrate these topics into patient management in many of the courses throughout the curriculum.  Our DPT curriculum can begin students in those related courses at a higher level and be able to cover the advanced content within the professional program. We believe that one reason we have such a low attrition rate is because we require foundational knowledge in these subjects, and our students are successful at a higher than average rate.

How do I "enroll" in Sacramento State's program if I'm a current student of another DPT program?

If you attend, or have previously attended, another physical therapy program, you must apply to our program and include in your application a sealed letter, signed across the seal, from the chairperson of your previous program verifying that you were in good academic standing upon separation from the program.  If you left a program on academic probation, you will not be considered for admission to the DPT program.

How many months does it take to complete the DPT program?

The DPT program is 36 months in length, including summers.

Do I have to attend full-time?

Yes, the entire curriculum is a cohort model and requires full time attendance for the entire program.

Do you offer those interested in attending the program part-time evening classes?

No.  The program is entirely full-time, with no option to enroll part-time.

Will I be required to take classes during the summers?

Yes. In the DPT program, classes will continue year-round for all three years, including summers.

Does Sacramento State offer childcare?

Childcare may be available to you, for information contact ASI Children's Center

How much does it cost to attend Sacramento State's PT degree program?

The fees for the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program have been set as of Fall 2015 by the Chancellor's Office, at a total cost of $8774/semester, or $78,966 for the full 9 semesters, which includes the University's registration fees. In addition, students can be expected to incur costs of approximately $1,800/year for books, supplies, major medical health insurance (required during clinical experiences), background checks and laboratory fees.

The state budget crisis will likely lead to significant increases in fees, and the latest fees can be found at Sacramento State Student Financial Services Center

Does Sacramento State offer financial aid?

Yes, please see Sacramento State Financial Aid Office In addition, departmental scholarships may be available in the DPT program.

Will I be required to have health insurance?

Yes. All students are required to maintain major medical health insurance coverage prior to beginning clinical education experiences.  This includes coverage beyond the scope of the basic campus student health center coverage Sacramento State Student Health Center  

Do I need a laptop?

No, laptops are not required.  Class lectures are posted on webpages, and many students take notes on the powerpoint slides issued, so a laptop can be handy.  Most students will want to have their own computer for completing assignments for classes, whether laptop or desktop.

Does the department offer scholarships?

The Physical Therapy Department may be able to offer scholarships, and details are not yet known as of this writing. We always alert students in the program to scholarship opportunities, and to voucher/loan repayment programs that are available.  The Office of Graduate Studies is one resource at: Financial Opportunities for Graduate Students

What are my job prospects when I complete the entry-level program?

Employment of Physical Therapists is currently the fifth fastest growing occupation in the California economy, with more jobs than licensed PTs available.  Most of our graduates can find full time benefitted employment that pays between $68,000 - $77,000 annual salary.  Some earn more, and some less, depending on the setting of employment.

What are the graduate's passing rates on the licensure exam?

Our graduates are highly successful in passing the licensure exam, with rates consistently well above the state and national average rates. The 2008 graduates had a 94% first-time pass rate, compared to the California and U.S. average of 85%.  Our average ultimate pass rate is over 97%.

Upon successful program completion, how long does it take to become licensed?

Usually graduates are eligible to sit for the licensure exam in California and become licensed in 2 – 4 months after the graduation date, depending on the test dates set by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. 

What are the program's essential functions and technical standards?

The Graduate Program in Physical Therapy at Sacramento State is a difficult and intense program which places specific physical, mental and psychological demands on a student enrolled in the program. The demands placed on the students during their academic and clinical preparation correspond closely to the intellectual and physical demands which a graduate will encounter as a practicing physical therapist.  The essential functions are intellectual & mental capacities and the technical standards are specific motor, sensory, cognitive, communication, and behavioral abilities needed to perform as a physical therapist.  These are detailed in the DPT Program Essential Functions and Technical Standards

Will I be required to participate in a drug screening and background check?

Level I criminal background screens will be required of all students during the program, and results are made available direct from the student to affiliating hospitals and clinics that require them for clinical externships. 10-panel drug screens are often required of students in the program, prior to internships, and are given on a case-by-case basis.  Some facilities, in addition, may require additional or different drug screening prior to the beginning of clinical experiences.

Will I need to be CPR certified?

Current CPR certification for mandated responders is required from all students in order to participate in clinical affiliations. This must be a certification course designed for people who have a duty to respond - such as lifeguards and other health professionals - and must be maintained throughout the term of your studies and clinical externships.  The American Red Cross CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers course is equivalent to the American Heart Association BLS for Healthcare Providers course. They both include infant, pediatric and adult CPR, the bag-valve-mask and use of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). Online courses are not acceptable.

Are Pro Bono Clinics offered in the Adult Neurological and Neuropediatrics classes?

Yes, patients from the community with neurologic impairments come into the Pro Bono Clinics for students to assess and treat for 8 weeks in each of three semesters.