Physical Therapists Allow Clients to Optimize Movement and Function.

NOTE: Applications through the PTCAS system open June 15, 2023 for the inaugural DPT class beginning on January 21, 2025.

As a physical therapist you will be trained and licensed to perform a broad range of activities including the evaluation and treatment of individuals recovering from injury or disease, and in programs for maintaining wellness and fitness for those without apparent disease or injury. Physical therapists provide patients and clients with services that restore function, enhance mobility, relieve pain, prevent or limit physical disability, and promote health and well-being. These may include, but are not limited to, examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, providing treatments or interventions based on their evaluation, and providing health and wellness interventions and education.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Lewis University will prepare graduates to pass the physical therapy licensure examination required to practice as a physical therapist in Illinois and across the nation. Through innovation and integration of education, scholarly activities, service, and clinical care, at Lewis you will learn to optimize movement and function across the lifespan in diverse populations, communities, and individuals. You will become a reflective, ethical, culturally informed, socially responsible, and innovative clinician who will lead and work collaboratively in the ever-evolving healthcare field. Faculty, graduates, and students at Lewis will use movement to improve the human condition.

Career Outlook

Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 17 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Demand for physical therapy is expected to come from aging baby boomers who are staying active later in life, and people who are susceptible to chronic health conditions.

DPT Curriculum

Lewis University DPT students will be uniquely educated to be innovative human movement specialists. Graduates will be critical thinkers, who practice with integrity, autonomy, inter-professional skills, in contemporary evidence-based practice as innovators, health advocates, and global citizens.

  • 112 semester credit hours
  • 7.5 semesters
  • Classroom experiences in foundational sciences, professional topics, clinical science, and evidence-based practice research/innovation experiences.
  • 32 weeks of Clinical Education

Classroom Experiences: The curriculum offers a dynamic, in-person program that seamlessly integrates traditional lectures and hands-on laboratory experiences with the enriching elements of case studies, interprofessional collaborative education, and team-based learning. Our state-of-the-art facilities provide students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the finest aspects of diverse curricular models.

Clinical Education: Students in the DPT program will have a variety of clinical experiences which are representative of those in which physical therapy is commonly practiced. Four 8-week clinical experiences will include the areas of orthopedics, neurorehabilitation, acute care, and niche areas of practice such as pediatrics, geriatrics, etc.



 Complaints to the Accrediting Body (CAPTE)

Anyone wishing to register a complaint concerning what appears to be the Lewis DPT Program's failure to meet an evaluative criterion can follow the instructions available on the CAPTE website (capteonline.org/Complaints) or contact the Department of Accreditation of APTA at 703.706.3245.

 General Complaints

Issues concerning faculty, staff, or students, including matters of discrimination, harassment, academic integrity, and grading disputes, must adhere to the protocols outlined in the Lewis University Campus Student Handbook (for students) and Lewis University Employee Handbook (for faculty and staff), accessible on mylewis.edu. Lewis University stands firmly against retaliation toward faculty, staff, or students who submit complaints in good faith.  Individuals external to Lewis University may initiate a complaint regarding any aspect of the Lewis University DPT Program. Such complaints should be directed to the DPT Program Director without apprehension of reprisal. Please reach out to Dr. Arvie Vitente, the DPT Program Director, at 815.836.5702 or via email at avitente@lewisu.edu. Dr. Vitente will collaborate with the Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Health Sciences to determine the most appropriate resolution pathway. In cases where a conflict of interest is apparent or perceived, the parties involved may choose to recuse themselves from the proceedings. When the Program Director is the subject of concern or complaint, the matter should be reported to Dr. Susan Muller, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, at 815.836.5245 or smuller1@lewisu.edu.

Program Outcomes

First data will be available in 2028-29.


Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone; 703-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states. Candidacy is considered to be an accredited status, as such the credits and degree earned from a program with Candidacy status are considered, by CAPTE, to be from an accredited program. Therefore, students in the charter (first) class should be eligible to take the licensure exam even if CAPTE withholds accreditation at the end of the candidacy period. That said, it is up to each state licensing agency, not CAPTE, to determine who is eligible for licensure. Information on licensing requirements should be directed to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT; www.fsbpt.org) or specific state boards (a list of state boards and contact information is available on FSBPT's website.

Lewis University is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on May 1, 2024. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

Key Dates:

  1. CAPTE site visit scheduled for the penultimate term (Spring 2027) of the inaugural cohort.
  2. Graduation of the inaugural cohort in August 2027.
  3. First licensure examination available to graduates in October 2027.
  4. CAPTE accreditation decision expected in Fall 2027.


Contact the Office of Graduate Admission at grad@lewisu.edu or (815)836-5610.

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