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North Central College's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Receives Candidate for Accreditation Status

Nov 09, 2022

First student cohort expected to start in January 2023

North Central College’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program has received its Candidate for Accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), the accrediting body for entry-level physical therapists and physical therapist assistant education programs. This important distinction means that the College can welcome its first cohort of DPT students this January in compliance with the high standards of excellences and innovation established by CAPTE.  

“North Central College has established a successful model for designing distinctive health sciences programs, rooted in the liberal arts tradition, that tackle broad societal issues, while at the same time addressing the unique needs and of the communities in which we live and work,” said Marci J. Swede, Ph.D., dean of North Central College’s School of Education and Health Sciences. “Our new Doctor of Physical Therapy program takes a learner-centered approach to supporting each individual on their journey to becoming an excellent physical therapist dedicated to serving the community by helping others.” 

North Central’s DPT program will span 28-months and will be competency focused, being the only pass/no pass program of its kind offered in Illinois. The focus will be on mastery of knowledge, critical thinking, and skill acquisition. The program is committed to educating a diverse workforce, embracing current technology, and offering a flexible, semi-self-paced and personalized approach to learning that meets students where they are. 

“We have been very intentional on reaching students and serving on our mission of helping others to improve the diversity of practitioners in the health care field,” said Sara Scholtes, D.P.T., Ph.D. professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at North Central College. “The Doctor of Physical Therapy program accreditation will provide prospective students with this high-demand and highly rewarding degree and career path, as well as meeting the current and future health care needs right here in our community.” 

Students will learn from experts in the field and gain the skills necessary for evidence-based patient care and management in clinical settings. The DPT curriculum is comprised of two foundational principles: liberal arts and movement science. The liberal arts foundation offers insight into self-reflection, critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and the lived experiences of others; while movement science informs the knowledge and understanding of anatomy, kinesiology, neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and biomechanics. Together, these foundations enable physical therapists to serve society through the treatment of their patients and clients.  

The DPT program will be housed within the College’s new, state-of-the-art Dr. Myron Wentz Center for Health Sciences and Engineering. The 40,000-square-foot facility is home to multiple advanced clinical practice programs and was designed to promote inter-professional learning. It includes a skills lab with three-dimensional Anatomage visualization tables; simulated hospital settings with high- and low-fidelity manikins; fully functional outpatient examination rooms; as well as classroom, study and collaborations space. All DPT students will be provided with an electronic device by the institution to account for equity regarding access to technology. Students will use computer-based technology including ExamSoft to help prepare for their national exam, and EHRGo electronic health records to align with future health care practice.  

How to Apply 

Students interested in applying to North Central’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program can do so online through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) by going to 

For more information, visit