Information about the Doctor of Physical Therapy program Information about the Doctor of Physical Therapy program Information about the Doctor of Physical Therapy program Information about the Doctor of Physical Therapy program Information about the Doctor of Physical Therapy program
School of Education & Health Sciences

Doctor of Physical Therapy


Graduate Admission

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) - Pending Approval

The North Central College School of Education and Health Sciences is currently developing a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Pending Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education approval, the Program will enroll its first cohort in January 2023 and graduate its first cohort in May 2025.

Why Choose North Central?

  • January Program Start, 28-month program:  Use that Fall semester to finish courses, travel, work and still graduate in May!
  • Built on two strong educational foundations:  Liberal Arts and Movement Science.
  • Semi-Self Paced and Personalized Approach to Learning:  We do not all learn the same or have the same goals so why not be flexible!
  • Competency-Based, Pass/No Pass:  The focus is mastery of knowledge and skill acquisition to be an excellent clinician, educator, scholar, and leader, not grades!
  • Centered on Technology:  Technology is an important part of healthcare practice; we embrace it.

Mission, Vision, Values, and Commitment

The North Central College DPT Program, from curriculum to policies has been built on a Mission, Vision, Values, and Commitment that embodies both North Central College and the profession of physical therapy.


doctor of physical therapy program; mission, vision & values


North Central College's Physical Therapy Program Goals

Our program goals align with our Mission, Vision, Values, and Commitment, further promoting excellence, service to society, the movement system, and success of the learner. Our college will build upon the foundational knowledge of your bachelor's degree to prepare you for your future physical therapy profession with the following goals in mind; 

  1. Provide students with a health science curriculum that embraces a liberal arts foundation, enhancing skills in critical thinking, civic engagement, self-reflection, and life-long learning.
  2. Construct a curriculum that develops movement system experts dedicated to serving society through movement.
  3. Embrace a culture of excellence, in all aspects of teaching, scholarship, service, and engagement.
  4. Be committed to the success of the learner in personal and professional development.
  5. Model scholarly inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge through active scholarly work aligned with the Program vision, mission, values, and commitment, evidence-based educational instruction, and emphasis on evidence-based practice in the classroom.

North Central College's DPT Degree

The program seeks to enroll students who embody the mission, vision, values, and commitment of the Program. As a physical therapy student you will explore the clinical skills necessary for patient management and patient care in order to work in a clinical setting. You will apply an evidence based practice in the classroom to best prepare you for your physical therapy profession. Prospective students are individuals who;

  • Desire to serve society as an excellent physical therapist in the health care environment.
  • Embrace the idea of a liberal arts foundation as part of the DPT education to enhance their ability to serve society regardless of the physical therapy environment they plan to pursue employment in the future.
  • Welcome all types of diversity as an important aspect of becoming an excellent licensed physical therapist.
  • Understand or be willing to embrace the value of technology as part of the education and future health care practice.
  • Align with the mission of North Central College:  We are a diverse community of learners dedicated to preparing students to be curious, engaged, ethical, and purposeful citizens and leaders in local, national, and global contexts.

Physical Therapy Degree Outcomes

Program date including acceptance rate, matriculation rate, graduation rate, National Physical Therapy Licensure Rate, and employment rate will be posted here once data becomes available.

Accreditation Status

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; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

North Central College 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 June 1, 2022.  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.


North Central College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Curriculum

The North Central College Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum is a 7 semester, 112 credit program with 36 weeks of full-time clinical experiences spread across 28 months.

The North Central College Doctor of Physical Therapy Curriculum includes all the necessary information for a student to successfully pass their National Physical Therapy Exam and become a licensed physical therapist.  But, we believe this goal is the minimum our students should achieve.  By creating a unique curriculum designed to develop excellent clinicians, educators, scholars and leaders prepared to serve society as movement system experts now and into the future, we envision our future students and alumni exceeding educational standards as they strive to achieve their personal and professional goals.  Below are key components of our curriculum we believe are essential to DPT education at North Central College.

Curricular Foundations

The curriculum of the DPT program is built on two primary foundations - the liberal arts and movement science.  The liberal arts foundation informs who we are as people and professionals, providing us insight into self-reflection, critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and appreciation of the lived experiences of others.  The movement science foundation informs our understanding of physical therapy practice, providing us with the necessary knowledge in anatomy, kinesiology, neuroscience, physiology, imaging, nutrition, biomechanics, to evaluate and treat our future patients and clients.  Together the liberal arts and movement sciences provide the foundation needed to be excellent movement system experts prepared to serve society.

Integrated Curriculum

The curriculum of the DPT Program is highly integrated and built on the idea that if we teach physical therapy in a manner it is practices, they will be more prepared to enter clinical practice in the future.  We intentionally have designed our courses to mimic clinical practice, starting with the basics of communication and advancing through the components of physical therapy practice as practitioners do, learning about billing, scheduling, diagnosis, examination, intervention, in the order and manner in which we would expect each to occur in clinical practice.  we also connect the foundational movement sciences with the examination of the movement system to enhance student appreciation and understanding of the fundamentals of our profession.  Fundamentals of a liberal arts education are integrated to develop critical thinking, problem solving, strong communication skills, self-reflection, and a greater appreciation for the lived experiences of every individual they encounter.  The integrated curriculum is divided into three phases, Foundational content, Clinical Practice, and Advanced Clinical Practice.  Across these 3 phases, the curriculum is built on a series of 10 sequence of courses.

Curricular Threads

The DPT Program faculty believe it is important to strengthen key elements of the Mission, Vision, Values, and Commitment throughout the curriculum by incorporating curricular threads across the curriculum that explicitly align with the Mission, Vision, Values, and Commitment, including Pursuit of Knowledge, Culture of Excellence, Serving Society, and Human Movement System.

curricular threads



Technology is an important part of the healthcare practice.  We use technology to communicate, collaborate, educate, evaluate, treat, and learn.  For this reason, technology is also an important part of the learning experience in the DPT Program at North Central College.  Each student will be provided a device upon entering the program that is pre-loaded with the software that will be utilized throughout the educational experience.  Students are encouraged to use their technology to enhance their learning.

Semi-Self-Paced Approach to Learning

Not everyone learns at the same pace, using the same techniques, for all content areas.  For this reason, the North Central College DPT Program has designed a curricular model that is semi-self paced.  Content that naturally could move into a packaged, online environment such as definitions and facts has been removed from the traditional lecture style classroom environment and moved into a flexible, online environment.  Information is presented using different modalities, allowing students choice in when and how they study this content.  Time in class is reserved for active learning, critical thinking, problem solving, and engaging with faculty and peers in a dynamic learning environment.  This semi-self paced approach to learning also allows for the flexibility some students need should they need to continue to work, provide care for others, or have other life experiences that are as equally or more important to them as their physical therapy education.


The curricular schedule is designed to maximize the 28-month period while also providing students with the opportunity to maintain mental and physical health and well-being in what often can be a stressful time of life.  Periods of traditional classroom learning are shorter, with the longest module being 9 weeks in length.  These modules are intermixed with periods of self-paced learning, reflection, full-time clinical experiences, and vacation.

Timeline graphic

Competency-Based, Pass/No Pass Approach

The mission of the DPT program is to develop excellent clinicians, scholars, educators, and leaders.  The faculty of the DPT Program believe to do this, the emphasis should be on competency in skill acquisition and not the grade itself.  The faculty want to focus on helping learners succeed at achieving their personal and professional goals by being explicit in they believe is competence in a content area, and then focus on assessment on helping the learner achieve this goal.

How to Apply

There are two routes of entry into the North Central College DPT Program.  North Central College undergraduate students or alumni may take advantage of the NCC DPT Guarantee.  North Central College students or alumni who do not qualify for the NCC DPT Guarantee and prospective students from outside North Central College are also strongly encouraged to apply. Diversity of thought, culture, body structure, and personality are important to the DPT Program; this diversity starts with a diverse applicant pool for consideration. 

Pending CAPTE accreditation, the North Central College DPT program will admit its first class in January of 2023.  The DPT Program plans to participate in the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service, known as PTCAS, in the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.  Applicants applying to the January 2023 entering class will apply online using the PTCAS application beginning in July 2021. To learn more about PTCAS, visit

Application Deadline 

Applicants interested in pursuing a position in the charter class are encouraged to apply early.  The application deadline for the class admitted in January 2023 is as follows:

  • NCC DPT Guarantee applicants must submit their applications by December 1, 2021
  • All other applicants must submit their applications by May 16, 2022 

Inquiries about the program can be directed to or the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at 

Application Requirements

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program admissions requirements align with the Mission, Vision, Values, and Commitment of the Program. We strive to enroll students who embody these same values who we believe will be successful as learners in the North Central College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program environment.

GPA Requirements

  • A cumulative and prerequisite GPA of 2.85 or higher. All prerequisite course grades must be a C or higher.

Course Requirements

  • 1 semester of Biology with lab (3-4 semester credits)
  • 2 semesters of Chemistry with labs (6-8 semester credits)
  • 2 semesters of Physics with labs (6-8 semester credits)
  • 2 semesters of Anatomy and Physiology with labs (6-8 semester credits) OR one semester of Anatomy with lab (3-4 credits) and one semester of Physiology with lab (3-4 credits)
  • 1 semester of Statistics (2-4 semester credits)
  • 2 semesters of Psychology (6-8 semester credits)
  • 2 semesters of humanities or social sciences (6-8 semester credits)

AP credit or courses taken Pass/No Pass will not be accepted. An exception will be granted for classes taken as Pass/No Pass due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If a student graduated from an institution that only provided Pass/No Pass for their entire undergraduate or graduate experience, the student should contact the School of Graduate and Professional Studies directly to discuss.

A minimum of 50% of the prerequisite courses must be completed prior to application. Applicants should upload a timeline for completing remaining prerequisites as part of the Program-specific application questions.  For courses not yet complete, include a timeline for completion as part of the PTCAS application. If accepted into the program, acceptance will be contingent upon completing prerequisite courses at a grade of C or higher and maintaining a 2.85 prerequisite GPA.

The program does recognize the application process opens 18 months prior to matriculation into the program, which may limit the ability to achieve the 50% prerequisite requirement for some applicants. If an applicant is currently enrolled in prerequisite courses at the time of application that appear on the submitted transcript and that would put them at or above the 50% threshold, they may include this information in their timeline for prerequisite completion and petition the program to accept an updated transcript at the end of the current semester. If the application meets all other requirements, the application will be held and reviewed upon receipt of an updated transcript.

Applicants may also petition to have accepted alternative courses in-leu-of defined prerequisite courses.  Such petitions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Submit petitions to

Additional Requirements

  • Earned baccalaureate degree
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation written by anyone other than a personal friend or family member. Letters will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee, considering how the applicant aligns with the Vision, Mission, Values, and Commitment of the North Central College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.
  • Official Transcripts are required for all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.
  • Responses to all essay questions included in the application materials.
  • The program uses holistic admissions process.  It is important applicants demonstrate characteristics consistent with the Vision, Mission, Values, and Commitment of the DPT Program.  We recognize not everyone has the ability to participate in the same activities outside of the educational environment, but do believe future students of the North Central College Doctor of Physical Therapy program are individuals who engage in more than just their studies.  Therefore, it is expected the application demonstrate this through inclusion of extracurricular activities or lived experiences. Examples include but are not limited to athletics, employment history, and volunteer opportunities, and other lived experiences the applicant wishes to include in their application.
  • Completion of the CASPer Test. Costs incurred are the responsibility of the applicant. 
  • For international applicants
    • During the 2021-2022 Admissions Cycle, the North Central College DPT Program is not accepting transcripts for baccalaureate degrees conferred outside the United States. For international applicants who have completed a baccalaureate in the United States, there are no additional requirements.

Optional Supplemental Application Material

The follow are items that may be included to potentially strengthen an application or demonstrate the applicant’s ability to succeed in the program.

  • GRE. The GRE is optional. If an applicant feels GRE scores would enhance the application, scores may be submitted (Code: 3177), along with a statement from the applicant of why GRE scores are as important or more important of an indicator to academic success than their GPA. GRE is not scored separately in the application process, but rather would be considered with GPA if the applicant wished.
  • Physical therapy observation and/or work experience as a physical therapist technician/aide or office assistant is encouraged but not required. The faculty feel applicants who have completed observation hours, worked as a rehabilitation aide, or have had other physical therapy experience are likely to be better prepared to answer application questions and feel more connected to their future profession at the start of the educational training. However, faculty also recognize it is not feasible for all applicants to have the same opportunities with regard to observing, working in a physical therapy setting, or having other physical therapy experiences. Therefore, we have made the decision to not require such hours. Instead, we have provided links on our Resource page to assist applicants with learning more about physical therapy through alternative methods. Applicants who have completed observation hours or obtained exposure to physical therapy work experiences should include this in their application as part of their work/volunteer experiences or observation hours.

Admissions Procedures

The DPT Program uses rolling admissions. Completed applications will be reviewed upon acceptance; the Program does not require interviews.  Applicants will be notified of their application status at various points throughout the review process.  Once notified of provisional acceptance, applicants must send a $500 deposit to reserve a space in the entering class. A second $250 deposit will be required at a later date. Deposits are non-refundable, but are credited toward the first semester’s tuition.  Should the Program not receive Candidacy status in Fall of 2022 for the January 2023 start date, students slated to start in the first cohort will receive a full refund for deposit(s) paid. 

The North Central College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program does not discriminate against qualified people with disabilities in the admissions process. We do require all students to meet the Program’s Essential Functions and Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodations.   

Tuition Cost and Fees

Estimated tuition and fees for the class matriculation in January of 2023.  Tuition is fixed for the length of the program, but may change for each entering class.

Fixed Costs Amount
Tuition ($875 per credit, 112 credits) $98,000
Onboarding Fee* $2,000
APTA Membership ($95/year)** $285
TOTAL $100,185

*The onboarding fee, applied during the starting term, covers the cost of an electronic device (e.g. laptop or similar device) and all technology and electronic books utilized in the program.  It also covers additional items typically purchased by students prior to matriculation including stethoscope, goniometers, reflex hammers, etc.  All included items are yet to be determined; the goal is to provide as part of this fee most items students would need to use in the classroom during their educational experience, except physical textbooks. 
**Students are required to be student members of the American Physical Therapy Association and one state Chapter during their time as a student in the DPT Program.  The estimated costs listed above are for being a member of the Illinois Chapter of the APTA. Students will pay membership fees directly to APTA and not as part of North Central College tuition and fees.

Variable Costs Amount
Physical Textbooks $1,500
Background Check * $49/Background Check
Drug Screen** $29/Drug Screening
Campus Parking $120/semester
Travel and Lodging Costs*** Variable

*The initial background check to enter the program is a cost covered by the program.  Any additional background checks required by clinical sites for full-time clinical experiences is incurred by the student.
**Any drug screens required by clinical sites for full-time clinical experiences is incurred by the student.
***Travel and lodging costs for integrated and full-time clinical experiences are variable at the responsibility of the student. 

Although not included in the above fees, students are reminded of the need to consider housing costs, health insurance, and any additional personal expenses they anticipate incurring during their time in the DPT program. Costs associated with living expenses vary by personal situations and choices.

Financial Aid

Please visit the graduate financial aid page for additional information. 

Admitted Student Information

All admitted students who plan to complete their DPT education at North Central will be required to do the following prior to matriculation. Additional information about program requirements will be provided to students as part of their Admitted Student Packet.  Should perspective students have questions about these or other potential program requirements, they are encouraged to contact the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at

  • Criminal Background Check:  State law requires that any person who provides services involving direct contact with patients and residents at hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities, demonstrate Criminal Background Clearance. A state and federal background check will be requested by the program on behalf of each student as a criterion for admission into the program. Pertinent findings that would exclude a student from participation on clinical education experiences will be cause for denying admission to the program.
  • Immunization: The Program's requirement for immunization is consistent with those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Illinois state law for healthcare workers. Students cannot be in patient/client care settings without the required immunizations. Immunization compliance is expected from matriculation through graduation. The following are required immunizations by North Central College and/or the DPT Program:  influenza; measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); varicella; tetanus, diptheria, pertussis (Tdap); hepatitis B; Meningococcal (if under age 22 at time of matriculation); and COVID-19 (subject to change as COVID-19 pandemic evolves).  Consistent with the policies of North Central College, students may apply for an immunization exemption. If a student is granted an exemption by the College, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will also honor that exemption, however, it is possible a student will not be able to complete their rotations on time or in specific settings. Further guidance will be provided regarding employability without immunization compliance.
  • Physical Examination: Documentation of adequate health to work with patients in a healthcare will be required.
  • Health Insurance: Students must provide proof of health insurance throughout their time in the program. Additional information about health insurance requirements will be provided to admitted students.



The faculty and staff of the North Central College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program are dedicated to the Vision, Mission, Values and Commitment of North Central College and the DPT program. Years of educational and clinical experiences have come together to develop an exciting and unique DPT learner experience dedicated to educational excellence and learner success while role modeling our values of integrity, excellence, and balance. The faculty welcome questions and dialogue with prospective students, current students, colleagues, and community members wanting to know more about the North Central College DPT program and the profession of physical therapy.

As additional faculty join us in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at North Central College, more information will be provided below to highlight faculty expertise.

Sara Scholtes

Professor and Chair, Department of Physical Therapy; Founding Director, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
School of Educ & Health Sci
+1 630 637 5835
Nicole Bettin

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy and Director of Clinical Education
School of Educ & Health Sci
+1 630 637 5919
Mickey Shah

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
School of Educ & Health Sci
+1 630 637 5851
Matthew Smith

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
School of Educ & Health Sci
Cameron Jadali

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
School of Educ & Health Sci
Eric Osburn
Eric Osburn

Coordinator, Department of Physical Therapy
School of Educ & Health Sci
+1 630 637 5839

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Resources

Below are additional resources specific to our program. 

Financial Aid and Literacy Resources

We understand many Doctor of Physical Therapy programs are costly. However, we believe learning should be affordable, especially for those in health professions. Learn about North Central College's financial aid resources.

Professional Resources 

Community Resources 


The Program in Physical Therapy feels it is important to share the successes of our faculty, staff, and students.  Below are recent activities. As our Program grows, we look forward to including additional activities of our faculty, staff, students and alumni!  



Di Staulo, AM, Scholtes SA, Salsich GB.  A descriptive report of the variability in 3D hip and knee kinematics during a single limb squat in women who have patellofemoral pain and visually classified dynamic knee valgus. Physiother Theory Pract. 2019;doi: 10.1080/09593985.2019.1698082. [Epub ahead of print] 

Scholtes SA, Salsich GB. Consistency of dynamic knee valgus kinematics and pain across functional tasks in females with patellofemoral pain. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2020:15(6):985-994. doi: 10.26603/ijspt20200985 


Conference Presentations 

Kluding PM, Flom-Meland CK, Scholtes SA, Haladay DE, Dale, RB, Vitente A.  ELI Leadership Projects: TED-like Talks from Emerging Faculty Leaders. Educational Session, Educational Leadership Conference of the American Physical Therapy Association, Bellevue, WA, October 2019. 

Bliss RA, Scholtes SA, Shultz ST, Jensen GM, Gillette C. Can Student Self-Reflection Improve? Exploring the Implementation of a Guided Self-Reflective Intervention. J Phys Ther Educ. Platform Presentation, Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, Denver, CO, February 2020. 

Scholtes SABettin NM. A Competency-Based Curriculum Integrating Movement Science with the Liberal Arts. Accepted to: Innovation Summit for Health Professions Education 2021. Virtual, June 2021. 

Bettin NM, Brown DS, Castillo MM, Robackouski JF. Mentoring Through Teaching and Leading: DPT Students as Clinical Instructors. Platform Presentation, Educational Leadership Conference of the American Physical Therapy Association, Atlanta, GA, October 2021.

Haladay DE, Scholtes SA, Flom-Meland CK, Reicherter AE. Reframing Perspectives of Educational Leaders: Autobiographies During a Pandemic. American Education Research Association 2021 Annual Meeting, Roundtable Paper Presentation. 


Continuing Education Presentations

Menninger BA, Bettin NM. OT and PT Ethics. Continuing Education Presentation for School District 203. Virtual, August, 2021.


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