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Potential students get a glimpse of upcoming Doctor of Physical Therapy program
BY BILLY LIGGETT
As was the case with other health science programs Campbell has started in recent years, the idea for a Doctor of Physical Therapy program came from a need — North Carolina is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, but when it comes to the number of licensed physical therapists, the state ranks 38th out of 50.
“We’re not keeping up with demand,” said Greg Dedrick, director of Campbell University’s upcoming physical therapy program and associate professor of health professional studies for the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. “There’s an estimate that the need for physical therapy jobs will grow by 39 to 40 percent between 2010 and 2020 on a national level. If you look at North Carolina, the projection is an increase of 30 percent by 2016.”
The statistics were just one of the many selling points Dedrick introduced at an open house for prospective physical therapy students in Maddox Hall on July 11. Approximately 20 students, accompanied by friends and family, attended the program to not only learn more about physical therapy as a career, but what kind of program Campbell is hoping to offer.
Campbell’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program received approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to continue its national accreditation process, and Dedrick submitted Campbell’s application to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education during the spring. Pending accreditation approval, classes for the new program are expected to begin in January.
Dedrick says he expects a class of between 32 and 40 students to make up the charter group.
Students in attendance at the open house ranged from recent college grads who’d be ready to jump right in with the charter class to those who have yet to finish high school.
Their reasons for wanting to learn more about physical therapy vary, but they all agree on at least one aspect of the career — there’s nothing dull about it.
“I’m interested in the hands-on aspect of it, working with different people, the flexibility in scheduling and not sitting in a cubicle all day,” said Johan Daniel, a 2012 graduate of Kean University in New Jersey.
Daniel has worked as a personal trainer since graduation, and he drove over eight hours from New Jersey to Buies Creek to see what Campbell had to offer.
He said Campbell’s success with its pharmacy school and the soon-to-launch School of Osteopathic Medicine were factors in his decision to make that long drive.
Forbes ranked “physical therapist” as the third-best career in terms of job satisfaction in 2011, behind “clergy” and “firefighter.” It also made the list of best jobs for young people at No. 4. According to Dedrick, the median salary for a physical therapist is $80,000 a year, and that number actually improves when PTs face less competition (i.e. in rural areas).