Pitt Expands Access to Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Programs with Hybrid Offerings

June 17, 2021

The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is now offering its No. 1 ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy and its Physician Assistant Studies programs in a hybrid format to serve more communities and students

PITTSBURGH, June 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) is expanding access to its No. 1 ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy program and its Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies by offering each program in a hybrid online/in-person format.

‍Pitt is among the first higher education institutions to bring these degree options online, which will allow students from across the U.S. to study and train in their own communities and to benefit from a lower cost of attendance.

‍”While educational excellence has always been an integral part of our school’s success, we are now finding innovative ways to make our programs more accessible and more affordable,” said Anthony Delitto, dean of SHRS.

‍These new programs mark the third and fourth that the school has launched in collaboration with Noodle, an online learning network. Previously, SHRS worked with Noodle to develop its online Master of Science in Health Informatics and the Doctor of Clinical Science in Occupational Therapy programs.

‍”These two hybrid programs further demonstrate Pitt SHRS’ commitment to increasing access to its high-quality health care programs. Noodle and SHRS share the belief that online and hybrid learning is a powerful tool in bringing education to more people in more ways,” said Noodle CEO John Katzman. “This is exactly how innovative universities must educate the next generation of leaders.”

About the programs

‍The new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) hybrid option is an expansion of SHRS’ long-standing residential program, currently ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report.

‍”The DPT hybrid option will allow students from diverse backgrounds and geographic areas to take advantage of the education offered by Pitt’s top-ranked DPT program,” said Kim Nixon-Cave, director of the DPT hybrid offering. “One of the goals of developing the hybrid option is to offer DPT education to students who might be limited by financial costs, an inability to relocate or family commitments.”

‍Students will complete 42 weeks of full-time clinical experiences in or near their home communities which, Cave noted, will hopefully encourage graduates from the program to stay in these areas and increase access to PT services in regions that are typically underserved. Hybrid students will also be required to travel to the University of Pittsburgh each term for several immersive laboratory sessions.

‍Additionally, the length of the entire DPT program has been shortened to seven terms, or a little over two years, providing students further time and cost savings.

‍Students in the two-year Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) Hybrid Program will have the opportunity for clinical placements within a network of more than 2,000 health care settings located throughout the country. The PAS-Hybrid program will soon be applying for provisional accreditation from the ARC-PA, and it will only commence if accredited.

‍Students may now apply for the DPT program. Pitt will accept 30 students into the DPT hybrid format this fall and up to 90 hybrid students each fall, starting with the 2022 cohort.

‍The PAS Hybrid Program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 semester. One hundred students will be accepted into the initial cohort.

‍”We aim to provide access to our high-quality PA training for students who want to continue to live in and support their local communities,” said David Beck, director of the PAS Hybrid Program and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. “Our program will provide clinical training near our students’ homes so their professional advancement can benefit their neighbors, especially those in need of health care, during their training and after graduation.”

‍Pitt PT’s hybrid offering will make use of the same curriculum and plan of study as the residential DPT program. Hybrid students will participate in asynchronous and synchronous online learning activities and will come to Pittsburgh twice per term to learn and practice the hands-on and clinical decision-making skills required of physical therapists.

‍”Upon graduation, we expect hybrid students to achieve the same exceptional educational outcomes for which our program is known,” said James Irrgang, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.

About the University of Pittsburgh:
The University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) is a nationally renowned leader in the field of health care education, research and clinical practice preparation. With 13 different disciplines related to health and rehabilitative care, SHRS shapes future generations of health care professionals—therapists, counselors, advocates, scientists, providers and practitioners—trained to serve the needs of all people regardless of background, levels of health or mobility.

‍Pitt’s Department of Physical Therapy, established in 1927, is one of the oldest physical therapist educational programs in the United States.

About Noodle:
Noodle is a certified B-Corp. that creates excellent online and agile programs that elevate campus-wide teaching and technology. Since January 2019, Noodle has launched as many online programs with elite US universities as have all of our competitors combined. Our network of universities, higher education leaders, providers and students fuel innovation and efficiency in learning design, marketing, recruitment, technology, student and faculty support, and clinical placement. For more information, visit partners.noodle.com and follow us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/noodleeducation and Twitter @NoodleEducation.

Renee Young

Natalie Baney
University of Pittsburgh
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


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