SHU Offers New Graduate Program in Advanced Orthopaedic Physical Therapy: Only Such Program Available in Connecticut

News Story: January 24, 2013

Sacred Heart University began offering a post-professional graduate-level certificate program in advanced orthopaedic physical therapy in January 2013. The program, the only one of its kind in Connecticut, consists of 18 credits earned on campus and online.

The program is designed to prepare graduates to practice advanced, evidence-based orthopaedic physical therapy and sit for the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties Certification Examination as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS). “We’re trying to meet the needs of both the academic and clinical side of physical therapy, to keep people training while also preparing them to acquire this increasingly valued credential,” says Gary Austin, associate professor of physical therapy and director of the new program.

“The curriculum provides advanced didactic training in concepts and issues related to orthopaedic physical therapy, dealing primarily with issues related to the musculoskeletal system,” Austin says. “This is a great option for physical therapists who are looking to effectively update and upgrade their skills and knowledge and to advance their practice.”

One of the key components of the program is that it’s delivered in a hybrid format, with both online and on-site educational opportunities. Much of the coursework is completed remotely, supported by four weekend workshops focused on hands-on training.

“We’re looking to grow and meet the educational needs of practicing physical therapists not only in the state of Connecticut, but in the region and even nationally, because we have the resources, and we have the faculty to do it,” Austin says. “This is a great step forward for our entire program.”

Students can earn the certificate in as little as one year or as long as two years. The program is designed for physical therapists who have completed an entry-level degree from an accredited physical therapy program, are licensed as physical therapists and have been practicing in an orthopaedic setting.

Austin says classes will be kept small and focused, with a target of 12 students admitted to the program at a time.