Clinical education is a critical part of the preparation of all physical therapists. The D.P.T. curriculum includes extensive clinical education in a variety of practice settings. It involves part-time experiences in local clinical facilities as part of assigned course work in addition to the longer full-time clinical practicums. The Acute Care Practicum (eight weeks) occurs during the second year fall term; the Musculoskeletal Practicum (10 weeks) occurs during the third year summer term; and the Neuromuscular Practicum (12 weeks) occurs during the third year spring term.
Sites for Clinical Practicums
Sites for clinical practicums are located all over the United States. Placements may be available in acute, long-term acute and rehabilitation hospitals, ambulatory care centers, private practices, nursing homes/extended care facilities, inpatient and outpatient pediatric facilities, and occupational medicine sites. Clinical practicum assignments are made on the basis of the student’s educational needs and the availability of appropriate sites.
Additional Responsibilities and Obligations
Due to the nature and location of the clinical assignments, a student must understand the additional responsibilities and obligations required of this critical portion of the program. These responsibilities include provision for transportation, living expenses (e.g., housing, meals, etc.), textbooks and educational supplies. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation for clinical integration and clinical practicums so a car is necessary.
Practice Outside of Texas
It is recommended that students travel outside of Texas for at least one (1) of the full-time clinical experiences. Students are required to make their own arrangements for housing, as most of the facilities are no longer able to provide living quarters for students.
Students should anticipate a total additional cost of $6,000 - $7,000 for all full-time clinical experiences, though each student must understand that the cost incurred may vary significantly from student to student and clinical to clinical. Additional expenses required for clinical education include, but are not limited to lab jacket, meals, annual tuberculosis test or chest X-ray, Hepatitis B vaccinations, updated tetanus and MMR immunizations, pertussis, flu vaccination, chicken pox vaccination (or evidence of chicken pox immunity by history or titer) and CPR certification. In addition, proof of health insurance and a criminal background check are also required. Professional liability insurance premiums are paid by the program. The student must understand that some clinical facilities to which they may be assigned, may have other health and/or safety requirements that will be at the student’s expense.
The student Clinical Education Handbook that includes policies and procedures is available online by clicking on ‘Handbooks and Publications’ on this website. Students must abide by and uphold the policies and procedures contained in this publication.