Doctor of Physical Therapy students

Doctor of Physical Therapy Clinical Education

The Methodist University DPT program feels that clinical education is a critical element of the professional education of physical therapists. The design of our clinical education gives each student a broad base of clinical exposure and the opportunity to acquire entry-level skills through two part-time and three full-time clinical rotations for a total of 38 weeks.

The experiences allow the student to develop communication and interpersonal skills needed to function as a professional, educator, and healthcare team member. We recognize cultural and individual differences and encourage students to develop their clinical “style” within the accepted professional, ethical, and legal clinical practice parameters.

Clinical Education Experiences

The part-time Clinical Education Experiences focus on facilitating the application and integration of didactic information from the classroom into clinical practice through clinical problem-solving and psychomotor skills application and development of appropriate affective behaviors. Clinical experiences are not meant to foster independent performance but to help bridge the gap between the classroom and the clinic. Starting in the second year, students will complete one-day-per-week clinical experiences in the fall and spring semesters.

Clinical Education Practicums

The Clinical Education Practicums are full-time clinical rotations designed to foster the application and integration of didactic information from the classroom into clinical practice by expanding clinical reasoning, refining psychomotor skills, and integrating appropriate affective behaviors. With the direct supervision of licensed Clinical Instructors, students incorporate new concepts and skills specific to the clinical education practicum into their knowledge and clinical performance. The first full-time, 10-week practicum occurs in the summer term of the second year. In the fall and spring term of the third year, students complete two 12-week full-time clinical practicums.

Clinical Education Partnerships

If you want to take students for part-time or full-time clinical rotations, please get in touch with the Director of Clinical Education, Dr. Rebecca Helms, at 910.480.8593 or 


Note: The University no longer requires the COVID-19 vaccine for enrollment.

The Methodist University DPT Program requires successful completion of all clinical education courses to meet professional program requirements for graduation. MU DPT professional curriculum requires two part-time and three full-time clinical education rotations. The program utilizes medical centers, private practices, and federal facilities for rotations, which are known to require proof of full and up-to-date vaccination against COVID-19. Any DPT student not vaccinated may be required to submit an exemption request for each clinical facility they are placed in that requires the COVID-19 vaccination. Matriculating students must acknowledge that the university’s COVID-19 policy is separate from clinical facilities and does not guarantee the facility’s exemption will be granted. MU DPT shall not provide accommodations for the student if the clinical site exemption is denied and the student cannot complete the clinical education rotation, which may result in delayed graduation or failure to complete the program. Clinical education placements remain at the sole discretion of the affiliated clinical education facilities and the MU Department of Physical Therapy. Students sign a COVID-19 Informed Consent Form (updated annually) while enrolled in the program. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The standards for clinical education are set by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

For the Clinical Education Experiences, CAPTE does not require a minimum number of hours. The Methodist University DPT program facilitates two part-time clinicals that are 1 day/week for 10 weeks, a total of 80 hours per rotation. For Clinical Education Practicums, CAPTE standards require a minimum of 30 weeks of full-time clinicals for physical therapy students. All students must complete the clinicals required by Methodist University to qualify for graduation and be eligible for the NPTE exam and state licensure. Our full-time clinicals consist of a 10-week and two 12-week clinicals.

While CAPTE does not mandate specific types of clinical rotations, such as pediatrics, the standards recommend that students be exposed to various patients across the lifespan and practice settings. We encourage students to seek placement in various settings for exposure to the breadth and depth of physical therapy practice.

Clinical rotations are determined one year in advance. Some sites are in the Fayetteville area, while others are in North Carolina, surrounding states, and across the country. All expenses incurred in travel are the student’s sole responsibility. Before confirming placements, students should research and ensure they can travel to any facilities listed on their site selection survey. Students are also responsible for securing transportation to and from housing and the clinical site.

In conjunction with the mission of the DPT Program, international clinical education practicums are available. The MU DPT Program has affiliations/contracts with Hillside Health Care International in Belize. International placements are not guaranteed.

The DPT Program has established a designated process for students to request clinical placements. Students can request a new site affiliation be established according to the procedure outlined in the Clinical Education Manual. The DCE carefully considers new site development if adequate evidence shows that the new site will enhance Methodist University’s clinical education program. The DCE considers all aspects during the selection process, including student preferences; however, no placement is guaranteed.