Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Physical Therapy Doctorate Awarded Accreditation Candidacy

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Dpt Candidacy Press Photo

Pictured from left to right are: Tina S. Holland, PhD, President, Susan K. Steele-Moses, DNS, APRN-CNS, Dean, School of Health Professions, Sister Martha A. Abshire, Vice President for Mission Identity, Jeffrey Thompson, DPT, OCS, Cert. MDT, Director of Clinical Education, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Kelly Rodriguez, PT, DPT, NCS, Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy, T. Kirk Nelson, PT, PhD, Program Director, Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has granted candidacy for accreditation to the new doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (FranU).

In the late spring of 2018, CAPTE, the sole accrediting body for physical therapy professional education programs, authorized FranU to admit qualified candidates into the program. The first cohort will begin this fall.

“This represents a significant step in the evolution of physical therapist education in the state of Louisiana,” said Tina Holland, PhD, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University president. “We are the first new program to be developed in Louisiana in over four decades, and the only private institution in the state with a DPT program.” Currently, the only other DPT programs in the state of Louisiana are LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and Shreveport. 

Committed to addressing the demands of the community, FranU determined there was a need for an additional DPT program. Research has demonstrated that a significant shortage of physical therapists exists in the state of Louisiana and will continue over the next ten years.

The American Physical Therapy Association reports that the need for physical therapy practitioners is expected to increase nationally. As the U.S. population ages, physical therapy services will be required by greater numbers of elderly individuals who are more vulnerable to chronic and debilitating conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also supports this, stating the national demand for physical therapists is expected to spike upward 34% by 2024.

FranU has also announced that it will be participating in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service, or PTCAS, for DPT admissions. By joining this discipline-specific application service, the university will benefit from an expanded applicant pool and a more streamlined application review process. FranU joins over 200 other physical therapist education programs participating in PTCAS and will be accessible to over 20,000 applicants nationwide.

“The DPT program is excited to join PTCAS. This new admissions process will make it much easier for individuals to apply to our program and will increase our visibility to high caliber applicants nationwide,” said T. Kirk Nelson, PT, PhD, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University DPT program director.

Applicants applying to the FranU DPT program for the 2019 entering class will apply online using the PTCAS application beginning in July 2018.

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University As a premier Catholic institution in the Southeast, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, formerly Our Lady of the Lake College, provides dedicated students a rigorous and formative education that prepares them to be highly-skilled professionals, integrated thinkers and faith-filled citizens. The University was founded in 1923 by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL) and is faithful to its mission grounded in Franciscan values. Accredited to offer doctorate, masters, baccalaureate and associate degrees, the University has an enrollment of approximately 1400 students and offers degrees in nursing, health sciences, humanities, behavioral and natural sciences. To learn more about FranU, visit

Effective May 2nd, 2018, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (225) 768-1792 or email

Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation

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