Competencies of the Transition DPT Graduate

Foundational and Clinical Sciences

  • Use knowledge in the foundational and clinical sciences related to structure, movement dysfunction, response to injury and disease and promotion of health and wellness to enhance physical therapy outcomes.


  • Expressively and receptively communicate with patients/clients, family members, caregivers, practitioners, other consumers, payers, and policymakers.

Individual and Cultural Differences

  • Display sensitivity to individual and cultural differences in all professional interactions.

Professional Behavior

  • Demonstrate professional behaviors that are consistent with a doctoring profession in all aspects of practice.
  • Adhere to legal practice standards, including all federal, state, and institutional regulations related to patient/client care and fiscal management.
  • Practice in a manner consistent with the professional code of ethics.
  • Participate in peer-assessment activities.
  • Internalize responsibility and accountability as a member of the doctoring profession.

Critical Inquiry and Clinical Decision Making

  • Participate in the design and implementation of decision-making guidelines. (Guidelines include patient care management and administrative areas).
  • Demonstrate clinical decision making skills, including clinical reasoning, clinical judgment, and reflective practice.
  • Understand and apply the disablement and patient/client management models in physical therapist practice.
  • Critically evaluate published studies related to physical therapy and demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge from these studies in a scientific manner and to appropriate populations.
  • Secure and critically evaluate information in a timely manner related to new and established techniques and technology, legislation, policy, and environments related to physical therapy practice.
  • Participate in scholarly activities to understand or contribute to the body of physical therapy knowledge (ie, case reports/collaborative research).


  • Understand and apply educational theory (ie, teaching, learning and assessment) to practice in the community, clinical, and educational settings.

Professional Development

  • Manage an organized plan of professional development, which includes ongoing assessment, goal setting and implementation.


  • Identify health risks when patients/clients need further examination or consultation by a physical therapist or when they need to be referred to other health professionals or community resources.


  • Examine patients/clients by obtaining a history, by performing systems reviews, and by selecting and administering valid and reliable age-related tests and measures.


  • Synthesize data from the examination and analyze data to make clinical judgments regarding patient/client management.


  • Determine a diagnosis that guides patient/client management.
  • Develop a diagnosis (es) based on the disablement model.
  • Engage in the diagnostic process to establish differential diagnoses across systems & across the lifespan.


  • Determine patient/client prognosis.

Plan of Care

  • Establish and manage a Plan of Care that: 
    • Is safe and effective.
    • Is acceptable realistic and culturally sensitive.
    • Reflects collaboration with patient/client, family and payers.
    • Reflects collaboration with other health professionals.
    • Identifies patient goals and expected outcomes that reflect available resources.
    • Includes appropriate utilization of other services.
  • Includes appropriate referral for additional professionals and diagnostic services.
  • Includes the anticipated discharge plan.
  • Complies with administrative policies and procedures of the practice environment.
  • Monitor and adjust the plan of care in response to patient/client status.


  • Provide physical therapy interventions to achieve patient/client goals and outcomes.
  • Provide instruction to patients/clients and others to achieve goals and outcomes.
  • Complete documentation that follows professional guidelines, guidelines required by health care systems, and guidelines required by the practice setting.
  • Practice using principles of risk management and cultural competence.
  • Take appropriate action in an emergency in the setting where practice occurs.

Outcomes Assessment

  • Implement a method to assess individual and collective outcomes of patients/clients using valid and reliable measures that take into account the setting in which patients/clients are receiving services, the variables of cultural competence, and the effect of societal factors such as reimbursement.
  • Select patient/client variables that allow research evidence to be collected and applied.

Prevention, Health Promotion, Fitness, and Wellness

  • Provide services that are culturally sensitive to individuals, groups, and communities that reduce risk for injury or illness.

Management of Care Delivery

  • Manage primary, secondary, and tertiary care using the patient/client management and disablement models.  
  • Incorporate evidence/consensus-based practice in the management of patients/clients.

Administration/Business Management

  • Use effective principles of business and current and emerging technologies to strategically manage and develop resources and personnel.
  • Use creativity in developing, promoting, and enhancing physical therapy services.
  • Understand health care delivery systems to enhance patient/client access to quality care and to ensure reimbursement.


  • Provide consultation to businesses, schools, government agencies, or other organizations.

Professional Responsibility and Advocacy

  • Engage in professional activities to advance practice, research and education in physical therapy.      
  • Demonstrate social responsibility, citizenship, and advocacy including participation in community and human service organizations and activities.
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