Dr. Jenna Sawdon-Bea shows student Kevin Ousey how to perform a passive intervertibral motion assessment. Julian Paredes / The Collegian
By Matt Criswell
The physical therapy program at Fresno State was recently ranked No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in California by GraduatePrograms.com.
From September 2012 to September 2013, GraduatePrograms.com collected data to rank the best physical therapy programs in the nation.
Fresno State was also ranked the No. 19 top program for career support and the No. 18 top for faculty support.
More than 40,000 students participated in collecting data by posting reviews and answering surveys about the programs they participated in.
“I am very proud of the students and faculty here in our department at Fresno State,” said Dr. Peggy Trueblood, chair of the physical therapy department.
Trueblood said many of the students to graduate from the program become successful in the field.
“We have several students here locally that are in private practice, and we have several that hold leadership positions in our professional organization,” Trueblood said.
The physical therapy program at Fresno State started out as a bachelor’s degree in 1973 but transitioned to a master’s degree program in 1993. The program proposed a two-year course to obtain a master’s in 2000 as well as a bachelor’s degree with a pre-physical therapy option.
The department made these changes in order to develop a larger undergraduate program, help students complete the program faster and meet requirements of the current Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education for post-baccalaureate education.
Due to a change in legislation as of fall 2012, Fresno State has been able to offer a three-year doctorate program.
Currently, there are no statistics for the fairly new physical therapy graduation rates. When Fresno State offered a two-year master’s degree, the average graduation rate was 94 percent from 2009 to 2012. The overall pass rate for the licensing exam was 100 percent, and the employment rate was 100 percent during those same years.
Benjamin Crose, one of those students who graduated from the program, received a master’s degree as well as a doctorate. He described his time at Fresno State as stressful, but educational.
“Fresno State, while it has a history of educating students with an emphasis in treating balance, vestibular and neurological conditions, provided me with a well-rounded education in physical therapy,” said Crose.
Crose is currently working as the lead physical therapist at Kingsburg Physical Therapy.
“Fresno State educates and trains its graduates to be able to work well in any setting because a good portion of its graduates have remained in the area, and we work in smaller, usually rural clinics or hospitals,” Crose said.