Physical Therapy

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The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Physical Therapy Program is dedicated to quality graduate education in Physical Therapy.  The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program is designed to train therapists who can enter the profession as generalists. Program graduates are able to competently evaluate patients/clients, critically analyze new information, solve complex patient problems and have developed the skills to be life-long learners.  Our faculty represent the major sub-disciplines of physical therapy practice (musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular and pulmonary, integumentary and research) and the state of the art Health Science Center provides exceptional clinical lab and research facilities.  The Physical Therapy Program supports the La Crosse Institute of Movement Science (LIMS) and the Exercise Program for Adults with Neurologic Disorders (EXPAND).  In addition, The UWL Physical Therapy program is affiliated with the Gundersen Health System Sports Medicine Residency Program.

In Physical Therapy, You Can Make A Difference!!!

A factory worker with an injured elderly individual with arthritis...a recreational or elite individual who has had a stroke...a child or adult with a individual who works all day at a computer workstation...a middle aged adult who is experiencing shoulder individual recovering from elderly person living in a nursing home...a diverse group of people, yet each can benefit from physical therapy.

When individuals are recovering from injury or disease, the physical therapist evaluates and directs the recovery process to relieve pain, make them stronger, and help them to regain use of an affected limb. Physical therapists also teach patients and their families what to do so that healing continues through self-care at home.

Physical therapists have an opportunity to make a positive difference in people's quality of life. Their work often involves direct contact with people-with patients and other health care professionals.

Physical therapists also promote wellness and injury prevention. They teach the importance of personal fitness and explain how to prevent injury at work or at play.

Physical therapy attempts to meet an individual's health goals, whether a patient's goal is walking without assistance or running a marathon. A physical therapist is an integral part of the health care team that makes these goals a reality.

A Variety of Responsibilities and Settings

Physical therapists are part of the health care team. They work with other health care providers, such as physicians, occupational therapists, nurses, dentists, psychologists, social workers, podiatrists, and speech pathologists and audiologists.

Physical therapists many be self employed or work as an employee in many health care setting including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, community health centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, corporate or industrial health centers, sports facilities, research institutions, schools, pediatric centers, and colleges and universities.

Text Modified from the American Physical Therapy Website ( )

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Physical Therapists is expected to grow 36% from 2012-2022, considerably faster than the national average for all occupations.  To learn more about the current employment outlook please visit – Bureau of Labor Statistics

Vision Statement:
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Physical Therapy Program will be a recognized leader in evidence-based, clinically integrated, physical therapy education through collaboration among uniquely specialized professionals and institutions, serving diverse student and community populations and the physical therapy profession.
Mission Statement:
The mission of the Physical Therapy Program is to produce physical therapists who are autonomous practitioners and leaders in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of movement dysfunction, and who enhance the health and functional abilities of the Wisconsin public.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is accredited by:


The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Telephone: 703-706-3245

 Complaints regarding the program can be submitted directly to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) using this link: CAPTE Testimony

All students complete five internships throughout the curriculum.  The first internship, held during the student's first J-Term, is a two week experience to practice basic skills such as patient interviewing, muscle testing, documentation, etc.   The second experience occurs at the end of the student's second summer semester and lasts four weeks.  Emphasis is placed on rural/ primary care hospitals, home health, SNF, subacute settings.  After completing two years of study in La Crosse the program concludes with three 12 week internships – inpatient rehab or acute care, outpatient general orthopedics and a niche setting of the student’s choice (rural medicine, peds, sports, schools, research) which models the values characterized by autonomous practitioners.

Please be aware that a felony charge may affect your ability to obtain fieldwork placements and/or sit for the board examination.

University of Wisconsin La Crosse Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Outcomes

The University of Wisconsin- La Crosse Doctor of Physical Therapy Program’s outcomes reflect the collective efforts of a diverse academic faculty and committed clinical educators who challenge and support our students through a rigorous 34 month curriculum.  The following tables reflect a sample of objective outcome measures which describe our graduates for the Classes of 2010- 2017.

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Physical Therapy Graduation Rates

(does not include students who elected to withdraw for personal reasons)

Class of Graduation Rates
2017 93.3%
2016 97.8%
2015 100%
2014 100%
2013 100%
2012 97.8%

First Time NPTE Pass Rate for University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Graduates

Year UWL Pass Rate National Pass Rate
2017 100% (as of Sept. 2017)  93.9%
2016 100%  94.3%
2015 100% 91.3%
2014 100% 91%
2013 100% 90%
2012 100% 89%

Ultimate 3 year pass rate

Ultimate 3 year pass rate *

(Classes of 2014-2016) 


* Ultimate pass rate for graduates of US accredited PT Programs


University of Wisconsin- La Crosse Physical Therapy Program  Employment Rate

(within three months for graduates eligible for and seeking employment)

Class of UWL Employment Rate
2017 100%
2016 100%
2015 100%
2014 100%
2013 100%
2012 100%