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Physical therapy graduates again achieve 100% passage rate on national exams

group photo in Hill Hall
The WSSU Doctor of Physical Therapy class of 2018 received a perfect 100 percent passage rate on their national licensure exams.

For the third consecutive year, graduates of Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program have received a perfect 100 percent first-time passage rate on their national licensure exams.

Of the 27 WSSU December graduates who took the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), a requirement to become a licensed physical therapist, all successfully passed on the first attempt. Also, their average scores (716) once again were significantly higher than the national average (671).

In addition, for the fourth time since 2016, a WSSU graduate had a perfect score of 800 on the exam.

Dr. Lynn Millar, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, attributes the success to the supportive environment faculty create.

“Having a 100 percent cohort pass rate three years in a row demonstrates the quality of our program and dedication of our faculty,” Millar said. “This reinforced with our assessment data from employers who indicate that our graduates are well prepared from day one.”

WSSU’s 100 percent first-time passage rate ranks the program among the best in the nation, Millar said.

Millar said 80 percent of DPT graduates plan to stay and practice in North Carolina.

Addressing Healthcare Diversity

In 2015, the School of Health Sciences launched an early assurance agreement, a first for an HBCU, that opens the door for WSSU undergraduates who meet admissions criteria to enter the DPT program with one semester remaining in the senior year. A goal of the program is to increase diversity in the profession to better meet the healthcare needs of North Carolina and the nation.

Through the effort, diversity of the 2018 graduating class was well above the national average. 

WSSU’s physical therapy program began as a master’s-level program and has graduated nearly 400 students since its first class in 1993. Twenty eight students are enrolled in the program each spring to begin a 36-month curriculum that includes four clinical education experiences spanning 36 weeks.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is a signature program of WSSU’s School of Health Sciences, which offers learning opportunities for professional and graduate education. For more information, please visit the SOHS website.

WSSU Department of Physical Therapy Firsts 

  • 2010: First doctoral program at WSSU.
  • 2015: First early assurance program at an HBCU. 
  • 2017: First North Carolina-based university to offer a transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (t-DPT) program marketed to international students. In August, the program, which is for physical therapists who are ready to advance their careers, had the largest increase in enrollment of any at WSSU program, growing from four to 32 students.
  • 2018: First HBCU-based physical therapy residency program.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

student forms a W with her hands as she receives her doctoral hood
Courtney Hunt '15, '18, shows her Ram pride during the Doctor of Physical Therapy Hooding Ceremony on Dec. 14.

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