Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Mabey


Physical Therapy -- education


This alumni survey on which this independent study is based was developed and distributed by the University of North Dakota Department of Physical Therapy (UND-PT) as an outcomes assessment tool for program evaluation. The results will be used by the faculty to determine the answer to these three research questions: who are the UND-PT alumni as related to their practice patterns, what is the future of physical therapy as a profession, and how effective is the UND-PT program in educating proficient entry-level therapists. With this information, the department will be able to make curriculum modifications and be better prepared to meet the needs of future physical therapy education. This self study will also be used, in part, to meet accreditation standards set by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), as the program is up for reaccreditation in 2003.

The survey was sent to 942 alumni of the UND-PT program spanning from its first graduating class in 1970n to the class of 1998. It was a voluntary survey which consisted of six sections of questions which directly related to the three research questions previously mentioned. The data were analyzed and the results are depicted within this independent study.

There were 592 surveys returned for a response rate of 63%. Of these respondents, 72% were female. Forty-four percent hold a Master's degree or higher. Approximately 37% have some type of specialty certification. Although 42 states employ UND-PT alumni, over 50% of them are employed in the upper Midwest. The majority of the alumni work in hospital settings, are salaried employees, and treat mostly the orthopedic population. Forty-nine percent are APT A members.

Within their own facilities, respondents foresee changes in the number of personnel, either an increase (most prevalent among responses) or a decrease of PTs and PTAs on staff, as well as a department or facility expansion within the next five years. Within the profession in general, respondents foresee a decrease in the number of job openings, a decrease in third-party reimbursements, and diversification within the field.

The alumni reported being satisfied with their education. Ninety-eight percent of them rated the academic and clinical preparation that they received within the UND-PT program as being good to excellent.

The information collected through this alumni survey will be valuable to the UND-PT Department, filling a vital piece of the whole within program evaluation and development. Current curriculum may be retained or discarded as a result. As an outcomes assessment, this process is multidimensional and ongoing.