Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Physical Therapy (M.S.)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Jane Toot

Second Advisor

Andrea C. Bostrom

Third Advisor

Youseek Joeng


Education must keep pace with the trend toward nationwide direct access to physical therapy. This study surveyed students in their final year of an entry-level master's degree program to determine if they feel prepared to practice under direct access upon graduation. Only 34-38% of the students felt prepared to practice under direct access.; The main factor that influenced their low perceptions of preparation was the amount of clinical affiliation experience remaining. Other factors, such as direct access status of the state in which the students were educated and most skills and knowledge related to direct access, did not correspond with their low perceptions. The two areas in which they did not feel adequately prepared were knowledge of non-musculoskeletal pathologies to detect a serious medical problem outside of a physical therapist's scope, and the mechanism and side effects of drugs as they relate to patients receiving physical therapy.


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