Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Physical Therapy (M.S.)

Degree Program

Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Karen Ozga

Second Advisor

Thomas Herzog

Third Advisor

Jolene Bennett


The purpose of this study was to determine if employers in physical therapy outpatient facilities believed entry-level Master's degree graduates were adequately prepared to practice in a direct access environment. Three-hundred surveys were sent to employers in facilities in Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. A Likert Scale was utilized to determine opinions regarding physical therapy skills a new graduate may have after graduating from an entry-level Master's degree program. Analysis of variance was used to determine differences in opinion based on skill and employer categorization. Results indicated that employers did not believe physical therapy graduates have adequate skills to recognize diagnoses beyond the scope of physical therapy, understand disease processes which may mimic orthopedic disorders, or recognize when diagnostic testing is indicated. A majority of employers did not believe that entry-level Master's degree physical therapy graduates were adequately prepared to practice under direct access.


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