Due to the proliferation of entry-level doctorate physical therapy programs (DPT), there are two important qualifications for current physical therapy educators: 1) they should hold academic doctorate degrees and 2) they need to conduct scholarly activity, such as research, to increase the scientific base for physical therapy practice. In order to determine current faculty preparation for the increasing number of DPT programs, this descriptive study compared the current percentage of doctorally prepared faculty teaching in entry-level doctorate and masters degree programs, and determined their contributions through original research, publications as first or contributing authors or presentations, during the last five years. A questionnaire requesting demographic characteristics of faculty; the time spent on teaching, research, administration, and supervising student research; and the number of publications and presentations during the last five years was developed. The questionnaire was sent to 1416 faculty members in 182 physical therapy programs throughout the United States. Forty-three percent or 609 questionnaires were returned and used for data analysis. Results showed the majority of faculty teaching in physical therapy programs offering doctorate degrees were doctorally prepared (61.9%). In entry-level masters degree programs, masters degree faculty (50.2%) showed a slight majority over doctorally prepared faculty (47.3%). The study indicated that among the total faculty respondents less than half (48.0%) published as first authors while 60.3% published as contributing authors during the last five years. Higher percentages of faculty (81.5%) presented at scientific meetings than published. Results showed a significant relationship between number of publications and presentations and faculty’s highest earned degree, and academic rank. There was no relationship with faculty experience. Faculty with PhD, EdD, and DPTSc degrees published an average of at least one article per year during the last five years, while faculty with masters degrees published just over one article in five years. Small increases in doctorally prepared faculty that have occurred since 1994 indicate a shortage of doctorally prepared faculty to teach in the increasing number of entry-level DPT programs. In addition, if most of the current masters level faculty are not presently in doctoral degree programs, this shortage will be even greater in the future, and will hinder the ability of entry-level masters degree programs to move toward the entry-level DPT. The lack of doctorally prepared faculty publishing original research will hinder the profession’s progress toward autonomous practice. Compounding this problem is the fact that faculty are presenting more than they are publishing. These presentations are not archived to add to the foundation of physical therapy practice.

Key Words: Physical Therapy Education, Scholarly Productivity, Faculty Scholarship, Professional Issues, Physical Therapy Profession

LLU Discipline

Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy


School of Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Everett B. Lohman III

Second Advisor

Grenith J. Zimmerman

Third Advisor

Gail T. Rice

Fourth Advisor

Michael Laymon

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Physical Therapy; Research; Faculty, Physical Therapy.



Page Count

vi; 106

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives