School of Allied Health Professions

Department of Physical Therapy

About Us

About Us

The Department of Physical Therapy offers an entry level Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The mission of the program is to develop graduates with outstanding clinical skills in Physical Therapy, including diagnosis, clinical reasoning, program planning, and therapeutic intervention. The program offers highly qualified faculty, state of the art facilities, and is located in the heart of the LSU Health New Orleans medical complex.

The program began in 1971 and the first class graduated in 1973. As stated in the Catalog/Bulletin, the LSU Health New Orleans Physical Therapy program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association and has been since 1973. The program is accredited for a ten year period (or until 2029) when the program will be re-evaluated.

American Physical Therapy Association

Louisiana Physical Therapy Association

Louisina State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners

Philosophy of the Department


What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapists (PTs) diagnose and treat individuals of all ages who have medical conditions or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.  Physical therapy is a dynamic profession that utilizes both scientific knowledge and evidence-based clinical expertise to treat individuals.

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation facilities, skills nursing facilities, home health agencies, school systems, hospices, corporate or industrial health centers, athletic facilities and fitness centers.  Physical therapists are required to have licensure in each state in which a physical therapist practices.

Physical therapists are a vital member of the healthcare team and interact and collaborate with a variety of professionals, including physicians, nurses, dentists, educators, social workers, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, audiologists and other healthcare personnel who may be involved in providing health care services to individuals.

Physical therapists may also provide services to prevent functional decline and/or eliminate the need for costlier care. Furthermore, physical therapists develop fitness programs and educational programs to encourage the public to engage in healthy behaviors and play an important role in developing healthcare policy, providing consultation to businesses, agencies and healthcare facilities, as well as engaging in research activities to substantiate outcomes of physical therapy services.

The elements of the physical therapy examination process include taking a patient/client history, conducting a systems review and performing specific tests and measure to identify potential and existing problems.  Physical therapists synthesize the information obtained from the examination and develop a physical therapy diagnosis.  Based upon their judgment of the patient/client diagnosis and prognosis, physical therapists provide appropriate interventions to address the expected outcomes and goals for treatment as well as develop and implement plans for discharge.

Physical therapy can only be provided by a physical therapist or by physical therapist assistants (PTAs) working under the supervision of a physical therapist.

For more information about the physical therapy profession, please visit the American Physical Therapy Association website at
Source: Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, 2nd edition (2003)