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The purposes of this Post-Professional Certificate are to (a) advance and validate the educational and clinical foundation of physical therapists choosing to practice primarily with older adults, (b) provide a means through formal higher education to address self-identified weaknesses in specialized knowledge and/or skills, and (c) assist prospective students to move from novice or intermediate practice in geriatric physical therapy toward expert and/or specialist practice.


Both novice and intermediate physical therapists working primarily with older adults and who are interested in lifelong learning can benefit from this certificate program, in which the student may choose any 12-credit-hours of coursework. This Certificate will allow physical therapists to earn a recognized academic certificate that can be applied to CE for renewal of licensure and/or an advanced degree. In addition, these courses have been open to post professional students in occupational therapy with permission from their advisor.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the Certificate in Advanced Geriatric Physical Therapy must:

  • Hold at least an earned bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional or general accrediting agency, or an equivalent degree from a foreign college or university. The bachelor’s degree must be substantially equivalent to a bachelor’s degree granted by TWU.
  • Have a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate study and a minimum 3.0 GPA for all prior graduate work.
  • Present an official transcript from each university or college attended with degree earned indicated on the transcript.

Standardized examinations such as the GRE are not required. However, the applicant has the option of submitting scores voluntarily.

Graduates from foreign universities should see International Admissions for more information.

Course Requirements

A Certificate from TWU School of Physical Therapy implies mastery of the knowledge and skills in the certificate area. Therefore, in addition to the Graduate School requirement that students who enroll in graduate courses must maintain a 3.0 GPA on all graduate-level courses taken at TWU, only one course where a C was earned will be applied toward the Certificate in Advanced Geriatric Physical Therapy. All of the courses are non-sequential with no required courses. Course selection is based on self-assessment of advanced clinical competencies in consultation with the Coordinator of Post Professional Studies, Dallas, who is Board Certified in Geriatric Physical Therapy. 

Course Descriptions 

Schedule of Course Rotations

PT 6403. Neuromuscular Integration & Application. Problem based format to establish a comprehensive foundation for the management of the person with a neuromuscular pathology for the practicing physical therapist using the older person post cerebral vascular accident the model. Emphasis is on securing and applying relevant in-depth information. Credit: 3 hours. (Internet and 2 weekends onsite) 

PT 6483. Principles of Geriatric Physical Therapy I (Psychosocial Aging). Principles of gerontology with emphasis on psychological processes and social aspects of aging with implications for physical therapists. Credit: 3 hours. (100% Internet)

PT 6513. Topics in Evidence-Based Practice. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a powerful tool that can guide clinical decision-making and enable clinicians to provide higher levels of patient care. This course is designed to (a) assist students in learning to search for and appraise evidence for tests and measures and interventions used in geriatric physical therapy and (b) make clinical decisions based on the evidence. To apply this course to the Certificate, the topic of studied must relate to older adults. Credit: 3 hours. (100% Internet) Taught every Summer.

PT 6413. Cardiopulmonary Integration & Applications. Problem based learning format to establish a comprehensive foundation for the management of the person with a cardiovascular and/or pulmonary pathology for the practicing physical therapist using the older person as the model. Emphasis is on securing and applying relevant in-depth information. Credit: 3 hours. (Internet and 1 weekend onsite) 

PT 6453. Principles of Geriatric Physical Therapy II (Biological Aging). Examination of aging theories and age-related changes. Focus on chronic problems associated with aging, critical examination of anti-aging research, and how physical aging affects other dimensions of life with applications for therapist practice. Applications for health promotion and wellness discussed. Emphasis is on knowledge about physical aging needed to conduct clinical research and work effectively with older adults. Credit: 3 hours. (100% Internet) 

PT 6203. Orthopedic Evaluation & Treatment of the Geriatric Client. The study of orthopedic assessment and treatment applied to the geriatric client. Includes background information on aging theories and age-related changes but focus is on evaluation, PT differential diagnosis, and rehabilitation of orthopedic problems common to the elderly. Credit: 3 hours. (Internet & 1 weekend onsite) 

PT 6333. Health Care Delivery Systems. Overview of health delivery systems in the US and Texas. Emphasis on government and private sector involvement in health services to older adults with applications for the physical therapist. Credit: 3 hours. (Internet and 1 day in state capital during the legislative session)

PT 6103. Advanced Practicum in Physical Therapy. Supervised experience in geriatric research, administration, or teaching. Students must have a plan of study approved prior to the commencement of the semester. A written report of the experience will be due at the end of the semester. Available as needed.

PT 6913. Independent Study. Variable content. Individual research or study relating to a problem of professional interest and significance. Available as needed.

For information about this certificate program contact Mary Thompson, PT, PhD, GCS, Coordinator of Post Professional Programs, Dallas


U.S. Department of Education Gainful Employment Disclosure

Advanced Geriatric Physical Therapy

page last updated 7/18/2017 9:41 AM