Excellence in Academics

Academic Excellence: DPT a 100 Percent Success

David McIlwain

Recent graduates of Winston-Salem State University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program have received a perfect 100 percent first-time passage rate on their licensure exams, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy recently announced.

And, if that wasn’t a big enough reason to celebrate, of the department’s 25 graduates in 2016, three received a perfect score on the exam.

“In my 30 years of teaching, I have never seen this out of a program,” said Dr. Lynn Millar, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at WSSU.

David McIlwain (left), a member of WSSU’s DPT Class of 2016, is one of three graduates who scored a perfect 800 on the exam, which is required for to become a licensed physical therapist.

“I think this says a lot about how great the WSSU physical therapy program is,” McIlwain said. “I am truly thankful that they gave me a chance and enabled me to become a physical therapist.”  

McIlwain, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University, said he applied to WSSU for three years in a row and had all but given up on his dream of becoming a physical therapist.

“I decided I should move forward regardless. I actually started a master’s program at another university. About a month in, I received a call that WSSU had an opening for me,” he explains.

In February, soon after receiving his license, he was hired as a physical therapist at Salem Physical Therapy and Sports Rehab in Winston-Salem.

“I am excited I will be working in a profession I am passionate about and that I will gain a sense of fulfillment through helping others,” he said.

Based on data from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), the 100 percent passage rate on the national physical therapy exam (NPTE) places WSSU in the top 16 percent of programs nationwide, Millar said.

Just as importantly, providing students with the tools to pass on their first attempt helps them get right to work, she said.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy is a signature program of WSSU’s School of Health Sciences, which offers learning opportunities for professional and graduate education. For more information, please visit the SOHS website

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Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000



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