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FORT SMITH -- The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education will start accepting applications to its School of Physical Therapy today.

The three-year program is focused on hands-on clinical experience, according to a news release. Students will graduate with a doctor of physical therapy degree.

Kyle Parker, chief executive officer of the institution, said the program will train physical therapists at a time when the specialty is in "growing demand due to our aging population."

Students will begin to engage in direct patient care as early as the second semester under faculty supervision, said Teressa Brown, the School of Physical Therapy dean.

More than 50 clinical rotation sites have been established in Arkansas and Oklahoma to serve as residency locations for students, the release stated. The faculty will include 12 full-time professors abd local clinicians.

The program's accreditation is being overseen by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, according to the release. Courses are anticipated to start on June 1, 2021.

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