DFW Higher Ed Supplies Fast-Growing Health Care Providers with Skilled Professionals


Health care is a fast-growing, significant industry in the DFW Region.

In a 12-month period between 2013 and 2014, the health care industry and the industries that support it generated $52 billion in total revenue in the DFW economy, according to the most recent University of North Texas analysis available. That places health care among the largest industry sectors in the region, representing about 15% of the economic activity, according to the report.

Since 2014, the number of health-care-related jobs grew by about 13%, comprising a total of nearly 478,000 jobs as of January 2019, according to EMSI, a labor market analytics firm.

As the industry grows, the need for top medical talent is imperative. Two medical schools produce the bulk of physicians for the DFW Region; the region is also home to some of the top institutions producing world-class nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists.


DFW offers three highly regarded baccalaureate and graduate degree programs in nursing. Texas Woman’s University (TWU) has educated nurses for more than 65 years, with a Dallas medical district campus focused on health care practitioner academics and clinicals. The University of Texas at Arlington is the largest nursing program at a public university in the United States — it’s the fourth-largest producer of minority nurses. Texas Christian University is the only nursing program in the nation with a designated Oncology Emphasis track and offers numerous graduate programs in nursing. Dallas College provides key pipelines to the programs through Nursing Assistant degree programs and partnership with universities and hospital systems.

Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT)

The two medical centers in the DFW Region — UT Southwestern and the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Health Professions — offer doctorate programs in physical therapy, educating students and hosting clinicals for PT students across the county.

The TWU School of Physical Therapy is a nationally recognized leader in professional and postprofessional physical therapy education and has ranked repeatedly among the top 10% of PT schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. TWU’s School of Occupational Therapy also is a national leader in the delivery of health care, according to U.S. News & World Report, and a network of more than 4,000 OT alumni make significant contributions to the OT profession by providing leadership in practice, education and research. Additional OT training can be found through Parker University, a predominantly chiropractic institution in Dallas.

Dallas College provides PT Assistant/Tech and OT Assistant/Tech credentials, filling the middle-skills workforce needs while creating a pipeline for future PT/OT leaders.

This article is part of the 2020 Higher Education Review Magazine.