Physical Therapy School Category: Physical Therapist Assistant Programs
General Program Description
The PTA program requires two years to complete. General education course work is heavily emphasized during the early semesters and professional course work is emphasized during the later semesters. Full-time clinical experiences in physical therapy settings take place during the final semester of the program. The full-time student spends an average of 26 hours per week in academic and/or clinical classes during the first four semesters with an estimated additional 6-12 hours per week required on campus practicing and testing in the PT lab. In the final semester, 35-40 hours per week are spent in clinical settings. The college is on a 15-week semester system with fall classes beginning in early September and concluding in mid-December. The spring semester runs from early January to mid-May and the summer semester runs from mid-May to mid-July. Students graduate in May at the conclusion of their second full year. There is one physical therapist and two physical therapist assistants on the faculty as well as clinical faculty in each clinical site. Faculty spend a great deal of time working with students during class hours and outside of class hours in practice and testing situations. Emphasis is placed on helping students to learn new ways of receiving and integrating course information to make it useful for clinical application. The faculty and students work closely together on the development and assessment of professional behaviors. Graduates are well-prepared for practice in a variety of physical therapy settings and are eligible for the national licensure exams in states that require licensure.
Clinical observation begins in the first year. Students spend 6 hours a week at one clinical site throughout fall semester of the second year. The final (spring) semester of the program includes full-time clinical experiences at three different settings (6, 5, and 4 weeks). The final 4 week rotation is based on student preference and may be used to evaluate a potential job site or to participate in a specialized physical therapy experience such as pediatrics, home health care, or sports physical therapy. Most clinical sites are in Michigan or northern Indiana. The final clinical experience may be anywhere the student chooses.
There are two full-time and one part-time faculty members. The faculty-to-student ratio is 1:17.
The college has an enrollment of 12,000, and the PTA program accepts 28-30 students each year, many of whom have already partially, or fully, completed the non-technical (i.e., non-PTA) program requirements.
Application deadline is March 1, and applicants are notified of admission decisions by late-March. The group accepted in March begins classes the following fall. Sometimes the application deadline is extended into the summer. Interested applicants should contact the program coordinator to inquire about application deadline. Admission is based on high school (and college, if applicable) GPA and scores on ACT aptitude test and specific general education courses taken. Minimum prerequisite for admission includes a high school diploma. Admission is selective. Students in high school are encouraged to take algebra, chemistry, biology, and physics, although these are NOT requirements for admission. First-year students are admitted in the fall semester. Approximatley 20% of qualified applicants are admitted to the program, based on average number of applicants.
76% of admitted students graduate from the program (3-year average: 2011; 2012; 2013); 94% of the graduates who took the licensure exam passed (3 year average: 2010; 2012; 2013); and 100% of the program graduates looking for a position are employed (3 year average: 2011; 2012; 2013).
Tuition, fees and financial aid
In-district resident tuition and fees for 2014-2015 general education courses are $109.50 per credit hour. The tuition and fees for technical Allied Health courses are $192.25 for in-district residents. The PTA program has a 70-71 total credit hour requirement. An additional fee is charged for each on-campus course that has lab contact hours in excess of the number of credit hours for the course. This additional fee does not affect off-campus clinical courses. A variety of financial aid resources are available including guaranteed student loans. Students should contact the financial aid office early to begin applying for these monies.
Many students commute to the campus from other communities. Students from more distant areas live in off-campus rentals available in a wide price range. Cars are encouraged, and parking on campus is free. The college and community offer a variety of sports, cultural and personal entertainment opportunities.
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