Physical Therapy School Category: Physical Therapist Assistant Programs
General Program Description
The Northeast PTA program was established in 1994 and has had 294 graduates. The program received a 10 year full accreditation status in 2009. It is an integrated two-year program consisting of four semesters followed by two summer sessions. The first semester consists of pre-requisite general education courses. The second and third semester consist of PTA courses. The fourth semester consists of PTA courses including a four clincial education course in a physical therapy clinical setting. The two summer sessions are completed after the fourth semester in the program. These sessions consists of two clinical education courses. The clinical education courses are completed in a physical therapy setting. A total of 76.5 credit hours are required to complete the program. General education courses consist of 27.5 credit hours and PTA technical courses consist of 49 credit hours.
The clinical education courses are designed to provide the student with clinical exposure. There are a total of three clinical education courses in the program. The first clinical education course is integrated into the fourth semester of the program and lasts four weeks. This clinical is designed to provide the student with general inpatient and outpatient experiences. The second and third clinical education courses occur in the last two summer sessions in the program. These two courses are designed to provide the student with general inpatient and outpatient experiences as well to more specialized interventions involving adult and pediatric neurologic interventions, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, wound care, orthotic and prosthetic management, and women’s health. The expectation of the student is to develop more responsibility in the treatment of the patients as they complete each clinical education course so that at the end of the program the student is performing as a general entry-level PTA. The program has clinical agreements with approximately 59 sites throughout the United States. The student has the option to select the location and clinical education setting based on interest. However, it is required that the student complete at least one inpatient and one outpatient clilnical. The Clinical Education Coordinator individualizes each clinical education sequence for each student in order to provide the student with the most effective learning experience.
The Northeast PTA Program has three full-time dedicated instructors. Each PTA instructor has a clinical background and extensive experience working with patients. Laura Schwanebeck, MPT served on the PTA Program Advisory Committee three years prior to transitioning into the Program Director role which she has been in for one year. She has extensive clinical experience in outpatient, inpatient, acute rehabilitation, home health, skilled care, and school system environments. The courses she teaches are Clinical Pathophysiology and Neurologic Rehabilitation. Tere Karella, PTA, BS assisted in developing the program and has taught in the program for 20 years. She has a strong clinical and educational background in orthopedics. She teaches Freshman level Exercise Principles, Sophomore level Orthopedic Assessment and Intervention I and II, and is the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE). Andrea Suhr, PTA is a 2007 Northeast graduate and joined the Northeast PTA Program four years ago. Prior to that, she served as a PTA for three years and continues to practice on an as needed basis during the summer months. She teaches pre-requisite courses including Medical Terminology and Introduction to Physical Therapy; Freshman level courses including Basic Physical Therapy Procedures and Introduction to Clinical Management; and Sophomore level courses including Physical Agents, Clinical Management, and Advanced Clinical Management.
At the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester, 72 students were enrolled in the PTA pre-requisite and technical courses. Of those students, 21 included the PTA class of 2015.
The Northeast PTA program has a competitive application process. The applications are scored on rubrics and are comprised of multiple components including: core GPA, written essays, letters of recommendation, a professional resume, and physical therapy observation evaluations. The student has a variety of opportunites to obtain bonus points on the application by having any of the following: a previous college degree, a top 1/3 high school class rank, military experience, familiarity with the medical/physical therapy field, previous sports participation, coaching experience, volunteer experience, education in a foreign language, and enrollment in a learning skills course. After the completed applications are scored, competitive applicants are invited for a professional interview with the selection committee. Up to 24 students are accepted into the program each year.
The Class of 2013 had a 57% graduation rate, a100% pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), and a 75% 6-month employment rate for students actively seeking employment. Average statistics for the past three years include a 61% graduation rate, a 100% pass rate on the NPTE, and a 92% 6-month employment rate for students actively seeking employment.
Tuition, fees and financial aid
The Northeast PTA Program can be completed for approximately $9,000 for resident students and $12,500 for non-resident students, which includes tuition, fees and books. The cost per credit hour is $101.00 for resident students and $134.50 for non-resident students, which includes tuition and fees. All students who are interested may apply for financial aid. Students must submit an application for admission to college before financial aid can be awarded. Some scholarships available for PTA students accepted into the program.
Northeast Community College is a modern, 2-year college located at the northeast edge of Norfolk and serves the residents of a 20 county area in northeast Nebraska. Campus housing is available which includes dormitories and apartments. Northeast student services include an Advising and Academic Support Center that offers students counseling, tutoring, and many career services. There are many different organizations for students interested in music, drama, and publications. The opportunity to participate in intercollegiate athletics is also available for full-time students. Norfolk is a town of about 24,500 offering a variety of shopping and dining choices.
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