Physical Therapy School Category: Physical Therapist Assistant Programs
General Program Description
The program is a 2-year, full-time course with 70 credits required for graduation. There are two part-time tracks available to students which allow the program to be completed in three or four years. Most classes are taught during daytime hours, with several evening lab sections offered. The program follows a curriculum shared by the other PTA programs in the Wisconsin Technical College System. There are 35 credits of required PTA academic courses and 10 credits of clinical experience. Anatomy & physiology and six other general education courses are required for graduation. Most PTA courses include a combination of lecture and lab. Courses are taught in a combination laboratory-classroom dedicated to the PTA program. The lab is amply equipped to allow students to practice and develop competency with all skills prior to applying them in clinical courses. Upon graduation, students receive their AAS degree and are eligible to take the national PTA licensing examination. The program offers elective courses to program students and to physical therapy practitioners in the community. It also offers a bridge program allowing active duty PT technicians from Great Lakes Naval Station to complete a PTA degree while stationed there.
There are three clinical PTA courses in the program. PTA Clinical Practice 1 is in the second semester and is a 9-week course, three half-days per week. Clinical Practice 2 during semester three has 176 contact hours. Clinical Practice 3 is full-time for 8 weeks at the end of the fourth semester. Clinical experiences include general hospitals, nursing homes, pediatric centers, school systems, industrial clinics, and outpatient orthopedic and rehabilitation centers, in southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois.
There are two full-time faculty members, and several adjunct instructors. The faculty-to-student ratio is 1:16. Lab assistants are employed for all lab courses and for open lab hours.
The college enrolls approximately 12,000 full- and part-time students. The PTA program admits 16-18 new first-year students each August, from accepted students who file a petition for enrollment in February of that year. There are options for applicants or continuing students to enroll and progress through the program on a part-time basis.
Requests for information are directed to the program counselor. Any student requesting information about the program by phone or in person is given an information packet that includes listing of program courses, requirements for applications for admission, and information on program content. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Students who meet the minimum standards for eligibility for admission into the program are considered conditionally accepted; these students then continue to take academic classes to prepare for possible future admission. Eligibility requirements for conditional acceptance include: completion of the application along with a $25 application fee; completion of the Asset or Compass Placement Test, with scores above the minimums in writing, reading, and numerical; submission of information for a criminal background check; and submission of the official high school transcript, and any other transcript from colleges for courses they may have taken. A high school GPA of 2.5 is required; students who do not meet this requirement must successfully complete 6-credit hours of college courses, including one science course, with a minimum grade of C in each. In February of each year, students who have completed all prerequisites for admission into the PTA program courses must file a petition for in order to be considered for enrollment in the entering class in the following fall. Students must have completed General Anatomy and Physiology with a grade of C or better prior to submitting a petition. The petitioning students who are fully admitted to the professional program are students who have met the above eligibility requirements and rank highest on a system that awards points for having completed the required general education credits required. 86% of qualified applicants are eventually admitted to the program (3-year average).
Of the 117 students who entered prior to or during 2003, 86 have graduated (73.5%). Graduation rates have been lower than this average in more recent years. All graduates in the past seven years have found work as PTA’s within two month of graduation or beginning to search for work. Seven students have enrolled through the Navy bridge program; six have graduated and one is currently enrolled. 100% of students who have taken the PTA licensing exam since 2001 have eventually passed, and all but one of the graduates since the Wisconsin PTA licensing law went into full effect in 2004 have passed the exam on their first attempt.
Tuition, fees and financial aid
Tuition and fees for the 2010-11 academic year were approximately $112 per credit hour. Financial aid is available to students on the basis of economic need. A comprehensive program of grants, scholarships and loans are available through federal state and local funds to assist students with their expenses. There are also local scholarships sponsored for students based on academic performance. The office of Financial Aid handles all requests for grants, scholarships, and loans. Work arrangements and financial aid in exchange for employment commitments are arranged by the student. Students are advised to consult with the program staff before making such a commitment. Several local clinics have arrangements by which they pay for student college expenses in return for commitment for post-graduate employment.
Program courses are taught on the Kenosha Campus. On campus we have a library, computer labs with student access to word processing and Internet services, a cafeteria, and clubs for student participation. There is a PTA student club run by students that has organized speaker presentations, done community service and fund-raising activities, and promotes and sponsors student attendance at continuing education workshops.
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