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  • PTA Education Feasibility Study Work Group Members Selected

    APTA has selected 9 association members to serve on the PTA Education Feasibility Study Work Group: Wendy Bircher, PT, EdD (NM), Derek Brandes (WA), Barbara Carter, PTA (WI), Martha Hinman, PT, EdD (TX), Mary Lou Romanello, PT, PhD, ATC (MD), Steven Skinner, PT, EdD (NY), Lisa Stejskal, PTA, MAEd (IL), Jennifer Whitney, PT, DPT, KEMG (CA), and Geneva Johnson, PT, PhD, FAPTA (LA). The work group is addressing the motion Feasibility Study for Transitioning to an Entry-Level Baccalaureate Physical Therapist Assistant Degree (RC 20-12) from the 2012 House of Delegates. The work group will address the first phase of the study, finalizing the study plan and identifying relevant data sources for exploring the feasibility of transitioning the entry-level degree for the PTA to a bachelor's degree. APTA supporting staff members are Janet Crosier, PT, DPT, MEd, lead PTA services specialist; Janet Bezner, PT, PhD, vice president of education and governance and administration; Doug Clarke, accreditation PTA programs manager; and Libby Ross, director of academic services.

    More than 200 individuals volunteered to serve on the work group by submitting their names to the Volunteer Interest Pool (VIP). APTA expects to engage additional members in the data collection process.


    • This is good that PTA is transitioning to Bachelor's degree so PTA will gain enough knowledge in patient care. In view of this a name Physical therapy technician could be apply to PTA's nomenclature so people will look them differently not just an assistant. I don't see any reason why you can call a CNA a nurse whereas you can't call a PTA a therapist.

      Posted by Noel on 3/15/2013 5:30 PM

    • Should really not be surprised that there are only 2 PTAs in this work group that was formed to complete a study for the PTA...No wonder PTAs don't want to belong to this association. Out of the more than 200 that applied, how many were PTAs and what was the rationale behind only choosing two? Well, to the two of you, we are proud of you!

      Posted by Ann Lowrey on 3/16/2013 12:50 PM

    • I hope that the PTA population will work to influence this group as to the need for the development of the PTA programs at the BS level. With the advance of PT to DPT level it puts more emphasis on increasing the training and clinical time to the advancement of the PTA to be of greater value to the PT they work with on a daily basis. We need to encourage more colaboration between the PT and PTA to become partners in the treating of our patients.

      Posted by Vanie L. Jones on 4/1/2013 12:02 PM

    • I agree with Ann regarding the PTA/PT ratio on the committee. I know that we have been bridging the gap with attitudes and perceptions between the two but we still have a long way to go. With the phasing out of Masters and Bachelors PT programs and the implementation of Doctorate level only for the PT to gain direct access we might want to start thinking about the total education vs PT/PTA. Why not have a Bachelor and/or a Masters along with the Doctoral Education level and quantify the degree by those criteria instead. Each level of education could be associated with certain entry level skills and expected clinical rules and regulations. Instead of having a PTA or a PT we might have a BPT, MPT or DPT. The technician (as mentioned above) might be qualified as an aide that has a certificate of a shorter duration such as six months or nine months. There are numerous benefits to the increased education level of all professionals in the physical therapy profession. Sheila

      Posted by Sheila Meier, PTA on 4/3/2013 12:00 PM

    • No PTA educator would deny that more time is necessary to teach all the material necessary for entry level practice, however I am concerned regarding the cavalier comments I have heard about how "easy" this will be. These individuals obviously have never done curriculum development or attempted to negotiate agreements between schools. The majority of PTA programs are in 2 year institutions and, in our states, they cannot grant a Bachelor's degree. Finally, has anyone though about how much more money a BS PTA is going to demand. Will the system bear that cost?

      Posted by Sharon Reid on 4/4/2013 8:59 AM

    • As a PTA educator for the past 7 years, I would like the work group to consider how to treat individuals who already have a bachelor's degree. Over half of my current and past students have already earned bachelor's degrees when they are enrolled in the PTA program at my institution.

      Posted by Nancy Greenawald on 4/4/2013 2:27 PM

    • I, too, am a PTA educator for over 20 years now. I agree with both Sharon Reid and Nancy Greenawald. Many students choose the PTA path over PT because of finances and time...most (in our program at least) are nontraditional students with other commitments and responsibilities. The added time and expense of a bachelor's degree would not be feasible for most of them. Our college has a quality PTA program, with a 96% pass rate on the certification exam....we cannot confer Bachelor's degrees...so does that mean that this quality program...and many others like it across the country...will no longer be offered....so that we can add two years of general education requirements?

      Posted by Deborah Matuch -> ENWZD on 4/6/2013 11:36 AM

    • I graduated last year with my AAS PTA. I feel that in order to keep up with the growth in the profession and the direct access we are striving for, then we should also advance the PTA as we have the PT. I was a nontraditional student with a blended family of 5. My purpose was to become a PTA, and would have cont through with a bachelor's if it was offered. I will return and earn that degree if ever it is offered in the future. There needs to be more time in the program. So for now, I will cont to watch and hope that the decision is in our favor. Thank you!

      Posted by Jo Ann Trowbridge -> AMXa?O on 4/15/2013 1:41 PM

    • Would their be a transitional program offered for PTA's with an associates degree to advance to BS?

      Posted by nicole on 4/15/2013 1:42 PM

    • I am not against a Bachelors degree for upcoming PTAs; however, I graduated from what I feel was an outstanding PTA program earning a AAS degree. With rigouous studying and hard work my degree prepared me to pass my state boards exam and earn my license. It prepared me to enter the field with an adequate knowledge base and foundation. After 4 years of working in the field I feel the education, knowledge, manual skills, techniques, and clinical reasoning abilities I have acquired on the job far exceed what I could gain with two additional years of schooling. While earning a Bachelor's degree may sound like an improvement to one's education it will not take the place of experience. College is a money making business, the more courses a student is required to take the more revenue that institution brings in. Being sucessful in the field is not about how many years of schooling you completed or what title you have. Every day is an education.

      Posted by Tawna Bovero on 4/16/2013 2:05 PM

    • I too wonder how much more schooling (if any) I will require to compete in the PTA profession if this change goes into affect. I have been practicing for 20 years now and need to concentrate on saving for my kids educations, I cannot think about going back to further my career. I feel that if it will be required for current PTA's that hold an AAS degree to go back to earn the BS degree, you are going to loose a lot of wonderful, knowledgeable PTA's out there. Plus, how will it work with the job competition? Will potential employers look at the PTA with an AAS and 20+ years of work experience or the PTA with a BS degree? I just hope that the right decision will be made.

      Posted by David on 1/22/2014 3:44 PM

    • For those of you who are currently PTAs, you won't have to worry about going back for a bachelor's..you're going to be grandfathered in. You won't have to pay more. This will be for prospective students in the future who choose this profession. This is the case for almost any profession where education evolves once you've left school. They may create an option where you can go back and get your bachelor's if you're already licensed, but it would be a choice not a necessity. You can even do that now! I know PIMA and NAU have Bachelor programs for PTA. Requiring a bachelor's degree for this profession can help with the over saturation that this field is starting to face and bring in more qualified, well-rounded people. That means better job security, more respect, more opportunities to specialize, and potentially a higher salary. Nothing is really promised in the health care field anymore, but I think if APTA decides to go with a required bachelor's, it will show that they are concerned with the future growth of our profession as well as the DPTs.

      Posted by Jen C. on 8/7/2014 12:47 AM

    • Well said Jen.I agree. Those with an Associate PTA will be grandfathered in much like bachelors PT when MPT was implemented and masters were when DPT was implemented for new physical therapists. You will not be required to go back to school. I for one think this is a great idea. There is a huge gap between the PT/APT (use to be only 2 yr degree difference!). PTss have advanced and so should the PTAs to keep the field growing, qualified and respected. And good point about saturation in the field. I see it happening in my area and think that this will slow down the new graduate rate so that job demand can improve new grads can find work easier. Just my 2 cents.

      Posted by Alisa K. on 1/29/2015 11:22 AM

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