Physical Therapy Assistant Schools in PA

There are 13 physical therapy assistant schools in PA currently offering accredited programs, four of them on different campuses of Penn State University. Many of these schools are community colleges in fairly easy travelling distance from major cities, such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg, and close to major highways such as I-80 or I-79.

Pennsylvania may only be the 33rd largest state in the union, but it has one of the largest physical therapy assistant employment levels in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010 there were 4,130 PTAs employed in the state, earning an hourly mean wage of $20.57 (equating to an annual mean salary of $42,780, assuming a 40 hour a week employment across the year.)

PTA Program Formats

Most of the colleges offering PTA programs are public institutions, though there are three private colleges in the list, and most of the programs are offered in a full-time, daytime format. These programs prepare students in the knowledge and skills required to work professionally as physical therapist assistants. In the state of Pennsylvania (or Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as it is more correctly termed) credentialling for PTAs is administered by the PA State Board of Physical Therapy, and is called registration.

Program accreditation is carried out by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), which carries out a series of reviews of the school’s plans, policies and curricula, and reports based on on-site visits. CAPTE continues to examine reports from previously accredited programs to ensure that they are still in compliance with their criteria, in order that accreditation status may be updated or renewed.

Admission to Physical Therapy Assistant Schools in PA

Physical Therapy Assistant Schools in PA

Prospective students should check with colleges to determine current admissions requirements. Applicants are normally expected to fulfill pre-program requirements, such as a series of general education courses and science classes designed to provide a foundation for the technical aspects of physical therapy education. A period of voluntary observation may be highly recommended or compulsory, and some schools require applicants to present letters of recommendation from a licensed PT or PTA.

Many schools report a considerably larger number of applicants than there are places to offer. Class size limits may be set not only by an institution’s facilities but also by the space available for clinical experiences, which are a mandatory component of a PTA program. Entry is therefore selective, and candidates are recommended to begin researching courses early enough to meet application deadlines and complete preparatory requirements.

The following is a list of physical therapy assistant schools in PA currently offering CAPTE-accredited programs:

Butler County Community College
107, College Drive
Butler, PA 16002

Butler County Community College is popularly known as BC3, and calls itself “The Smart Place to Start”. It offers 63 programs in vocational, humanities, science and technology subjects. For its PTA program, it looks for applicants with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8, and its program is sequenced over four semesters, with students required to take a particular course in a specific semester. Graduates are awarded the degree of Associate of Applied Science.

Contact: Randall J Kruger – Program Director

California University of Pennsylvania
Department of Health Science and Sport Studies
250 University Avenue
California, PA 15419-1394

Located about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh, Cal U has been running its PTA program since 1999. It has a competitive entry procedure for 20 places on the course each year, beginning in the spring after completion of the pre-technical phase in the fall semester. Candidates are required to achieve at least 2.75 GPA in the pre-requisite general courses, and attend an interview with members of the PTA advisory committee. Students graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Contact: Jodi DeBlassio Dusi – Program Director

Central Penn College
600 Valley Road
PO Box 309
Summerdale, PA 17093-0309

Central Penn, located in the outskirts of Harrisburg, specializes in vocational training to Bachelor and Associate degree levels in areas such as business administration, IT, criminal justice, accounting, as well as health care degrees such as medical assisting and physical therapist assistant. There are two entry dates to the program, while in the summertime (with an application deadline is April 1) and one in the winter term (with an application deadline of November 1). The college accepts 30 students, and unsuccessful applicants may have their application rolled over for one year.

Contact: Krista M Wolfe – Program Director
717-728-2276 ext 2231

Community College of Allegheny County
Boyce Campus
595 Beatty Road
Monroeville, PA 15146

CCAC is the largest community college in the state and offers a wide variety of health career programs. Its PTA program is offered from the Boyce campus located in Monroeville about 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. In common with other schools, it lists a range of pre-program requirements and development courses which must be completed with passing scores.

Contact: Norman L Johnson

Harcum College
750 Montgomery Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Known as the “College of Possibilities”, Harcum dates back to its founding in 1915 and was the first college in the state to grant Associate’s degrees. It offers two different course sequencing formats, one full-time during the day, beginning in the fall and one part-time evening classes, beginning in January.

Contact: Jackie Kopack

Lehigh Carbon Community College
4525 Education Park Drive
Schnecksville, PA 18078-2598

LCCC is located near Allentown in the Lehigh Valley. Its PTA program was the first to be established in the state, in 1969. Students graduate with an A.A.S. degree.

Contact: Evelyn M Petrash – Coordinator

Mercyhurst College
16 West Division Street
North East, PA 16428

Mercyhurst, a liberal arts college with a Catholic foundation, offers its PTA program from its North East Campus. It claims a 96% pass rate for graduates who have taken the National Physical Therapy Examination. Instruction takes place in its 1800 ft.² PTA teaching facility, and it lists a range of admissions requirements on its dedicated PTA website page.

Contact: Janice Haas – Program Director

Mount Aloysius College
7373 Admiral Peary Highway
Cresson, PA 16630

A private, Catholic, liberal arts college dating back to 1853, Mount Aloysius College enjoys a rural location in the Allegheny Mountains, an area of natural beauty about 75 miles east of Pittsburgh. The PTA program takes 30 students each year for its courses beginning in the fall, and looks for applicants who are motivated as well as knowledgeable about the field of physical therapy, as well as fulfilling its range of pre-requisite course standards.

Contact: Penlope Lescher

Penns State University

Dating back to 1855, PSU has 24 campuses across the state, four of which offer a PTA program. These are:

PSU DuBois Campus, in north central Pennsylvania.

College Place
DuBois, PA 15801

Contact: Barbara Reinard – Program Coordinator

PSU Hazleton Campus, in Sugarloaf Township, near the intersection of I-80 and I-81.

76 University Drive
Hazleton, PA 18202

Contact: Rosemarie Petrilla – Program Coordinator

PSU Mont Alto Campus – located near Chambersburg.

1 Campus Drive
Mont Alto, PA 17237-9703

Contact: Thomas Glumac

PSU Shenango Campus – the only urban campus at Penn State
147 Shenango Avenue
Sharon, PA 16146

Contact: Gizelle Dean – Program Director

University of Pittsburgh Titusville
504 East Main Street
Titusville, PA 16354-2097

UPT is a regional campus of University of Pittsburgh, offering mainly two-year degrees. The PTA program is available in full-time or part-time formats — further details about sequencing options are available on the University’s website.

Contact: Richard L Cribbs – Program Director

Several physical therapy assistant schools in PA offer information sessions. Interested students have the opportunity to ask questions of faculty members and find answers to questions about admissions procedures, program requirements, and other issues. Further details will be available from institutions’ website pages.

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