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Terra State PTA program earns accreditation

Assistant Professor Bruce Wassung and a PTA student practice a technique in the lab

Terra State Community College recently received official word that its Physical Therapist Assistant program has been granted accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

“CAPTE granted a full five-year accreditation to Terra State, the maximum length awarded to any new PTA program,” said Bruce Wassung, PTA, MSPH, Assistant Professor and Director of Physical Therapist Assistant Program. “We are excited for our students and the patients and communities they will soon serve.”

Accreditation is important to students considering a career as a PTA, according to Wassung, because it helps assure the quality and consistency of the student’s classroom and clinical educational experiences. It is also very important to consumers of physical therapy services because it helps ensure that our patients are cared for by clinicians with the appropriate knowledge, skill and behaviors to meet the public’s expectations.

CAPTE is the only agency empowered to grant accreditation to physical therapy programs in the United States and this accreditation is required to obtain licensure and practice as a PTA in Ohio and in 48 of the 49 remaining states.

As part of their site visit, the CAPTE reviewers interviewed all of the first- and second-year PTA students.

“The reviewers found that the students were well informed of their academic and clinical progress and performance throughout all aspects of the program,” Wassung said. “They left Terra State with a great impression of the college, our program and our students.”

The faculty and clinical education instructors also garnered praise from the reviewers.

“They recognized that we all are working hard to provide our students with the feedback and guidance they need to be successful,” Wassung said.

Reviewers were also looking for labs with up-to-date instructional technologies and modern equipment used in physical therapy practices. They found it in the Bordner Arts and Health Technologies Building.

“They found that the Terra State PTA students enjoy modern instructional technologies that enhance the curricular needs of the faculty and students, and a well-equipped lab,” he said.

The first class of PTA students graduated from Terra State in May. Accreditation was retroactive to Feb. 12, 2014. Those graduates are now preparing for the Ohio Jurisprudence Exam and the National Physical Therapist Assistant Exam (NPTAE). 

Licensed PTAs serve an important role in physical therapy. PTAs provide a variety of physical therapy services and techniques as they carry out the physical therapist's plan of care for the patient. Such areas include therapeutic exercise, functional training, deep soft tissue massage, physical modalities such as electrotherapy and ultrasound, and gait and balance training.

PTAs may also assist the physical therapist by working with individuals to prevent loss of mobility by implementing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

The next cohort class has been chosen and will begin this fall. For more information on the PTA program, call Bruce Wassung at 419-559-2185 or the Admissions Office at 419-559-2349.

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