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Programs of Study

Physical Therapist Assistant

Welcome to our Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Johnson College. The philosophy of our PTA program is that an effective PTA is not only capable of performing all of the skills necessary safely and competently, but is able to communicate with others, verbally and nonverbally, and is dedicated to the development of professional competence and lifelong learning. We invite you to explore our website and some of the links that we have included for you that may be helpful in guiding your career path. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact the admissions office at 570-702-8856 or call our PTA department directly at (570)702-8954. We will be happy to assist you in any way that we can.

Admission Requirements:

The procedure for applicants who desire to seek acceptance into the full five semester PTA program is as follows:

  1. Applicants must contact the Johnson College enrollment staff to initiate the application process, which includes submitting an application
  2. Students must meet the following minimum requirements:
    1. Academic Requirements:
      1. SAT scores of 900 (combined math and verbal with not less than 450 on either section) or above or ACT scores 18 or above or Accuplacer Scores of 70 on each section
      2. GPA 3.0 or higher*
      3. 1 year of Algebra with a “C+” or higher*
      4. 2 years of English with a “C+” or higher*
      5. 1 year of Biology with a “C+” or higher*
      6. Recommended:  1 year of an additional life or physical science with a “C+” of higher*
    2. Additional Requirements:
      1. PTA Admissions Questionnaire
      2. 2 Recommendations (1 from a Physical therapist or physical therapist assistant)
      3. Observation/Volunteer/Work at a Physical Therapy Clinic for a minimum of 15 hours (Recommended at both inpatient and outpatient facilities to be completed by the beginning of the 1st semester)

(*denotes pre-requisites that can be completed in high school or college; college level courses will be weighted more in the scoring process)

  1. Once the applicant has completed all of the above pre-requisites, the enrollment representative will send the file to the program director for review.
  2. An interview will follow if applicant meets the minimum requirements. Students who meet all of the academic requirements except for one may still be considered for acceptance if the student meets the rubric score requirement listed below.
  3. The applicant will be scored based on the Rubric for Admission to 5 Semester PTA Program which can be found on the program website.
  4. Acceptance will be based on the following scores:
    • Rubric Score of 19 – 28:  automatic acceptance into the program based on rolling acceptance beginning November 1st  of the academic year prior to the anticipated year of matriculation
    • Rubric Score of 10-18: decision for acceptance will be made after the application deadline based on pool of applicants
    • Rubric Score of < 9: Does not qualify for acceptance into the PTA Program at this time.  Consider taking college level Math, English, and Science to improve rubric score.

The procedure for applicants who desire to seek acceptance into the PTA program and have completed all of the general education requirements included in the first 2 semesters of the 5 semester program is as follows:

  1. Applicants must contact the Johnson College enrollment staff to initiate the application process, which includes submitting an application
  2. Students must meet the following minimum requirements:
    1. Academic Requirements:
      1. College GPA 3.0 or higher
      2. Completed all general education courses with a “C” or better in order to transfer the credit, with the exception of a C+ or better in medical terminology and human anatomy and physiology lecture and lab (equivalent to BIO 107, 108, 109, & 110) with a “C+” or better
    2. Additional Requirements:
      1. PTA Admissions Questionnaire
      2. 2 Recommendations (1 from a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant)
      3. Observation/Volunteer/Work at a Physical Therapy Clinic for a minimum of 15 hours (Recommended at both inpatient and outpatient facilities)
  3. Once the applicant has completed all of the above pre-requisites, the enrollment representative will send the file to the program director for review.
  4. An interview will follow if applicant meets the minimum requirements.
  5. The applicant will be scored based on the Rubric for Admission to 3 Semester PTA Program which can be found on the program website.
  6. Acceptance will be based on the following scores:
    • Rubric Score of 17 – 56:  Accepted into the program based on rolling acceptance and available seats beginning November 1st  of the academic year prior to the anticipated year of matriculation
    • Rubric Score of <16: Does not qualify for acceptance into the PTA Program at this time.

Essential Functions of a PTA Student:

The work of a physical therapist assistant requires that the PTA student apply the knowledge and skills from the classroom to a variety of clinical situations. The work, at times, can be both intellectually and physically challenging. In order to perform in a competent and safe manner, the PTA student must be capable of the following essential functions, with or without reasonable accommodations.

  1. A student must be able to perform the following motor and sensory skills:
    1. Sit or stand in class for up to 7 hours per day.
    2. Demonstrate the motor planning and coordination required to provide physical therapy services to patients. This can include, but is not limited to, moving or positioning patients and equipment, lifting, carrying, pulling, and guiding equipment, patients, and accessories with assistance. In addition, student must be able to walk and move with ample agility to provide safe guarding during ambulation, transfers, and procedures for patients.
    3. A student must possess adequate observation and sensory skills to observe patients, collect and interpret data, and respond to warning or emergency sounds.
    4. Students must be also be able to tolerate a variety of sights and sounds.
    5. Sufficient Auditory Ability to recognize and respond to verbal communication and to equipment alarms. Students must be able to tolerate noisy environments with numerous distractions.
    6. Sufficient Visual Acuity to read English and numerals that may be fine printed on goniometers, other measuring devices, and equipment.
    7. Sufficient Tactile Skills to safely grasp and manipulate small dials on equipment. Also, the nature of the work of a PTA is “hands on” and students must be comfortable not only palpating anatomical structures and monitoring vital signs, but also working closely with others in their “personal space.”
    8. Sufficient Verbal Skills to communicate effectively in English, verbally and in written formats with faculty, peers, patients, families, and other health care professionals. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. Student must be able to speak intelligibly, to hear adequately, and to observe closely patients in order to elicit and transmit information. A student must possess reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements and provide clinical care for patients’ requirements and provide clinical care for patients. The student must be capable of completing appropriate medical records, documents, and plans according to protocol and in a timely manner.
  2. A student must be able to make clinical judgments using critical thinking, which requires the emotional maturity and stability to approach highly stressful situations in a calm and rational manner.
  3. A student must be able to meet all class standards for course completion.
  4. A student must behave in a compassionate and professional manner in the classroom and in the clinic and must recognize and respond appropriately to individuals with diverse backgrounds. Students must adhere to the Standards of Ethical Conduct for the PTA set forth by the American Physical Therapy Association.

Program Objectives

The Physical Therapist Assistant program prepares students for entry-level positions in a variety of clinical settings. Graduates will be prepared to take the National Physical Therapy Exam for Physical Therapist Assistants.

Career Opportunities

Physical therapy is a very rewarding and diverse profession. Practicing physical therapist assistants have the option to work in a variety of settings, including: hospitals, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings, skilled nursing facilities, private practices, home health, and schools. PTAs can also teach in physical therapist assistant programs or if they choose, can further their education in a variety of related fields.

Program Learning Goals

Goal 1: To prepare graduates to meet the professional and licensure requirements necessary to function as entry-level PTA’s under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist in a variety of clinical settings.

Student Learning Outcomes – Students will:

  • Students/graduates will exhibit conduct that reflects practice standards that are legal, ethical, and safe and that reflects a commitment to meet the expectations of members of society and members of the profession of physical therapy.
  • Students/graduates will demonstrate competence implementing interventions identified in the plan of care under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist.
  • Students/graduates will demonstrate competency performing components of data collection skills under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist.
  • Students/graduates will recognize when interventions should be modified or not provided due to changes in the patient’s status or due to violations in practice guidelines and report this to the supervising physical therapist.
  • Students/graduates will communicate effectively with other health care providers and with patients, family members, and caregivers in order to achieve patient outcomes based on the physical therapy plan of care.
  • Students/graduates will implement risk management strategies during all lab and clinical activities to ensure the safety of themselves and others.
  • Students/graduates will complete thorough, accurate, logical, concise, timely, and legible documentation that meets the requirements of the facility.
  • Graduates will pass the NPTAE at a rate consistent with CAPTE requirements within one year of graduation.
  • Graduates who seek employment will be employed in the field within one year of graduation.

Goal 2: To ensure that educators of the program, both didactic and clinical provide instruction and guidance that meets the needs of the students and the program.

Outcomes:

  • Faculty will maintain current licensure in PA.
  • Faculty will participate in continuing professional competence related to teaching responsibilities.
  • Faculty will utilize effective instructional methods during didactic, laboratory, and clinical courses. 

Goal 3: To provide students with a curriculum and resources that are current and in compliance with standards set forth by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), by the PA Physical Therapy state practice act, and by the institution.

Outcomes:

  • The curriculum will be reviewed annually by the Program Director, core faculty, and the Program Advisory Committee to ensure it is aligned with current requirements and practice trends.
  • The program resources will be reviewed annually by the Program Director, core faculty, and the Program Advisory Committee to ensure adequacy to meet the needs of the program.

Mission

The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Johnson College is to prepare students to be competent and caring entry-level physical therapist assistants who work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist in a variety of settings.  Students will be committed to developing and continuing professional competence, demonstrating lifelong learning, and adhering to the behavioral expectations outlined in the APTA Guide for Conduct and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the PTA.

Programmatic Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Johnson College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (570)702-8987 or email mcencetti@johnson.edu.

Career Information:
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. PTAs help people of all ages who have medical problems, or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more. For more information on a career in physical therapy, please visit the American Physical Therapy Association website, www.apta.org/youcanbeme/. For information on employment growth and outlook for a physical therapist assistant, please visit the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor and Statistics website, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes312021.htm .

In the state of Pennsylvania, PTA’s must pass a national board exam (NPTE for PTA’s) after graduation from an accredited program and must register with the Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy. For more information, please refer to the following website: http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_board_of_physical_therapy/12522

Handbook
PTA Student Handbook 2018-2019

Health Clearances and Screenings

The following paperwork is required in completion at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the semester when the students participate in each clinical experience.  A copy of all documentation should be uploaded to Castlebranch.com.  Clinical facilities will have access to this website to verify student’s required documents. Some facilities may require additional documentation and tests, which must be completed prior to attending that site.

  • Student Information Sheet
  • Student Health Form
  • Yearly two-step PPD (Tuberculosis) screening is required. Chest x-ray is required for a positive test. *
  • As per the Center for Disease Control Vaccination Recommendations** for healthcare personnel, it is recommended that students receive the following vaccines:
    • MMR: For healthcare personnel (HCP) born in 1957 or later without serologic evidence of immunity or prior vaccination, give 2 doses of MMR, 4 weeks apart.
    • Chicken Pox (Varicella): For HCP who have no serologic proof of immunity, prior vaccination, or history of varicella disease, give 2 doses of varicella vaccine, 4 weeks apart. history of the disease, proof of the vaccine or laboratory evidence of immunity.
    • Hepatitis B :  3-dose series (dose #1 now, #2 in 1 month, #3 approximately 5 months after #2). Give IM. Obtain anti-HBs serologic testing 1–2 months after dose #3.
    • Influenza: 1 dose of influenza vaccine annually. Give inactivated injectable influenza vaccine intramuscularly or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) intranasally.
    • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis: Give a one-time dose of Tdap as soon as feasible to all HCP who have not received Tdap previously. Give Td boosters every 10 years thereafter.
    • Meningococcal: Give 1 dose to microbiologists who are routinely exposed to isolates of N. meningitis.
  • Criminal Background Check, Child Abuse Clearance, Finger Printing – Required Annually*. Successful completion of the PTA Program requires participation in clinical experiences.  If a record exists, clinical sites can refuse to accept the student for placement, and the inability to complete the clinical education requirements will prevent the student from graduating.  In addition, the existence of a record could prevent state licensure and future employment depending on the severity of the record.
  • Proof of Health Insurance
  • CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification from an accredited provider is required.  Only the following two courses are acceptable:
    • American Heart Association Health Care Provider
    • American Red Cross Professional Rescuer
  • Drug/Alcohol Screening – Some clinical facilities with which we have contracts engage in random alcohol and drug screening of their employees and students.


*Please note that students are responsible for payment of PPD screening, Child Abuse Clearance, and Finger Printing, as well as any additional drug/alcohol screening required by the facility.

**Please refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov for more information on the importance and recommendations for TB testing and appropriate vaccinations.

Program Effectiveness

Graduation Cohort Graduation Rate* Licensure Exam Pass Rate* (1 year) Job Placement*
Class of 2016 56% 88% 100%
Class of 2017 82% 100% 100%
Class of 2018 N/A N/A N/A

*CAPTE Graduation Rate: The percentage of students who are matriculated in the first technical course in the program after the add/drop period and who complete the program
*Licensure pass rate: The percentage of graduates who take and successfully pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). Rates are considered to be stabilized one year after graduation.
*Employment rate: The percentage of graduates who sought employment that were employed (full-time or part-time) as a physical therapist assistant within 1 year following graduation.

Comments / Concerns:
Any comments or complaints from outside parties regarding the curriculum, students, or faculty of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Johnson College can be provided through this online form. In order to receive a response, the complainant must provide contact information. This information will only be shared with the parties necessary to resolve the issue. All correspondences will be reviewed by the PTA Program Director and the Senior Director of Faculty. In the event that the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant the Chief Academic Officer and Support Services will review.

Faculty/Staff
Melissa Cencetti, PT, DPT, MS
Chairperson of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program
mcencetti@johnson.edu
(570)702-8987

Nicole Fabricatore, PTA, BS
Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education
nfabricatore@johnson.edu
(570)702-8992

Heather DeFazio, PT, DPT
Adjunct Faculty
hdefazio@johnson.edu

Lisa Cummings, PTA
Lab Instructor
lcummings@johnson.edu

Lori Schoenberg, PT, DPT, Cert.MDT
Lab Instructor
lschoenberg@johnson.edu

Alana Rizzo Carusotto PT, DPT
Adjunct Instructor
arizzo@johnson.edu

Degree Awarded
The Associate in Science (A.S.) degree is awarded to students who successfully complete all of the requirements of the Physical Therapist Assistant program and graduate.

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