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PTA Program

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Penn State Hazleton. 


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Penn State Hazleton was granted initial accreditation in 1983 with an enrollment of 20 students and was the first PTA Program offered within The Pennsylvania State University.  Since then, the program has successfully prepared many Physical Therapist Assistants following the best traditions of excellence in education which are the trademark of The University.  Today, the PTA Program employs four engaged full-time instructors and one full-time lab assistant who work closely with students to encourage professional and personal growth.  The campus admits 54 students/class and has state-of-the art facilities that mirrors contemporary practice with over 900 agreements to support our clinical education curriculum.  The Program's next accreditation is scheduled for June 2016.

The role of the Physical Therapist Assistant is to work as part of a team to provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist.  PTA’s provide physical therapy services in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, nursing homes, and work settings.  PTA's implement components of interventions outlined in the plan of care by the physical therapist, collect data related to interventions, and modify selected interventions to progress patients to meet their individual goals.  Individual treatment goals are designed to reduce pain, restore function, improve mobility, and to prevent disability.   They provide patient education that focuses on safety, fitness, and wellness. 

The curriculum is a combination of general education, applied physical therapy sciences and three full-time clinical learning experiences.  After successful completion of the didactic and clinical components of the PTA curriculum students will earn an Associate in Applied Science degree from Pennsylvania State University.  PTA’s must graduate from a CAPTE-accredited program and are required to obtain licensure in most states to work.  Students seeking licensure as a PTA must apply to the licensing authority of the jurisdiction (state) in which the graduate is seeking licensure and then register for the National Physical Therapy Examination for PTA’s administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.   

**The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at The Pennsylvania State University, Hazleton Campus 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.

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Admission Information

Admission to the program is available to first-year, transfer students, re-enrollment applicants, and current Penn State students wishing to change major/campus. Students are admitted during the fall semester. Spring semester admission is possible for transfer students if they have taken anatomy; decisions will be made on an individual basis.  The size of each class is limited to 55 students. This number allows for optimal academic, clinical and practical experiences while maintaining a high degree of individual attention for the students.  The recommended  deadline for application is November 30 of the year prior to the next fall admissions. Applications received after November 30 will be considered in a later pool of applicants.

The applicants will be selected by an admissions committee based primarily on their prior GPA (grades in science courses are weighed heavily). Documented observations in physical therapy clinics amounting to at least 10 hours, will be reviewed favorably; this documentation must be sent directly to Dr. Rosemarie Petrilla, not University Park.   For the PTA Observation Form click here.

Students currently in 2 PTA majors at another Penn State campus, who wish to change campuses and 2 PTA programs will be considered based on availability of space and curriculum compatibility. The direct approval of the program coordinator at the Hazleton campus will be required.

Articulation Agreement Between Penn State and Misericordia University

On September 2, 2009, Pennsylvania State University, through Penn State Hazleton, and Misericordia University entered into an agreement to transfer academic credits from Penn State's Associate in Science degree in the Physical Therapist Assistant program to the Doctor of Physical therapy degree program offered by Misericordia. Penn State students who earn an associate in science degree in the Physical Therapist Assistant program, continue their education to earn a bachelor's degree at Penn State with the necessary prerequisites, and remain in good standing can apply to Misericorida University's Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program.  Please contact the following individuals for information regarding this agreement.

Penn State Hazleton's representative: 

Rosemarie Petrilla, PT, DPT
Address:    76 University Drive
                 Hazleton, PA 18202
E-mail:  rxp21@psu.edu
Phone:  570-450-3042

Misericordia University's representative: 

Susan P. Barker, PT, PhD
Address:   301 Lake Street
                Dallas, PA, 18612
E-mail:  sbarker@misericordia.edu
Phone:  570-674-8096