PTA moving to a four year degree

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Lee in Cumberland, Maryland

55 months ago

Has anyone else heard this? What would be the rationale for doing so? Do you think that PTAs with only a two year degree would have to pursue additional education to the bachelors in order to practice or would it be just like how the education transition in PT was with BsPT being able to practice just like MSPTs and DPTs?

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Stan in Gulfport, Mississippi

55 months ago

Lee in Cumberland, Maryland said: Has anyone else heard this? What would be the rationale for doing so? Do you think that PTAs with only a two year degree would have to pursue additional education to the bachelors in order to practice or would it be just like how the education transition in PT was with BsPT being able to practice just like MSPTs and DPTs?

That would be Awesome if they did move to the Baschlors degree.....

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Aphex in Falls Church, Virginia

55 months ago

Lee in Cumberland, Maryland said: Has anyone else heard this? What would be the rationale for doing so? Do you think that PTAs with only a two year degree would have to pursue additional education to the bachelors in order to practice or would it be just like how the education transition in PT was with BsPT being able to practice just like MSPTs and DPTs?

Where have you heard this? I have never heard anything like that.

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Lee in Cumberland, Maryland

55 months ago

I actually heard it from a PT. I don't know if this in motion yet. Why would it be awesome? Wouldn't it be just like the transition with PT where the DPT isn't granted any more money than a BsPT?

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Lee in Cumberland, Maryland

55 months ago

I just realized the tone of the last post's questions could be perceived as aggressive. It is actually curiosity. I wonder what benefit a BS degree would offer over an AS.

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Lee

55 months ago

Would you rather have a Dr that had a 1 year degree? Get real. The more education you acquire is better for the person and better for the profession. The PTs going back hfor their DPT have to go back to school. The LPN to RN has to go back to school. Do you want it just givin to you? If it required us to have a BS. I think it would set us apart from just a community college degree.

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Lee

55 months ago

I believe slot of people look at PTAs and see just a community college and don't have the brains for a 4 year university is all Im saying. I agree with Stan.

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oh brother in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

54 months ago

DUH!!! Transition baby - PTAs get "grandfathered" in.

I say the PTs that stay with the BS are the smart ones. They get paid likely more than DPTs because they came in when 4 years was ok so they have the experience and experience is all that counts in this field and don't have the additional student loans to pay back.

I do think PTAs should move to BS but we too will be "grandfathered" in if and when it happens.

Taking more classes (in addition to the REQUIRED ones) does not make a better clinician. Just like PT vs PTA does not make a difference in treating patients - only can do more with one license over the other. What matters is experience in the field and how you treat patients.

It's common sense although I know common sense is not that common.

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Lee in Cumberland, Maryland

54 months ago

Do you really think that PTAs will get grandfathered into becoming a PT if a PTA was a bachelor's degree?

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just me in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

53 months ago

no no not PTA into PT! One would have to do the work for of a PT to be a PT. As a PTA one would be "grandfathered" in if it at one point requires a BS. Just like a PT with a BS years ago got grandfathered in, PT MS, etc... They don't have to go back to school for a DPT because the requirements at the time they went to school only required a BS oand later an MSso they can still practice with that degree -business as usual; however, now PTs require a DPT so there is no chance of getting a license with a BS or MS - one must complete a DPT program in order to be a licensed/practicing PT in the US.

For a PTA with an AS same thing would apply. We are only required an AS right now but if at some time we require a BS (which I hope we do) then we could still practice as a PTA and be licensed with an AS as long as it's done BEFORE a law like that passes. Once the new law passes (if one does) then one would need a BS to be licensed as PTA.

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Lee in Cumberland, Maryland

53 months ago

The confusion lies in what "grandfathered in" means. Usually the context is used as in when the currently practicing pharmacists without the PharmD got grandfathered in when the PharmD became the entry-level requirement. So basically pharmacists were granted the "doctorate" with doing nothing more than already being licensed to practice. Some believe the same thing will happen with the DPT down the line. The BsPTs and MsPTs will be given a "D" to put in front of their initials with putting no effort into it. So yeah I agree. Why pay for it? Unless of course you are a pre-PT and want to practice. Currently pretty much the only option is to pursue the DPT. There are a couple MsPT programs left but I think these will be extinct very soon. Reason being the educational institutions see big money in the doctorate.

I understand the argument that a BsPTA degree would increase the barrier of entry to practice PTA, thus decrease the supply of workers, which should increase the salary and job security of the position which would be great news for currently practicing PTAs. What I don't get would be what actual value would a BsPTA degree really provide. I hear the argument that it would be great to increase requirements to the BS level but don't hear any good reasoning to back up why it would be great. How's it good for the profession?

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Ann in Willingboro, New Jersey

53 months ago

Changing the requirements to a BS degree could only be a good thing. The PTA program as it is is very demanding and hard and it would be great for PTA's to get the respect they deserve for making it through. When people hear that you "only" have AAS degree, they may think you either were not smart enough to go further in school or not smart enough to be a PT. Neither may be true. If in changing the degree to a BS, PTA's have more opportunity to further their career or specialize in one aspect of PT or another that would be a good thing. When PT's changed to Masters from a BS degree, it was beneficial to the profession on a whole because it gave us as a profession more credibility. Having said that, I guess that is the plan for for the DPT's as well but I personally think it may be to much. BTW, PT's with a MSPT or BSPT are still PT's

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PTA 2010 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

51 months ago

I will be graduating next month as a PTA and my instructor told my class that within the next 10 years the PTA program will be a Bachelors degree and that we'd be grandfathered in.

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John in Phoenix, Arizona

49 months ago

As a PTA myself I must disagree with the majority feeling that a transition to a four year program would be a good thing. America was made strong by our free enterprise system. Mandatory schooling and testing for a profession frustrates a free economy by artificially manipulating supply and demand. I love being a PTA but lets face it, most anybody could learn to do this in six months on the job. All forced schooling does is increase medical espenses for the patient, further destroying the affordability of health care in America. Another terrible side affect is that once a professional association totally regulates any field then it is vulnerable to infiltration. For example, lobbyists for the drug companies have corupted enough polititians and now have a foot on the throat of the medical schools. Why do you think most doctors are such stonch drug pushers-they have never been taught that there are other safer treatments available. Same goes for vaccinating infants. America's kids are literally going crazy- suicide, depression, violence, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Diabetes, etc. I don't know the causes but I do know that increases in these debilitating conditions correspond perfectly with increases in the number and frequencies of vaccinations, and the medical community won't even look at a possible connection, and offer no other theory. Also, it is a falacy to assume that those with formal education are better at a certain professon. Beginning in middle school I trained intensly as a jumper on the track team. By senior year in high school my teamates and I were quite proud of our accomplishments. We were the "best". That is untill we had a community day where any student who wanted could come out and try their had at any event. We all got beat! They weren't even athletes! Deregulation may mean a small pay cut for us, but it will certainly mean a stronger America for our children. It is the right thing to do.

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Aphex in Falls Church, Virginia

49 months ago

Deregulation will mean a huge pay cut for us, not a small one. If anybody could easily become a PTA, I'm sure PTA's will start making no more than employees at Mcdonalds. Wake up man!

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Hannah in Westland, Michigan

49 months ago

@Just Me: PT's are not required to have a DPT. I work with plenty of PT's with only their Master's....and they are young. Most have graduated within the last 7 years. They are licensed and practice all the same.

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Darrell in Youngtown, Arizona

49 months ago

I have to agree with Aphex in Falls Church. As a matter of fact I think all fast food workers should unionize, create a professional association, require a degree, testing, and liscensing fees. Then they could command a salary of maybe $30/Hour! Of course a burger would then cost $20. We'd all have to take out 'lunch insurance' and pay a monthly premium of 350 bucks!

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PTA in Omaha, Nebraska

46 months ago

This topic was discussed recently at a convention in this area. The "upside" of making PTA a 4 year degree that stood out to me the most, was the fact that PTA's would be able to achieve a clinical specialization. Currently we can obtain advanced recognition from the APTA in a field, but do to the fact that our degree is a technical degree and not a professional degree, that is the best that we can do. I am all for making PTA a professional degree, yes for the chance to obtain a specialization and increase my potential income, but also for the chance that it may lead to post graduate study opportunities that we don't currently have.

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rella in Colorado Springs, Colorado

44 months ago

I can't say for certain what the future holds for PTAs, but I would love to see a B.S. required for PTA licensure and hope that this will someday be realized.

Think about this:

15 years ago there were plenty of PA (Physician Assistant) programs out there that required only two-years of study. I know this because I nearly applied to one in Philadelphia straight out of high school. Gradually PA school went to a four-year degree and now you would be hard pressed to find one that doesn't require Master's level work.

The same thing happened with PTs. Fifteen years ago, there was still a good mix of bachelor's and master's PT programs. DPT is now the standard.

The bar for educational standards continues to be raised and I think that we can safely assume that this trend will eventually trickle down to the PTA and two-year RN level.

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JMS in Melbourne, Florida

43 months ago

Lee said: Would you rather have a Dr that had a 1 year degree? Get real. The more education you acquire is better for the person and better for the profession. The PTs going back hfor their DPT have to go back to school. The LPN to RN has to go back to school. Do you want it just givin to you? If it required us to have a BS. I think it would set us apart from just a community college degree.

Just a Community College degree???? How pathetically small of you. I have been a PTA for over 20 years with Just an Associate Degree. Unfortunately there are DPT's who consistently ask me for advice on simple, basic therapeutic treatments as apparently they have so much knowledge now with their Doctorate degree that I guess they just don't know how to use it all. They are so darn smart the cannot even perform remedial treatments! I honestly believe that the ONLY ones who are benefitting from the increase in educational requirements are the Universities. Oh and by the way, we lowly PTA's with Associate Degrees are required to obtain CEU's (Continuing Education Units-by attending classes and seminars to keep up with our knowledge base and skills) in order to maintain our licenses, in addition to putting in 40-50 hour workweeks, holidays and weekends.

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jPTA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

41 months ago

Lee in Cumberland, Maryland said: Has anyone else heard this? What would be the rationale for doing so? Do you think that PTAs with only a two year degree would have to pursue additional education to the bachelors in order to practice or would it be just like how the education transition in PT was with BsPT being able to practice just like MSPTs and DPTs?

Yes I had heard the same exact thing many many years ago. This is supposedly the APTA's vision. A former boss had stated this. But this has been over 12 years. They once again leave the PTA out of any expansion. I know we would be grandfathered in just like the BS PT's are.
It wouldn't be such a horrible thing and maybe this would start a bridge program for us like the RN's have. I would like to increase my education but I have been out of school so long they expect me to take A & P over..... really?? so necessary because the muscles and bones are constantly changing??? Another positive thing about them going to a BS program is that it could possibly start decreasing the amount of people headed for PTA school thus limiting the PTA availability and letting us get paid better. Why a $20 dollar rate difference between PT and PTA when we are the ones doing the work?
But as I see it I wouldn't even get worked up over it. I think we have a better chance of seeing pigs fly than a mandatory BS PTA program

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GJ in Redondo Beach, California

41 months ago

Hell yes it should be a Bachelors!! Any PTA saying it shouldn't has probably worked at a SNF their entire life.
I am in my FINAL SEMESTER of my PTA program at Cerritos College (CA), and I just wanna throw this in here:
30 of the 32 people accepted to my class have bachelors degrees in a related field. The 2 who don't have rehab training in the military. I don't know if this statistic is the same for private schools offering PTA degrees or not, I would assume private schools get the rich kids who couldn't get into the cheaper community college program, as it makes zero sense to attend a 40k program (ie- Concorde or Loma Linda) when you can go to Cerritos or San Diego Mesa for ~2k

While many of us get the question: "why didn't you just go for the DPT?". I have a BS in kinesiology, but didn't get interested in PT/PTA til I graduated, so I never took all the prerequisites that the DPT programs require- chemistry, physics, bio, ya know- all the classes that really have little meaning to PT. It would have taken me TWO YEARS at a comm. college to do all my prereq's JUST TO APPLY to a school like USC, instead I opted to actually get something after 2 years.

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Kim in El Dorado Hills, California

41 months ago

GJ in Redondo Beach, California said: Hell yes it should be a Bachelors!! Any PTA saying it shouldn't has probably worked at a SNF their entire life.
I am in my FINAL SEMESTER of my PTA program at Cerritos College (CA), and I just wanna throw this in here:
30 of the 32 people accepted to my class have bachelors degrees in a related field. The 2 who don't have rehab training in the military. I don't know if this statistic is the same for private schools offering PTA degrees or not, I would assume private schools get the rich kids who couldn't get into the cheaper community college program, as it makes zero sense to attend a 40k program (ie- Concorde or Loma Linda) when you can go to Cerritos or San Diego Mesa for ~2k

While many of us get the question: "why didn't you just go for the DPT?". I have a BS in kinesiology, but didn't get interested in PT/PTA til I graduated, so I never took all the prerequisites that the DPT programs require- chemistry, physics, bio, ya know- all the classes that really have little meaning to PT. It would have taken me TWO YEARS at a comm. college to do all my prereq's JUST TO APPLY to a school like USC, instead I opted to actually get something after 2 years.

So what is your rationale that it should be a bachelors?? Just because you have one??

My class is about 50-50 in having a degree. most that do have a degree, it is an unrelated field. We all do the same prereqs and all have the same clinic work. Yes, it may take some longer to catch on, but I think we will all make great PTAs. It takes great teachers to produce great PTAs, and a desire to learn it. So far Sac City College has been awesome and I am so glad to be in this program.

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JMS in Melbourne, Florida

41 months ago

GJ in Redondo Beach, California said: Hell yes it should be a Bachelors!! Any PTA saying it shouldn't has probably worked at a SNF their entire life.
I am in my FINAL SEMESTER of my PTA program at Cerritos College (CA), and I just wanna throw this in here:
30 of the 32 people accepted to my class have bachelors degrees in a related field. The 2 who don't have rehab training in the military. I don't know if this statistic is the same for private schools offering PTA degrees or not, I would assume private schools get the rich kids who couldn't get into the cheaper community college program, as it makes zero sense to attend a 40k program (ie- Concorde or Loma Linda) when you can go to Cerritos or San Diego Mesa for ~2k

While many of us get the question: "why didn't you just go for the DPT?". I have a BS in kinesiology, but didn't get interested in PT/PTA til I graduated, so I never took all the prerequisites that the DPT programs require- chemistry, physics, bio, ya know- all the classes that really have little meaning to PT. It would have taken me TWO YEARS at a comm. college to do all my prereq's JUST TO APPLY to a school like USC, instead I opted to actually get something after 2 years.

I am again appalled at the belief that a higher degree will make you a better PTA, I am again insulted that I am being put into a category of "someone who must have always worked in a SNF". During my 20 year career as a PTA I have worked in both the local hospital Orthopedic ward and in Home Care where I make have to make independant decisions. I also have a previous degree in Business Management. I just want you to know, as you will later find out for yourself, no amount of education will buy you the intelligence, common sense and intuition that it takes to be a great therapist. I also hold fast to my opinion that the only ones who are benefitting from raising the bar on our degree requirement is the educational system itself. Please prove me wrong!

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GJ in Redondo Beach, California

41 months ago

JMS in Melbourne, Florida said: I am again appalled at the belief that a higher degree will make you a better PTA, I am again insulted that I am being put into a category of "someone who must have always worked in a SNF". During my 20 year career as a PTA I have worked in both the local hospital Orthopedic ward and in Home Care where I make have to make independant decisions. I also have a previous degree in Business Management. I just want you to know, as you will later find out for yourself, no amount of education will buy you the intelligence, common sense and intuition that it takes to be a great therapist. I also hold fast to my opinion that the only ones who are benefitting from raising the bar on our degree requirement is the educational system itself. Please prove me wrong!

I agree that no amount of time in the classroom can prepare your manual skills for a clinical setting (this is why we have internships, and why aides are allowed to challenge the board- work somewhere long enough and you're bound to pick up a few things, but i'd love to see a board challenged PTA switch from an inpatient acute setting to an outpatient ortho- they'd sink in a day). My intention for pointing out that my entire class has a bachelors degree is to show that it takes more than just completing the programs pre-req's to currently get into this position.

So to JMS: You feel that your 2 year PTA program prepared you sufficiently with the knowledge of all the diagnosis & presentations you encountered in your first year as a PTA? I find that hard to believe. The reason my program accepts those with related degrees over those that don't is simple- we catch on quicker which allows us to learn more/move thru curriculum faster, and ultimately start our careers as a better PTA than someone without that extra knowledge. Since when is being more educated a bad thing, especially when you're in a position to help/hurt people?

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GJ in Redondo Beach, California

41 months ago

Kim in El Dorado Hills, California said: So what is your rationale that it should be a bachelors?? Just because you have one??

My class is about 50-50 in having a degree. most that do have a degree, it is an unrelated field. We all do the same prereqs and all have the same clinic work. Yes, it may take some longer to catch on, but I think we will all make great PTAs. It takes great teachers to produce great PTAs, and a desire to learn it. So far Sac City College has been awesome and I am so glad to be in this program.

My rationale (other than what I stated above), is my kines degree taught me so many other aspects about the human body and psyche in regards to rehabilitation that have helped me along the way to be a better clinician. I feel this extra curriculum should be required by all PT/PTA programs. I have been on internships or spoken with PTA's who have no idea wtf i'm talking about when I start to discuss topics such as principles of strength and conditioning (use to be a CSCS), graded exercise testing, physiology of exercise, nutrition, psychology of sports and physical activity, stress management and other such classes I took in the CSU system. How PT/PTA programs avoid some of these topics boggles my mind. That right there is 6 extra classes right off the bat I feel should be added to PTA curriculum.

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JMS in Melbourne, Florida

41 months ago

" You feel that your 2 year PTA program prepared you sufficiently with the knowledge of all the diagnosis & presentations you encountered in your first year as a PTA? I find that hard to believe. "

I never even implied that, but I might ask you the same exact question reagarding your 4 year degree as a PTA.

"The reason my program accepts those with related degrees over those that don't is simple- we catch on quicker which allows us to learn more/move thru curriculum faster, and ultimately start our careers as a better PTA than someone without that extra knowledge."

I happen to know many, many PT's and PTA's - I have practiced in three different states-just because someone does well in a classroom is absolutely no indication of their perfomance as a clinician.

"Since when is being more educated a bad thing, especially when you're in a position to help/hurt people?"

I am surprised that you would not have read my message in its entirety and understood that I am in full agreement with continuing ed. Even after 20 years I am humble enough to admit that I could still learn something new. You seem to believe that a Bacceaularate Degree is all that is required to be competent. It is much more than that. You are presumptious to think that a 4 year degree will make everyone a better therapist-you had the advantage of actually working in the field before you became a PTA-that is my point-the EXPERIENCE is where you acquire your ability. In closing, I just want to say that your attitude could use a little adjustment, seems to be slightly out of joint. "WTF" is an inapproprite acronymn for the adults on this forum.

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GJ in Redondo Beach, California

41 months ago

I can see where you're going with your argument in that depending on where you work, you'll have to adapt your skills and knowledge and that we as clinicians NEVER STOP LEARNING, that's a given in this field, no ones arguing that.

My main point that maybe was lost in all the rambling is that there are gaps in the PTA curriculum as it stands alone. The extra 5 years (7 as opposed to 2) of college required for a DPT isn't just to teach them how to evaluate, but you as a PTA with 20+ years experience SHOULD know more than a recent DPT grad working in your facility. We can agree to disagree I guess. i've wasted enough time on this forum today.

(my attitude? this is an online message forum intended for discussion. If this were the apta website or something I would limit my devilish acronyms and sarcastic remarks, but it's not and last I checked even mature adults use the "F word", yes even people who work in healthcare).

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folkpixie in Mission Viejo, California

39 months ago

GJ in Redondo Beach, California said: Hell yes it should be a Bachelors!! Any PTA saying it shouldn't has probably worked at a SNF their entire life.
I am in my FINAL SEMESTER of my PTA program at Cerritos College (CA), and I just wanna throw this in here:
30 of the 32 people accepted to my class have bachelors degrees in a related field. The 2 who don't have rehab training in the military. I don't know if this statistic is the same for private schools offering PTA degrees or not, I would assume private schools get the rich kids who couldn't get into the cheaper community college program, as it makes zero sense to attend a 40k program (ie- Concorde or Loma Linda) when you can go to Cerritos or San Diego Mesa for ~2k

While many of us get the question: "why didn't you just go for the DPT?". I have a BS in kinesiology, but didn't get interested in PT/PTA til I graduated, so I never took all the prerequisites that the DPT programs require- chemistry, physics, bio, ya know- all the classes that really have little meaning to PT. It would have taken me TWO YEARS at a comm. college to do all my prereq's JUST TO APPLY to a school like USC, instead I opted to actually get something after 2 years.

Hey GJ,

I am considering applying to Cerritos College's PTA program next year. I have A's in many science classes and a bachelor's degree in psychology, but no experience in a PT office. Do you think I have a chance at getting in? Please reply here or email me at folkpixie at gmail dot com.

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Meh82 in Memphis, Tennessee

38 months ago

he PTA Board exam is et up to insure that a student has the min required knowlege to safely practice as a PTA. So I do not understand why a B.S. would be required. Another Math, English Comp II, American Lit, and a few more electives will not make you a better PTA. I would hire a PTA with 2 years of school and 2 years of work experience over a PTA with 4 years of of school and 0 work experience any day...

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pta2011 in Syracuse, Indiana

38 months ago

I am a recent graduate in Ohio. We had the president of the ohio boards as a guest speaker. He stated that it had been considered several times, requiring ptas having a bachelors and not an associates. It was decided that it would not be changed in the near future. PTAs take the boards to ensure that they are entry level after graduation and all programs must be accredited with a 80% passing rate (I thinnk this % is correct) for the boards.

I see several people have a bachelors in pta though. How do you get from an associates in pta to a bachelors in pta? Is there a transition program like lpn to rn? Can you do this on line?

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MossRose in Fall River, Massachusetts

37 months ago

Interesting that this discussion is still going on. When I graduated over 20 years ago they were talking about making the PTA program into a Bachelor's. Instead I have seen the PT's put themselves in a corner by requiring a DPT. Many people will not be able to afford going to school that long to get their degree and as it is now there is a shortage of PT's. There was a time they could have either a Bachelor's or a Master's degree. If we want to continue on to get a Bachelor's degree to become a PTA that should be optional. If you want to specialize in a cerrtain area (which there is sooo much to choose from!)that is admirable and noteworthy especially if you know going in what area you wish to specialize in.

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PTA-question in Goldsboro, North Carolina

37 months ago

What we need to know more so is if the BA curriculm will actually consist of more PTA related courses in addition to the AAS degree OR will it be like some programs I have seen at a local University where the first two years of a program consists of general ed classes and the last two years are devoted to the program itself. If this is the case then a BA in PTA would consist of no more important training and education than a AAS. How would it be any different for a person who has a AA in General Ed and a AAS in PTA?

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Rachel L in Deerfield Beach, Florida

37 months ago

Perhaps we can even take the field to a level where there are simply 2 types of professionals, the Physical Therapist and Doctors of Physical Therapy. Those with Masters Degrees with a certain amount of clinical experience could be given the opportunity to complete some additional online coursework to obtain their DPT and if they have yet to begin their studies in the field, be required to obtain all necessary DPT coursework. PTAs who have already obtained an AAS degree could progress to a Bachelors degree, earning the education for that of Physical Therapist while functioning as a PTA with advanced functions. This is merely a thought and ONLY a thought...an opinion combining a few ideas from what I had seen mentioned in another forum.

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MHpta in Ewa Beach, Hawaii

37 months ago

I was just accepted and start in the fall - I'm glad I'll be done in a year but I understand it when my teacher tells me she wishes she had 4 years to teach us all she knows but can't.

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Jack in Lake Worth, Florida

36 months ago

I've been a PTA for 16yrs have a BA and a Masters in Physical Ed. I believe a PTA should have a Bachelors degree. First lets explore the Physician Assit. towards the physician. A bachelors plus two years of medical college, one of those years are clinical. Does the Physician Assist come close to the Physician in education? Not even close. But, what it does allow is the Physician to use the Assist and charge Medicare and the insurance companies the same rate as if the Physician treated the patient. This happens specifically due to the fact that the education that the Assist receives is accepted to be advanced by Medicare and the insurance companies. It also allows for the Assist only to be in telephone contact not direct visual supervision.

The PTA if in a clinical setting must have a PT present at all times. Yet in a home setting phone communication is only needed. In a recent article in PT Advance the State of Kansas was allowing insurance companies to pay only half the rate if a PTA treated the patient. This is the beginning of the end of the PTA if this trend spreads. Why would a hospital,snf. or private clinic use PTA's if the rate is going to be half of what a PT would be paid for the same service. In fact in Kansas some PT clinics will only employ PT's for that specific reason.

If the Physical Therapy Assoc can display to the government, and private insurance companies that the education of a PTA is on the same scale of that of a Physician Assit in comparison to the senior discipline of each (PT to PTA, Physician to Physician Assit), then the rate of pay should be the same for the specific treatment.

PTA's today should be campaigning for the higher education, for if not the profession will be that in salary to a PT Aide.

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shawn in Tampa, Florida

36 months ago

Like Rachael and others have said, and been thinking about it too. Since DPTs are being required for PTs now, and the "Doctor of..", wouldn't it be sensible for the PTA to move to a 4 year degree as well? If so, how would that effect salaries/industry? You have great points Jack. Also, nurses go for 2 years but also have BS and MS, DNP. At least have it be optional, maybe (PTA). Not just in educational standpoint but employment/profession outlook as well.

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Future PTA in Glendale, Arizona

36 months ago

That is a solid post Jack. I agree, anything that the APTA can do to further job security in the industry would certainly be welcome.

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russ1220 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

36 months ago

jPTA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said: Yes I had heard the same exact thing many many years ago. This is supposedly the APTA's vision. A former boss had stated this. But this has been over 12 years. They once again leave the PTA out of any expansion. I know we would be grandfathered in just like the BS PT's are.
It wouldn't be such a horrible thing and maybe this would start a bridge program for us like the RN's have. I would like to increase my education but I have been out of school so long they expect me to take A & P over..... really?? so necessary because the muscles and bones are constantly changing??? Another positive thing about them going to a BS program is that it could possibly start decreasing the amount of people headed for PTA school thus limiting the PTA availability and letting us get paid better. Why a $20 dollar rate difference between PT and PTA when we are the ones doing the work?
But as I see it I wouldn't even get worked up over it. I think we have a better chance of seeing pigs fly than a mandatory BS PTA program

Are you in a PTA program in Broward or have you complete schooling? If so which program did you complete?

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hopeless in Palmdale, California

36 months ago

Reading this thread is quite disheartening. I am currently an LMT who was actually planning on going for the DPT but then a friend convinced me it was not worth the money. I am currently going for my associates in Science/Computer Science before applying to PTA programs in Southern CA as I figured it would allow me to take more science classes without being focused on a hard science since my math is not up to speed with the rest of the subjects. My plan was to apply for Cerritos PTA and a transfer to a CSU 4 year university for a Kinesiology degree next Spring. But now if I'm understanding how Cerritos works I have to get the 4 year degree and then spend two more years on top of that in the program not to mention being a PT Aide where the salaries are a joke at $12-15/hr with a 4 yr degree and is not a livable wage. San Diego Mesa is not even taking applications and I am not trying to run up loans in excess of $50,000 for Concorde which is the only other Southern CA option. Now I'm at a loss because my ultimate plan was to be a PTA with the Strength and Conditioning Certification. I was hoping to be able to work as a PTA by 2014 to gain experience and then take another 1-1.5 years to finish up the four year and have both done by early 2016 at the latest. Now the earliest I could be done is 2016 assuming I even get accepted the first time for the PTA program and if it's a four year degree by the time I apply then it'll be even longer. I have taken numerous kinesiology courses because I love it so much and would love a 4 year degree option right now for PTA because it would be much easier than making a decision between taking on debt vs. moving up to northern CA to get into a program there which I hope would be more fair in their admission criteria. I really want to be in Physical Therapy.

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Future PTA in Gilbert, Arizona

36 months ago

^Your plan sounds a bit overly complicated. If your willing to move anyway, why not consider applying to schools outside of California? If you want to be in Physical Therapy, just go for PTA and forget the other stuff for now. You could be done by 2013. You would still have the option to go back to it if you want to do it later. Just my two cents.

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T in Spring Valley, California

36 months ago

This is all speculation anyway. In today's economy almost all jobs face some sort of uncertainty. If you want to become a PTA, I say go for it! =)

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kurtis 17 in Breese, Illinois

36 months ago

The pta going to a 4 yr degree is as stupid as the PT going to DPT. I've been a PTA for 15 yrs and most real talents are learned in required continuing ed courses anyway. The extra yrs for the DPT are research courses that do nothing in the way of improvng the PT. Iit was a mistake by the APTA to do that and I would only be for a 4 yr. PTA degree if more pay was involved. Patients get the required care as it is so really why 4 yrs and what would they teach us in 4 yrs that they don't now. The difference in pay for 2 to 4 yrs of nursing is minimal compared to the cost of schooling so if that's what would happen wiith PTA I say no thx. There won't be a change in PTA reimbursement imo because if PTA's left the profession there are not enough PTs to handle the massive amounts of elderly retireing.

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dcarverPT

33 months ago

Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education April 2011: "The elevation of the entry level preparation of the physical therapists to the Doctor of Physical Therapy has led to the suggestion that physical therapist assistant preparation should be raised from the assosciate to the baccalaureate level. However, the available evidence and scope of work do not currently support increasing degree requirements for preparing entry-level physical therapist assistants to work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist, and to enter the workforce upon graduation from an accredited program. The associate degree still represents the expected level of knowledge required in practice and delineated in the current Evaluative Criteria for Accreditation of Education Programs for the Preparation of Physical Therapist Assistants and the current edition of A Normative Model of Physical Therapist Assistant Education. The consensus of physical therapist assistant program stakeholders and the professional community represented in the Minimum Required Skills of Physical Therapist Assistand Graduates at Entry Level (BOD G11-08-09-18) further reinforces the appropriateness of the associate degree as the entry point credential for physical therapist assistants. Associate degree level education for entry-level physical therapist assistants does not preclude program, institutional and professional efforts to identify and promote opportunities for continuing education, recognition, mentoring and advanced credentialing.

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Jack in Lake Worth, Florida

33 months ago

It's apparent that the APTA is in agreement to allow the PTA position to be eliminated. As Medicare and private insurance companies restructure under the new health care bill laws reinbursements for treatment by a PTA will be reduced thereby eliminating the use of the PTA. The APTA has always regretted the formation of the PTA and now has finally put the beginning nails in the coffin. Long live the PTA......

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ker94 in Massena, New York

33 months ago

I really want to go to school to be a Physical Therapist Assistant. However, I would prefer to have a four year degree. What 4 year degree, could I transfer my associates credits to?

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AJ in Richmond, Virginia

33 months ago

Increasing your knowledge is good for everyone; but what other classes will be required for the BsPTA? Will having a BS change your job description or position you on a different salary scale? I feel the APTA just need to recognize the PTA period and allow them to specialize or get cetifications. I also believe if you are a PTA you should be proud of accomplishment as is it wasn't easy when I did it 17 yrs ago and I hope it is not now. Many did not make it through this community college course and some had that BS too. I think this way, if you have that BS right out of college and the next guy has the AS out of the CC, the employer is most likely to hire the AS for less $ initially. New grad BS with no ability to do anything more than a new grad AS. So, if as BS is going to be required then responsibilty would have to increase. Then who will be upset? The PT because they will not like us doing their job for less $. What is the difference in the scope of practice in most places/areas.....EVALS. Experienced PTA usally help the new PT with evals anyway.

I do have over 30 years of healthcare experience and a BS. Just my 2cent on the issue.

PS will the APTA give the BsPTA a full vote as well?

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Anti APTA in Simpsonville, South Carolina

32 months ago

Damn excuse me i thought i was a professional and my degree was a professional degree!I am a PTA who gets absolutely no respect, would love to get a four year degree if i could afford it. I am disgusted with the APTA and everyone else who thinks i am no more than someone who doesnt measure up to a Pt. Please dont tell my patients who are alive today because that "just a PTA" recognized the symptoms of blood clots,heart attack, etc and got them the help they needed. The program i went through busted our butts so that we would be the same as a PT and be an efficient right hand for my PT. With my years of experience i could do an eval, a PtA should be assesing the pt needs anyway and stay in constant communication with PT who is usually so busy doing paperwork they dont have time to treat and do an EVAL. My PTs ask my opinion anyway when doing an eval.i despise the fact that we are just considered "assistants" as in same as tech, and are considered less educated. I dont believe you could learn what i did in school in 6 months i dont know where that person went to school but they would have never made it in my classes. We took very demanding courses and were educated in every aspect of Pt even gross anatomy sessions. Thank you AJ in virginia. Screw you APTA thanks for the help!

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tmm in Washington, District of Columbia

31 months ago

I'm just wondering if those of you that graduated 15+ years ago are considering the following: it is absolutely no wonder why recent grads want the option to obtain a 4 year degree when you have all indicated that you learned most of what you use in your decades of continuing education courses. Recent grads are starting from zilch (aside from those of you living in highly competitive areas like southern CA). They just want to learn from the past 20 years of evidence based practice before they graduate. I see nothing wrong with that. More and more information is being crammed into two years of school than ever before. If our understanding of kinesiology and muscle phys had not advanced at all since you graduated, I would understand if you thought it was pointless.

How about, rather than requiring a phys dys, a psycho social, a peds, and an acute clinical, I eliminate the scopes of practice I'm not remotely interested in and get my clinical training where I want?

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tmm in Washington, District of Columbia

31 months ago

Although I must admit, I personally have no aptitude for politics or the economy. I like john from Florida's perspective. I'm sure that is also true.

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