To become a physical therapy assistant, students must complete an accredited physical therapy assistant (PTA) program, which normally lasts two years; however, physical therapists (PTs) must undergo additional training. Bridge programs exist to complete the training requirements for a PTA to become a PT. As of 2010, The American Physical Therapy Association's Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has only accredited one PTA-to-PT transition program at The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program by The University of Findlay is a six-year program where students complete prerequisite courses during the first three years, and three years of professional coursework. Upon completion of the fourth year, students receive a Bachelor of Science in health sciences (pre-physical therapy emphasis) and are then awarded a Doctor of Physical Therapy after the completion of the sixth year.
Coursework within this program consists of theoretical classroom lectures followed by clinical practicum courses. As of 2010, the entire six-year program consisted of 93 courses. All courses are designed to provide the student with a solid foundation and advanced skills to establish them as a physical therapist professional upon graduation. A list of all current courses is available on the university's website.
Applicants to the Doctor of Physical Therapy PTA-to-PT bridge program must have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants must also have completed a minimum of 100 observational hours in two different physical therapy clinics. Prior to being admitted into the program, applicants must complete the following prerequisite courses: general chemistry (eight credit hours), exercise physiology (three credit hours), human anatomy/physiology (eight credit hours), basics physics (eight credit hours), introduction to health professions (one credit hour) and medical terminology (three credit hours).
To apply for this program, applicants must submit the transfer/post high school application to The University of Findlay, which must include copies of their high school and college coursework transcripts. Applicants must also submit the Doctor of Physical Therapy application at least six weeks before the May 1 deadline. Upon review of the applications, The University of Findlay will either approve or deny the enrollment request. If denied, the university will inform the applicant of steps that must be taken to meet eligibility requirements. Take note that admission into The University of Findlay does not guarantee the student will be admitted into the PTA-to-PT bridge program.
As of 2010, the tuition for this program was $700 per semester hour for both in-state and out-of-state students. This cost does not include general service fees and other fees associated with this degree program. Financial aid and scholarships are available for all accepted students.
Jonathan McLelland has been a professional writer since 2005. He has worked as a story writer and editor for the international sitcom, “Completing Kaden,” as well as a proposal writer for various production companies. McLelland studied communication and theater at St. Louis Community College.