The Importance of an Accredited PTA Program

Physical therapist treating a patient's armIn order for a college or university to be accredited, it must undergo a thorough examination to ensure that the institution meets a certain set of criteria and standards set by a peer review board. The review board is made up of faculty from other accredited colleges and universities throughout that particular region. Together, the board can continually review and improve its standards to make sure that other colleges and universities who are applying for accreditation offer their students the best education possible. 

Being accredited means earning credibility amongst other colleges and universities. This makes a significant impact on job seekers and the employers who may hire them. Employers take note of where applicants have earned their degree. If they did not get it from an accredited institution, then the employer may very well question the legitimacy of the education which the applicant received, as well as the applicant’s other qualifications.

A Program That Should Be Accredited 

When it comes to a career path such as a Physical Therapist Assistant, (PTA) employers cannot afford to wonder if the applicant has been thoroughly taught and trained to take care of their patients. Peoples’ lives depend on the quality and care that a worker in the healthcare industry performs. That’s why Florida National University (FNU) took the necessary steps to obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Furthermore, we have taken great care to ensure that our Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science program is also fully accredited as well.


“Many students are not aware that graduating from an accredited program by Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) provides them with two major advantages: first they can transfer their license to any state if they so choose. Secondly, they are legally able to treat patients who have Medicare or Medicaid. Also, accreditation ensures that the program is held to the highest standards and equivalent to other national PTA programs,” Dr. Kelly Krenkel, the Program Director of FNU’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program said. 

How to Apply to the PTA Program 

FNU’s PTA courses are designed to be held to the highest standards. Inquiring students are required to complete an FNU admission application, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 of a ‘B’ in general prerequisites, especially in Anatomy & Physiology, Introduction to Physical Therapy, Algebra, and Physics. Applicants must also attend a PTA Program Information Session and complete a PTA Program Application that will be handed out during the PTA Session. 

In addition, students must meet the following requirements:

  • 25 observation hours
  • Acquire two personal references (1 work, 1 academic)
  • Acquire HESI Exam scoring in 75th percentile overall
  • Acquire HESI Exam scoring in 80th percentile in anatomy & physiology section
  • Submit an admissions essay
  • Interview with the PTA program faculty 

All students must also provide BLS, OSHA, HIV, and HIPPA seminar completion forms in order to participate in the clinical practicums, complete 630 hours of clinical practice, and undergo a federal background check. 

The PTA Curriculum 

The PTA program is designed to provide FNU students with the skills and techniques it takes to improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities to patients in healthcare settings. Furthermore, students who graduate from this program with an Associate of Science are eligible to take the national licensure exam.

There is a minimum of 78 credits that an FNU student must complete in order to graduate with a PTA Associate’s degree. General education requirements include communication, humanities, behavioral and social science, mathematics, and computers. The core courses require 44 credits. To view the full FNU PTA curriculum, click here.

Extended Learning

Upon graduating, students are expected to dedicate a life-long commitment to learning the ever-evolving field of physical therapy by keeping abreast with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as well as other organizations and events that work toward the betterment of the PTA’s career. Graduates are also expected to inform their patients, colleagues, and other healthcare providers about health and wellness that is relevant to the field of physical therapy when necessary as directed by the Physical Therapist. 

Type of PTA Work Settings 

The two primary settings a PTA may work in are Outpatient and Inpatient.

  1. Outpatient includes both Hospital Based and Privately owned clinics which accounts for 50% of employed PTAs.
  1. Inpatient includes facilities such as acute care hospitals, inpatient or sub acute rehabilitation, skilled nursing, and extended care. This setting accounts for 31% of employed PTAs.

The remaining 19% work in other settings available to PTAs including home health, school systems, health and wellness facilities, and academic institutions.

  1. Acute Care – This particular rehab setting is needed for patients who are admitted into hospitals due to an illness or injury and are required to stay for only a short period of time until they have fully recovered.
  2. Sub Acute Rehab – For Sub Acute Rehab, there are the rehabilitation hospitals and the Sub Acute Rehabilitation facilities. The rehabilitation hospitals include intense therapy to patients with the goal of helping them to be physically able to take care of themselves. The Sub Acute Rehabilitation facilities are more specific in terms of what they specialize in and aren’t as intense in their therapy sessions. The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network is an example of a sub acute rehabilitation facility while the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana serves as an example of a general rehabilitation hospital.

FNU: Delivering a Quality Education 

Being a regionally accredited higher learning institution founded in 1982, FNU awards a variety of certificates, associates, baccalaureate, and master degree programs, including 22 distance-learning program opportunities. We are committed to providing quality education to our students. FNU’s Accredited Physical Therapist Assistant program provides a structured curriculum of courses that will help you seamlessly transition into the workforce as a qualified Physical Therapist Assistant. If you are ready to get a good education the medical field, visit our website and review all the healthcare degrees FNU has to offer.

There are many steps to take when beginning a college career, so let us guide the way on your path towards higher education! Call any of our three campuses to speak to an enrollment counselor and begin the process! Apply to FNU today to secure your education and improve your future! You can also email the PTA Program for more information.

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