5 Ways to Prepare for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program

5 Ways to Prepare for the Physical Therapist Assistant ProgramWith great excitement, the faculty and staff at Florida National University (FNU) introduce a new program of study: we are happy to announce the launch of our Physical Therapist Assistant Program (PTA), developed and directed by Kelly Krenkel, DPT.

Upon the launch of a new program, we understand that it is important to equip students with the best practices to prepare for this opportunity — before and during one’s studies. Follow these tips for a greater chance of success in this program:

  1. Take Your Studies Seriously

We expect that our students in this program will treat the courses and professors with the high regard they have earned. There are a number of reasons to take this program and the education learned within it seriously:

  • Students will become educated to greater understand body pain, disability, injury, mobility, and exercise as it relates to everyday life.
  • It is a competitive program, with a selective admissions process.
  • Students will gain hands-on experience to prepare them for careers in the field; this means learning via real, live patients!

Due to these reasons, not all students meet the qualifications necessary to participate in the program. Therefore, those who do meet these requirements should not take it for granted!

  1. Understand the Nature of the Program

We want students to not only be prepared for this program, but also for the careers that they will take on after completion of their degree. There is no reason to sugarcoat the truth: this program is demanding. It will challenge students’ understanding of physical therapy as it stands; it will require time, effort, studying, and practice; and students will learn in a hands-on environment.

However, this information is not to scare away prospective students, but to prepare them for the challenges ahead that they will be driven to overcome. We will walk alongside you; if you have any trouble with classes, our professors are always available — they are actively looking for ways to help! Our goal is to fully prepare students for success before, during, and after the program!

  1. Make a Checklist

There are several requirements for active participation in this program. By making a checklist, students can ensure they meet all of the requirements, and are fully prepared with materials needed. Here are some important admission requirements for students to note:

  • Attend PTA Program Information Session
  • Attain 3.0 Overall GPA
  • No less than “B” or 3.0 in Anatomy & Physiology, Physics and Algebra
  • HESI Admission Assessment Exam
  • Complete 25 hours of observation
  • Written Essay
  • Personal References
  • Interview with program faculty

Are you interested in studying in the PTA, but missing an item from the list? Then, it’s time to catch up with the faculty before completing and submitting your application!

  1. During the Program

There are several factors that students must adhere to when it comes to the program:

  • All core courses are only offered at the Hialeah campus, full-time and during the day.
  • All students must have liability insurance in order to participate in the clinical rotations.
  • All students must provide BLS, OSHA, HIV, and HIPPA seminar completion forms in order to participate in the clinical practicums.
  • All students must undergo a level 2 federal background check in order to participate in the clinical practicums.
  • Students must complete 630 hours of clinical practice.

It is important to note these factors before applying, as many of them will take commitment and an open calendar in order to complete.

  1. Don’t be Shy; Know Your Program Director

Before enrolling in the program, a student may want to know more about the person who developed it! Dr. Krenkel has received her B.S. in Health Science and her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Since her graduation, Dr. Krenkel has worked in a number of clinical settings. Her primary goals are the prevention of functional decline, maximizing patients’ recovery, and improving the quality of life for her patients.

In the past, she has worked in the Miami VA Healthcare System, with roles as an Outpatient Physical Therapist and MOVE Instructor and Clinical Instructor. She has also served as the Lead Physical Therapist for the North Beach Rehab Center. However, her love for teaching and spreading knowledge has led her to her current career.

Knowing who she is, understanding her experience, and acknowledging her credentials is the first step toward success in the program, as she is a talented and experienced physical therapist who is well-equipped for the job at hand. If any problems or serious questions arise, Dr. Krenkel is the PTA student’s go-to person! Please contact Dr. Krenkel at ptaprogram@fnu.edu with any questions regarding the PTA program.


Despite the recent law changes in the state of Florida regarding Physical Therapist Assistant education, FNU is seeking accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Graduation from a CAPTE Accredited PTA Program allows graduates to have no limitations on where they can work or what types of patients they can work with (i.e. Medicare & Medicaid).

“Effective July 29th, 2014, Florida National University PTA program has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses and that the program is progressing toward accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.”

Bonus Tip:

Our program was developed to prepare students for outpatient clinics, hospitals, and long-term care facilities upon graduation; although FNU grants graduates with an Associate of Science degree, it was not designed as a program to continue at other universities, as many 2-year degrees are. Rather, graduates from this program will be eligible to sit for their national licensure exam, taking steps toward a future career!

If you are interested in the program, review the PTA detailed course list to get a sampling of the classes we offer!

Florida National University: Preparing Students for Success

FNU strives to prepare its students for employment in their chosen career. Therefore, by preparing for success in their chosen program, students are actively taking the steps to improve their future and achieve their goals. Are you ready to get started in the PTA, or any other FNU program? Apply today!

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