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June 12, 1997

UPT physical therapy assistant program accredited

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) hasgranted accreditation to the physical therapist assistant (PTA) program at Pitt's Titusville campus (UPT).

APTA ccreditation is required before a school's graduates can sit for the state licensing examination. UPT admitted its first PTA class in 1995 and recently graduated 23 students from the program. The initial accreditation period is five years.

Commenting on the accreditation and graduation, PTA program director Janet Moffitt Greene said: "This has been a big month for the PTA program. I am very proud of the work the PTA students, PTA program staff and faculty, and the UPT community in these two huge accomplishments for our campus." Greene also expressed appreciation to the Barco-Duratz Foundation for providing seed money to launch the PTA program.

"Our campus is very pleased with the high marks given our program by the accreditation team," UPT President Michael Worman said. "The PTA program, along with other programs we are pursuing, will continue our emphasis on preparing individuals for health careers." The PTA program is designed to help make UPT "The Gateway to the Health Professions" by providing residents of northwestern Pennsylvania with an opportunity to receive training in the health sciences without leaving home. In addition, the UPT administration is hopeful that the program will attract students from other areas.

Coupled with an expansion of continuing education and training programs at the George J. Barco Center for Continuing Education, the PTA program is a major element in the efforts of UPT to meet future enrollment goals and maintain the campus's fiscal strength.

An intensive two-year program of 74 credits, the PTA program provides classroom and clinical training necessary to enter one of the fastest growing fields in the country. PTAs are in demand at hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and private practices throughout the country.

According to the U.S. Labor Statistics Occupations Outlook Quarterly, demand for physical therapist assistants is expected to increase by 93 percent over the next decade, making it the fastest growing of all occupations requiring post-secondary education.

Pitt has had a physical therapist program at its Pittsburgh campus for years. UPT's physical therapist assistant program is completely different. It does not duplicate any other Pitt program.

According to Greene, the UPT program and the Pittsburgh campus program are on two entirely different levels. Physical therapists do evaluations, set up treatment plans, treat patients and determine when a treatment plan needs to be changed. Physical therapist assistants carry out the treatment plan laid out by the physical therapist and document what has been done.

–Mike Sajna

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