Hunter Deatrick and Bianca Guerra may come from opposite ends of the state, but they were drawn to Blinn’s physical therapist assistant (PTA) program and the RELLIS Campus in Bryan by the same attribute – Blinn’s perfect licensure pass rate.
Dating back to 2013, Blinn PTA graduates have a 100% first attempt pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which must be completed successfully to practice in the United States.
“The biggest reason I chose to come to Blinn College’s physical therapist assistant program was the 100% licensure pass rate,” said Guerra, who came to Blinn from Corpus Christi. “That’s really what drove me to come here.”
Deatrick, who hails from Lewisville, Texas, said that as he researched programs online, Blinn’s academic reputation separated it from other PTA programs around the state.
“I saw some reviews online for a few different colleges and Blinn seemed to always have the best reviews,” he said. “I talked to people who had experience and the Blinn PTA program was the one that had the best reputation in the clinics. I thought that was really important because I want to do this for a career and I want to have the best instruction.”
Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, Blinn’s physical therapist assistant program is a two-year program that instructs students in various treatment procedures, including rehabilitation techniques, therapeutic exercises, and patient training and education.
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) help people of all ages with medical issues or health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Among their responsibilities, PTAs teach patients exercises to improve their mobility, strength, and coordination; train patients to walk with crutches, canes, or walkers; and provide patient treatments, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, heat, cold, and massage.
“I got interested in physical therapy because I’m interested in how the body works and moves, and I also enjoy helping people,” Deatrick said. “With PTA, you can do both of those at the same time and enjoy a fulfilling career.”
Guerra was participating in an internship at a children’s hospital in Corpus Christi when she was assigned to the rehabilitation center.
“I really loved rehab and therapy and helping people get better and regain the ability to do things they couldn’t do anymore,” she said.
The Blinn PTA program recently relocated to the RELLIS Academic Complex Building I at the RELLIS Campus. There, students participate in hands-on instruction in Blinn’s physical therapy lab, part of a 16,000-square-foot health sciences simulation center. Through the physical therapy lab, students have the opportunity to immediately put their coursework into practice through hands-on simulation. Blinn students also participate in clinical rotations to gain experience prior to graduation.
“My favorite part so far is that there is a lot of hands-on instruction,” Deatrick said. “You are being trained for a career, so it’s not just opening up a textbook and doing homework. You are coming in and learning a skill, so you immediately apply what you’re learning in the lab setting. Getting to go do it in the lab definitely helps me learn.”
Said Guerra, “With the lab, you actually take the concepts you learned during the lecture and put it into practice. That’s how I learn the best, so I really like that about the program.”
PTAs are in high demand throughout the nation and the region, with employment projected to grow 26 percent from 2018-2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Program graduates can expect to earn an average salary of $49,890 in the state of Texas after passing the national licensure exam.
Jobs abound in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics or offices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, education or research centers, schools, hospices, workplace environments, fitness centers, sports training facilities, and military settings.
“That’s the good thing about physical therapy,” Deatrick said. “There are so many settings that you can work in and there are PT clinics and hospitals anywhere you go, so it’s really limitless in that aspect.”
The Blinn PTA program has scheduled four upcoming information sessions on Nov. 7, Nov. 19, and Dec. 4. To register for an upcoming session, visit www.blinn.edu/physical-therapist-assistant.