The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at Blackhawk Technical College got a welcome shot in the arm recently when it learned that all of the students who took the July requisite national licensure examination exam passed on their first attempt. One student from the class will be taking the exam in October and should she pass, it would mark the third consecutive year that 100% of the class passed the exam on the first try.
“Pass rates of 100 percent are incredibly rewarding to our program,” Program Coordinator, Illene Larson said. “It really speaks to the quality of our curriculum and the dedication of the students.”
According to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, the average pass rate over the last five years for first time candidates is 84%. Annually, PTA students take the national exam to assess basic entry-level competence after graduation from an accredited program. The exam, presented by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, is generally the final step graduates must take before entering the workforce.
According to Larson, 88% of the class is employed already, just two months removed from their May graduation. Larson expects more of the class to earn employment in the coming months.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average yearly salary for experienced PTA’s at $19 per hour. Blackhawk’s most recent graduate survey indicated that the starting wages for entry-level physical therapy assistants are approximately $20-$26 per hour and rising.
“We’re so proud of the accomplishments of the entire class,” added Larson. “These students all have great careers ahead of them in physical therapy.”
BTC’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program is a 70 credit hour associate degree offering that incorporates academic courses with hands-on clinical experience.