Trine developing PTA program

FORT WAYNE — Trine University is in the early stages of development for a Physical Therapist Assistant program, to be based at its Health Sciences Education Center in Fort Wayne.

“At Trine, we recognize that physical therapist assistants are important members of health care teams who are in demand regionally and nationally,” said Max Baumgartner, PT, Ph.D., dean of the Rinker-Ross School of Health Sciences at Trine. “The faculty expertise and first-class facilities of our Exercise Science and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs make us uniquely equipped to prepare physical therapist assistants, who will be outstanding in their professionalism and clinical skills, for a very rewarding career.”

Baumgartner said the university has completed a comprehensive need analysis that has clearly demonstrated the program will address a significant regional need for outstanding PTA graduates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall national employment for physical therapist assistants and aides is expected to grow 30 percent from 2016 to 2026, due to the healthcare needs of an aging population and those with chronic conditions. The BLS reports the median annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $56,610 in May 2016.

“The Physical Therapist Assistant program will add to the many Trine University majors that provide our graduates with clear paths to successful careers while also meeting critical needs in the region,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president. “Once this program is underway, we look forward to Trine University PTA graduates joining other Trine alumni in the field to help make northeast Indiana a better, healthier place to live.”

The PTA program will be based in the newly renovated, state-of-the-art Health Sciences Education Center on Parkview Hospital’s Randallia campus, alongside and integrated with the university’s recently accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

The PTA program is a key component of Trine University’s commitment to developing a world-class interdisciplinary education center in Fort Wayne, Baumgartner said.

Exceptional students in Trine’s bachelor of exercise science program will have the opportunity to simultaneously complete a Physical Therapist Assistant associate’s degree during the final two years of their baccalaureate program. This combined course of study will enable students interested in exercise science and rehabilitation to achieve a level of preparation superior to the two-year preparation for physical therapy assistants found at most other schools.