A mark of excellence

HANCOCK – The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Finlandia University was again granted accreditation in November, as part of a 10-year cycle.

Cameron Williams, Finlandia PTA program director and dean of the College of Health Sciences, said the accreditation organization, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, found no glitches in the Finlandia program report submitted to it.

“We had a completely clean report,” he said.

Williams said the Finlandia PTA program graduated its first class in 1998. The average number of graduates each year is 18.

Physical Therapy assistants provide assistance in performing activities for patients with movement dysfunctions, Williams said. They don’t do evaluations of patients. Those are done by a physical therapist.

Williams said the Finlandia PTA program provides an associate of applied science degree for graduates. Students complete their degree work in two or three years.

Although the university could have a PTA class without accreditation, Williams said it wouldn’t be as worthwhile for students, because having a degree from an accredited program is needed to get a PTA license.

“There’s no point in having a PT program without accreditation,” he said.

Williams said an annual report on the PTA program is done by the administration, also. Every 10 years, representatives from CAPTE make an unannounced visit to the school before the accreditation.

The self study done by Finlandia for the PTA program has been recognized nationally as a quality study, Williams said.

For the years 2011 to 2013, Williams said the Finlandia PTA program had a graduate passing rate of 96.55 percent. For the years 2010 to 2013, 98 percent of graduates were employed as PTAs within six months of receiving their license.

Williams said the re-accreditation of the Finlandia PTA program is significant for the university.

“It means we demonstrated a high-quality program,” he said.