Flathead Valley Community College’s Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) recent cohort passed the national licensing exam with a 100 percent pass rate. The cohort of nine completed coursework and hands-on training through the college to prepare for the exam and to transition into a career or continue their studies to become a physical therapist.
The National Physical Therapy Exam for PTAs pass rate averaged near 85 percent since 2016 nationally, with 2020 pass rates coming in at 83 percent.¹ FVCC program graduate, Courtney Harmon, credits FVCC’s 100 percent pass rate to the quality of training over the program period. “The program provided training and preparation through a wide variety of classes and topics, with lots of practical hands-on training, so I feel able to handle whatever I come across,” she said.
After passing her exam and becoming licensed, Courtney got a job in Kalispell where she said she’s in good company. “They hired three of us from the same cohort, and say how they love to hire FVCC PTA graduates because of how well prepared we are right out of school,” Courtney explained.
The program’s small cohort size and historically high pass rates attract students from all over the country. “We’re seeing a higher draw from places outside the valley because of the program’s success and size, and we’re excited to keep evolving to address local and rural needs for PTAs,” said PTA Program Director Janice Heil.
The FVCC PTA program was initially started in 2011 in response to the local community’s call for trained job candidates. Heil worked closely with local stakeholders and an advisory committee to address this need and create a program that offered a cost-effective means for students and employers in the industry.
“Our program focuses on meeting the needs of the community and training patient-minded graduates. We’ve worked hard to build that reputation locally, so our graduates have high job placement after earning their license,” Heil concluded.
To learn more about FVCC’s PTA program, request information at fvcc.edu/request-info.