Institutional and Program Factors Predict Physical Therapist Assistant Program Graduation Rate and Licensure Examination Pass Rate

Purpose/Hypothesis : Physical therapist assistant (PTA) education has undergone considerable change in recent years. The overall number of PTA programs increased by 45% from 2007 to 2013. While PTA programs have traditionally been housed in two-year public institutions, new PTA programs are being developed primarily in institutions classified as for-profit. In light of these changes, purposes of this study were to: (a) identify institutional and program factors related to graduation rate and licensure pass rate in PTA education programs and (b) determine whether institutional and program factors were predictive of successful graduate outcomes.Number of Subjects : De-identified data from 274 PTA programs in the US that had graduates in 2012 was utilized. This study was part of a larger investigation that included PT programs.Materials/Methods : Descriptive statistics were utilized to summarize institutional and program variables. Spearman rank correlations were calculated to examine relationships among selected independent variables and dependent variables of graduation rate, first-time licensure pass rates, and ultimate 3-year pass rate. Prediction models were developed using regression analyses.Results : Factors positively related to PTA graduation rate were clinical education length as a percentage of total program length and Carnegie classification (Baccalaureate and MasterÕs). Factors negatively related to PTA graduation rate were Carnegie classification (AssociateÕs Public Urban) and total program length. The primary related factors for all licensure pass rates (ultimate and first-time) were negative, including Carnegie classification (private for-profit), number of cohorts per year, and for-profit institutional status. All relationships were generally small. Positive predictors of graduation rate were Carnegie MasterÕs and percentage of program weeks comprised of full-time clinical education. Carnegie classification of AssociateÕs Public Urban was a negative predictor of graduation rate. The primary predictor of licensure pass rates, a negative predictor, was for-profit institutional status.Conclusions : Our findings identified clear distinctions between factors related to graduation rates and factors related to licensure pass rates. A higher percentage of program weeks consisting of full-time clinical experiences was a positive predictor of graduation rate. The optimal percentage of program time devoted to clinical education has not previously been investigated and warrants further study. For-profit institutional status, which has not been investigated in relation to PTA education, was a negative predictor of licensure pass rates. This finding was consistent with the literature in higher education and merits further investigation since the majority of new and developing PTA programs are housed in for-profit institutions.Clinical Relevance : The results of this study can inform stakeholders in PTA education, including program faculty, administrators, students, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, and the public.

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  • Control #: 2007085
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Barbara B. Gresham, Mary Thompson, Kathleen Luedtke-Hoffmann, Mari F. Tietze
  • Keywords: PTA Education|Licensure Pass Rate|Graduation Rate

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