PTA Professor Jennifer Ball, who also serves as program director, said the family-like bond the students form could be one reason 20 of 20 graduates passed the test.
“They are always helping each other and studying together,” she said.
The PTA program has a student-run club called the Student Physical Therapist Assistant Organization, which includes only the upper classmen.
“It doesn’t seem like an actual club because it is made up of all the students in the class,” said President Reese Miller, sophomore PTA major.
Miller said they learn together, they study together, they fundraise together, and they take the national exam together.
“We have to be very comfortable with each other, because we have to be very hands-on,” Miller said. “It creates an amazing group dynamic.”
October is national Physical Therapy month. To celebrate, the PTA students receive a pizza party from the Occupational Therapy Assistant students.
Miller said the PTA students return the favor during Occupational Therapy month in April. She described them as sister programs.
Physical therapist assistants help those who have health or medical problems to enable the clients to move better or perform daily life activities.
“A PTA helps with anything from flat feet to some people in ICU after being struck by a vehicle,” Miller said.
On average a PTA makes $30,000 to $60,000 a year, Miller said. She said their hourly rate ranges from $15 to $60 an hour depending what field that PTA works in and their level of experience.
PTAs work in several different environments such as outpatient clinics, hospitals, and fitness centers, she said.
Miller said PTA students form a unique support group.
The program is small, only accepting about 20 applicants per year, she said.
There are 19 students in the graduating class of 2016 and 21 students in the graduating class of 2017.
With its small size comes great accomplishment, Miller said.
“We are all so different, but we all work so well together,” she said. “Since the students are diverse and they are able to learn from each other, they have the opportunity to learn new things in different ways.”
Miller said the unique part about the PTA program is that students not only get to learn from experienced professionals, but also get the opportunity to teach each other, which gives them the advantage of remembering more of the topics they need for the exam.
She described the members of the class as a laid-back group of professionals, who are able to converse with ordinary people while also maintaining a professional attitude.
Being in a class with such high standards, SPTAO members are able to meet with other professionals in their field of study, allowing them to network and find jobs after graduating.
“We have such a great track record of passing this exam that clinics in Oklahoma know when you graduate from this program that you are going to be outstanding,” Miller said.
For more information about the PTA program, contact Professor Jennifer Ball at 405-682-1611, ext. 7305, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.