Students in the Physical Therapist Assistant program will complete three clinical affiliations throughout the program. The first experience is three weeks in length and is completed during the first three weeks of the spring semester of the second year of the program (Semester 4). The final two clinical affiliations are each six weeks in length and completed in the summer semester of the second year of the program (Semester 5). All clinical experiences are full-time rotations (40 hours per week) following the schedule of the clinical instructor at the clinical site. Students are to anticipate the possibility of working evenings, weekends and holidays as part of the clinical experience. Students are required to complete rotations in a variety of settings in preparation for an entry- level position as a physical therapist assistant.
Clinical Site Locations
The Pennsylvania State University has over eight hundred clinical contracts with locations in at least twenty-three states that are available to students in the PTA Program. There are a large number of sites utilized by the Shenango campus in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.
Current and prospective students should be aware that there are many requirements associated with the clinical education portion of the program. All costs associated with clinical affiliations are the responsibility of the students. Expected costs will include but may not be limited to transportation, parking, housing, liability insurance and fees associated with background checks and drug testing. Every attempt is made to keep students close to their homes for clinical placements; however, travel to facilities may be up to ninety minutes to ensure optimal learning experiences. Students are responsible to provide their own transportation to clinical sites and to secure housing as necessary.
Students should be aware that many clinical sites require background checks, fingerprinting and drug testing prior to accepting a student for a clinical affiliation. Sites may also request drug or alcohol testing during clinical rotations. Documentation of recent physical examination and immunizations may also be requested by clinical sites. Students are strongly encouraged to receive the Hepatitis B series of vaccinations. Students are required to maintain health insurance during all clinical rotations.
Please contact Jennifer Jewell, Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE), for clarification or for additional information regarding the clinical portion of the curriculum.