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Physical Therapy Assistant program hits new benchmark

April 25, 2018

Heartland Community College will be graduating a second cohort from the physical therapy assistant program that is already experiencing student success.

As the second class approaches graduation they follow an inaugural cohort that has posted an impressive 100 percent graduation and first time national exam pass rate.

“We’ve seen tremendous success from the students who went through the first cohort of the PTA program,” said Daryl Menke, Physical Therapy Assistant program coordinator and instructor. “Taking the national examination is a requirement to becoming licensed, and they all passed the first attempt. This exceeded the national rate of 89.3% of students passing the national examination on the first attempt." 

The job placement rate of PTA graduates from the first cohort has been impressive.

“We affectionately refer to this group as the ‘Number Ones’ and they continue to live up to that title," Menke said. "Every one of them that sought employment obtained a job either prior to graduating or shortly afterwards." 

The PTA Class of 2018 will be recognized at a pinning ceremony on Friday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Astroth Community Education Center on Heartland’s Normal campus.

HCC’s physical therapist assistant (PTA) program became fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) on April 26, 2017.

In order to become a licensed PTA, students must graduate from an accredited program to become eligible to sit for the national licensure exam.  

About the PTA program

A PTA provides physical therapy treatments under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist to help people recover from injuries, illnesses and surgeries.

The program is now accepting students into its next cohort. The application process opens April 1 and closes August 1 of each year. More information can be found at

Written by: Steve Fast