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FVCC students achieve 100% pass rate on national exam

by HILARY MATHESON
Daily Inter Lake | January 13, 2022 12:00 AM

A cohort of nine individuals who studied to become physical therapist assistants at Flathead Valley Community College achieved a 100% pass rate on their national licensing exams.

The National Physical Therapy Exam pass rate for physical therapist assistants (PTAs) taking the test for the first time averages around 85% percent since 2016, with 2020 pass rates coming in at 83%, according to FVCC, citing the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Courtney Harmon, an FVCC program graduate, credits the pass rate to the quality of training she received through the community college.

“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, Harmon 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,” she said.

The program’s small cohort size and historically high pass rates attract students from all over the country, according to FVCC

“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 said.

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