Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Educator, Supervisor, and Graduate Recommendations of a Bachelor Degree for Physical Therapist Assistants
by Druse, Ty Lowell, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2012, 133; 3536609
Abstract (Summary)

The breadth and depth of education within physical therapy continues to expand as the profession develops; in fact, entry-level physical therapist education has transitioned from the bachelor to doctorate level. However, physical therapist assistant education has remained at the associate degree level despite increasing professional responsibilities. The problem is the recommended level of physical therapist assistant education is unknown, because only limited segments of the stakeholder population have been formally surveyed and stakeholder group perceptions have not been compared. This study employed a causal-comparative research design through the use of an adapted electronic survey instrument to determine if stakeholders were supportive of elevating entry-level physical therapist assistant education to a baccalaureate. Electronic mail addresses provided by state boards of physical therapy ensured participants were credentialed as certified, licensed, or registered from their respective state. The 2,354 respondents were divided into one of three stakeholder groups: physical therapy educators, physical therapists who are supervisors of physical therapist assistants, and physical therapist assistant graduates. Test-retest reliability of the survey instrument was analyzed per question through the use of an intraclass correlation coefficient and six of the eight questions within the survey were found to have a high degree of test-retest reliability. Cross-sectional data was analyzed using a Kruskal-Wallis test, which was followed by a multiple comparison test to determine the source of significance; significant differences (p < .05) were found between groups in the second and third research questions suggesting that respondents with less experience and higher terminal degrees were more likely to recommend baccalaureate level education, with exception to those categorized as other doctorate. There was not a significant difference among group recommendations of educators, supervisors, and physical therapist assistants, but half (49.5%) of the overall participants agreed while close to one-third (34.3%) disagreed that the bachelor's degree should be entry-level. Recommendations for future research include the use of qualitative research designs, employment of different research methods in an attempt to improve the return rate, and consideration of secondary stakeholders.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schnarrs, Phillips
Commitee: Liu, Sunny
School: Northcentral University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Physical therapy, Higher education
Keywords: Applied baccalaureate, Bachelor degrees, Degree completion, PTA education, Physical therapist assistants
Publication Number: 3536609
ISBN: 9781267951366
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