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.
|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|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be