Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date: June 3, 2009

For More Information: Pat O'Brien, (901) 333-4021

Southwest PTA Students Increase Scores on Licensing Exams by 30 Percent

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) are in the top 10 fastest growing careers in the health care industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And demand is expected to increase by 32 percent by 2016. But students are not admitted to practice until they have passed the National Physical Therapy Licensing Examination (NPTE).

To ensure their students' success, Southwest Tennessee Community College, in 2004, began offering graduating PTA students a pre-exam workshop. The result is a more than 30 percent cumulative increase in their exam scores.

Now in its sixth year, the workshop was conducted for the third time with Paula Hould, PT, MED, former department chair/program director for the physical therapist assistant program at Hesser College in Manchester, New Hampshire, as the instructor. She also is a former physical therapist assistant who, said Southwest PTA program instructor Eddie Zeno, "possesses unique insights about what it takes to be successful in passing the NPTE."

Students received a PTA Exam On-Campus Review course book that included a study prompt outline and full-length sample test, administered in increments during the two-day workshop. "Hould broke down each sample question, reviewing the best answers, and making [them] seem less complex," said Zeno. They also learned how to formulate a home study plan for final preparation for the exam.

Since the inauguration of the pre-exam workshop, four colleges in the region have joined the Southwest students, with a total of nearly 60 participating this spring.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for a PTA is $41,360, with the highest earnings in home health care services and nursing care facilities. For more information about the PTA program at Southwest, contact instructor Eddie Zeno at or Dr. Darius Wilson, department chair for allied health,


Photo caption: Fifty-seven students from five institutions attended the 2009 PTA exam workshop offered at Southwest this spring.