Central New Mexico Set to Debut New Physical Therapist Assistant Program

As New Mexico prepares for a physical therapist assistant shortage in the years to come, one community college is taking a preemptive strike by opening a new physical therapist assistant program.

According to a report published by Central New Mexico (CNM) Community College, its School of Health Wellness and Public Safety will admit up to 16 students into the new Physical Therapy Assistant program at the beginning of every fall semester. The program will run six semesters in length and eventuate into an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant degree.

Students that successfully graduate from the program will also become eligible to sit for the National Licensing Examination through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Physical therapy assistants are required to pass the examination to legally practice in anywhere in the United States.

To better accommodate future educational plans for its students, CNM has also established transfer agreements with neighboring colleges throughout New Mexico.

Prior to the announcement, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions only recognized six other statewide educational training programs for physical therapy assistants, available through:

  • Clovis Community College
  • Luna Community College
  • Pima Medical Institute
  • San Juan College-East
  • San Juan College-West
  • San Juan College-North

The only issue surrounding CNM’s new program is its accreditation status. Although the program is not yet accredited by the Council for Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), it is currently undergoing the formal candidate process to receive it.

For many, access to another physical therapy assistant program couldn’t have come at a better time. In early August the Conference Board, a worldwide corporate research group, ranked “occupational therapy and physical therapist assistants and aides” as one of the United State’s occupations with the highest risk of experiencing labor shortages in the next 10 to 15 years.