CCC seeks state OK for new program Grads would assist physical therapists

April 23, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

People already have started calling Carroll Community College to find out whether it's true, and it is -- almost.

The college is seeking state approval to offer a two-year program to train physical therapy assistants, starting in the fall of 1994.

"We already have students knocking on our door, and we haven't even made any announcement at all," said James Bruns, director of instruction.

The first announcement came Wednesday night at the meeting of the college advisory board.

The eager inquiries aren't surprising, considering that only one other school in the state offers the program. And there are many jobs awaiting graduates, who can expect to start at $25,000 to $30,000 a year, Dr. Bruns said.

Baltimore City Community College offers the program, he said, and has a waiting list of up to three years.

Most Carroll County residents who pursue the career attend schools in Pennsylvania, Dr. Bruns said.

If the state approves the request, the college would be able to take 25 students a year into the program, Dr. Bruns said.

Graduates would seek certification from the American Physical Therapy Association, and then be qualified to work for licensed therapists.

They also could pursue specialty areas, such as sports medicine or occupational therapy, Dr. Bruns said.

"This is one of the fastest growing occupations in America now," he said, adding that it pays a higher salary than most careers that require a two-year degree. "That is why we are pursuing this.

"The demand for the next four to eight years is growing at a rate of 76 percent," Dr. Bruns said, compared with an average rate of 25 percent for other growing occupations.

Approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission is not a given, Dr. Bruns said. The state may not have enough money to reimburse the college for the extra students the program will draw, he said. Or, the commission could decide that Carroll is too close to the program in Baltimore, he said.

The college also is asking the state to give a regional designation to the program, which means the state would reimburse the college for out-of-county residents who enroll.

The program would cost the college about $50,000 in start-up costs for equipment and supplies. One full-time instructor and a few adjunct instructors would be hired, he said.

In other business at the advisory council meeting, Janet Colburn, chairwoman of the personnel committee, announced that the college would be adding several new positions for the next academic year.

The college will add two psychology instructors, one earth science instructor, one speech and English instructor, one English intern, a guidance counselor and an institutional researcher.

Dr. Bruns said the positions are needed to accommodate growing enrollment. The college has about 2,700 students this year, and expects a 4 percent increase to at least 2,800 next year.

The institutional researcher position goes with the college's newly granted independence.

The Higher Education Commission voted this month to allow the college to be autonomous as of July 1.

The researcher's duties include gathering data on enrollment, budget and other aspects of the college for a total of 37 reports a year that the state requires.

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