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Victoria College physical therapist assistant program popular choice for students


March 10, 2011 at midnight
Updated March 11, 2011 at 9:12 p.m.

Student Chelsea Harjes  practices physical therapy techniques  on another student during a classroom session at Victoria College.

Soft beds, wheelchairs and students learning to use walking canes are common sights in the Victoria College Health Sciences Building.

In the school's new physical therapist assistant program, students work out muscles, movements and learn all about the body to prepare for a career that is in high need in the area.

"The Baby Boomer population is now becoming the geriatric age group, and so there's much more a demand for physical therapy in general," said Laura Crandall, program director.

The program opened last fall with 17 students after getting 65 applications. This year, although the program deadline is June 1, Crandall said she's already received nearly 50 applications. The class cap is 16 for next fall.

Programs like VC's - which is the only one of its kind in the Crossroads - are highly competitive, require extensive prerequisites and draw students from out of town like Travis Brewer who moved from East Texas.

"When I got the opportunity to come, I took it," he said. "It's a really good program."

Brewer, who already has a bachelor degree, got interested in physical therapy after having two leg injuries.

"I saw how much good it did for me both physically and mentally," he said. "There's a lot of psychology that goes into this because when a person get's injured, they get really down and it helps pick them back up both physically and mentally."

Students learn complex functions of the human body, learn range of motion and a host of exercises.

"It's difficult for you to try to do them, and then you have to instruct someone else to," said Emily Strain, who also moved from San Antonio to join the program. She feels the job allows her to work one-on-one with patients and is a much needed service.

"As the medical field progresses and technology is becoming more advanced, people are living longer and they're recovering from accidents better," she said.



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