Health Science

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West (chair), Dusi, Hargraves, Harman, Hart, Hjerpe, Lyles, Marcinek, Meyer, Pucci, Weary

Purpose and Programs

The Department of Health Science offers degree programs in athletic training, gerontology and physical therapist assistant.  The department is housed in Hamer Hall.

The athletic training education program (ATEP) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Students may major in athletic training or combine athletic training with the physical therapist assistant program. Athletic training is the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries to the physically active population. Students that complete the ATEP are eligible for certification as an athletic trainer after successfully passing the Board of Certification (BOC) examination. California University's ATEP graduates work as athletic trainers in a wide variety of settings nationwide, including professional sports, colleges and universities, high schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and industrial and corporate settings.

Modern, well-equipped athletic training facilities are located in Hamer Hall, Adamson Stadium and the newly completed Convocation Center. The California University intercollegiate athletic program, a strong NCAA Division II program and a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), includes 18 varsity sports that enable students to gain valuable experience as athletic training students. Students also receive experiences at area high schools, local colleges and the Student Health Center as partial fulfillment of their required clinical education.

The field of gerontology is expanding as the number of older Americans continues to increase, quickly outpacing other segments of the population. With 37 million Americans currently over the age of 65 and a projected 71.5 million older citizens by 2030, our society is facing crucial issues about aging which will impact the health and welfare of every single American. Implications for academic study and training in gerontology are enormous. The study of aging will be of critical importance during the next century as the baby boomers pass into the ranks of the older generations. California University offers a B.S. in Gerontology to meet these needs.

The physical therapist assistant (PTA) Associate of Applied Science degree program graduates ethical physical therapist assistants who will provide safe, effective, high-quality service to the patients/clients they treat. The physical therapist assistant is an educated health care provider who assists the physical therapist to provide rehabilitation services for individuals who are unable to function due to pathology, impairment or functional limitations, or who want to improve function via prevention. Students gain experience at both campus and off-campus clinical sites. The physical therapist assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), located at 1111 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1488. The APTA phone number is 1-800-999-2702.

Careers in Athletic Training

The high incidence of injuries occurring through athletic participation and physical activity has become a national concern and has created a demand for individuals who have completed a CAATE-accredited athletic training education program. Job opportunities for certified athletic trainers have increased substantially, and the employment potential for athletic trainers continues to increase. The ultimate goal of this program is to prepare graduates for certification by the BOC and for careers in athletic training. Many high schools utilize athletic trainers to provide better health care for their interscholastic athletic programs. In addition, four-year colleges and universities, as well as junior and community colleges, provide significant possibilities for employment. Positions with professional teams exist; however, they are fewer in number than those associated with interscholastic athletic programs. There is an increasing number of opportunities in physical therapy clinics and industrial settings with corporations such as Disneyland, Xerox and Coca-Cola. California's ATEP graduates work as athletic trainers in a wide variety of settings nationwide, including professional sports, colleges and universities, high schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and industrial and corporate settings.

Careers in Gerontology

Variety is the best word to describe jobs in gerontology. The bachelor's degree in gerontology prepares students to pursue graduate education in gerontology or a related discipline or to work with older people in settings such as long-term care facilities; retirement communities; senior housing; federal, state and local government offices on aging; home health care agencies; senior centers; adult day services; adult protective service agencies; care management agencies; business and industry; leisure programs; and health promotion programs.

Careers in PTA

The aging of the baby boomer generation has created many new opportunities in physical therapy. Pennsylvania has the nation's second oldest population, with 15 percent of all Pennsylvanians over the age of 65. According to Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry, the need for physical therapist assistants is expected to increase 15 percent through the year 2014. Physical therapist assistants provide therapy services under the supervision and direction of the PT. They assist with data collection; implement delegated patient interventions; make appropriate clinical judgments; modify interventions within the PT's established plan of care; participate in discharge planning and follow-up care; document the care provided; educate and interact with PT and PTA students, aides, volunteers, patients, families and caregivers; and demonstrate an understanding of the significance and impact of cultural and individual differences. (Prepared by the Coalitions for Consensus conference by the APTA Education Division, 1995.)