A graphic features the Pierpont and Harrisburg University logos.


Fairmont, WV – Pierpont Community and Technical College has formalized an articulation agreement with Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) in Pennsylvania to create a pathway between Pierpont’s two-year Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program and HU’s four-year Bachelor of Exercise Science (EXSC) program, with the option of continuing into a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree track.

The articulation agreement is effective immediately and represents a significant step toward addressing the shortage of qualified healthcare providers in the tri-state area and beyond. The partnership provides a critical opportunity for distance learners to take advantage of the program offerings through the availability of online coursework and limited on-campus requirements.  

“Harrisburg University is pleased to welcome the Pierpont community into our growing network of partner institutions,” said HU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Cameron J. McCoy. “Together, we are positioning real impact toward addressing regional talent shortages and ‘healthcare deserts.’ Our Exercise Science and Physical Therapy programs empower learners with technologically advanced course designs, immersive research experiences, and fruitful relationships with community healthcare leaders. Thanks to this collaborative agreement, even more learners can study with us through an increasingly flexible higher education pathway.”

“Collaborations such as this one with Harrisburg University create the potential for students to advance their academic degrees and build upon their clinical training in the pursuit of patient care,” said Pierpont Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Waide. “We are excited about this partnership with HU to meet the growing need for healthcare professionals in our region and beyond.”

The articulation agreement guarantees admission to the HU Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science program for Pierpont PTA students who:

– Complete the electronic “Dual Admissions Intent” form with HU prior to completion of no more than 45 credits at Pierpont.

– Complete the HU admissions application and satisfy all other admissions requirements, including submitting official transcripts and a video essay.

– Graduate from Pierpont with their Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant and plan to acquire, or have acquired, a physical therapist assistant license.

– Do not attend any other institutions between Pierpont and HU.

– Enroll at HU within one year of graduation from Pierpont.

Students from Pierpont’s PTA program will be awarded a block of 53 transfer credits to HU upon completion of their degree and after providing evidence of licensure. No diagnostic testing is needed.

“The PTA pathways program offered through Harrisburg University will be a game changer for many of our PTA students,” said Assistant Professor and PTA Program Coordinator Dr. Andrea Wamsley-Barr. “This partnership will allow select students from our program to have an achievable pathway of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in exercise science while still living and working in their home communities.”

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare field has struggled to keep pace with demand and departures. An estimated 15,000 physical therapists left their positions between 2021 and 2022, totaling nearly 11 percent of the workforce. That is a higher attrition rate than that of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, and physicians alike. The shortage of qualified professionals in healthcare has been keenly felt in the nation’s rural regions due to the concentration of practitioners in metropolitan areas.

The demand continues to grow as the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates “much faster than average” growth in the physical therapist job market through 2032, estimating an additional 37,200 job openings.

Harrisburg University’s EXSC program received formal CAAHEP accreditation in May 2023 and was named an Exercise is Medicine® bronze-level campus by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in 2024. ACSM has recognized only 145 campuses worldwide through its Exercise is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) program.

For additional information about Pierpont’s PTA program, call (304) 333-3684 or email admissions@pierpont.edu. For more information at Harrisburg University, call (717) 901-5146 or email connect@harrisburgu.edu.