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Harrisburg University (HU) of Science and Technology’s Exercise Science Physical Therapist Assistant (EXSC-PTA) Pathway Program has obtained initial accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP), the largest programmatic accreditor in the health-sciences field.

Set to launch during the fall of 2023, the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science Program will offer innovative educational opportunities that respond to societal needs. The program will provide Physical Therapist Assistants with the opportunity for degree and career advancement through a hybrid educational model.

“With this program, we are hoping to fill a current educational void and help Physical Therapist Assistants advance their education and achieve a bachelor’s degree that also meets the prerequisites for a Doctor of Physical Therapy program,” said HU Director of Clinical Education, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Jason Smith, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT. “We believe that a degree in exercise science will best prepare PTAs for success in their career and in the DPT program if they choose to continue the pathway. We chose to seek CAAHEP accreditation to ensure that students will receive a high-quality exercise science education and we are excited that our program meets these standards.”

Exercise Science courses will be completed primarily online with four total laboratory weekends throughout the program. With the part-time, primarily asynchronous design, students will be able to continue to work as a physical therapist assistant as they complete the program.

The program will foster diverse graduates who are competent, autonomous, and contemporary exercise physiologists who focus on the betterment of the health, fitness, and quality of life of diverse populations across their lifespan. Graduates of the program will integrate evidence-informed strategies into client management for the well-being of a diverse population across their lifespans.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science will:

  • Design comprehensive health and fitness programs for a variety of people across their lifespan.
  •  Integrate mitigating risk and maximizing effectiveness of facility management and wellness-plan implementation.
  • Prepare for the American College of Sports Medicines Exercise Physiologist certification exam.

Students enrolled in the program must complete 120 credits for the Bachelor of Science Degree. Licensed/certified physical therapist assistant students will receive 53 credits and will be required to complete 67 credits to complete the Bachelor of Science Degree program.

This program prepares students for entrance into the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. HU is currently in the accreditation process for a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program with an anticipated initial cohort launch during the fall of 2025. 

Graduation from a physical therapist [assistant] education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone; 703-706-3245; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Learn more about the EXSC-PTA Program at the following link.


Harrisburg University of Science & Technology is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on December 1, 2024. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the [professional/technical] phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in [professional/technical] courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.


Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private nonprofit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717-901-5146 or email, Follow on Twitter (@HarrisburgU) and Facebook (