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HARRISBURG, PA – Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) has formalized an articulation agreement with Pierpont Community and Technical College (Pierpont). This articulation agreement creates a pathway between Pierpont’s Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate’s degree program and HU’s Exercise Science (EXSC) bachelor’s degree program, with the option of continuing with HU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree track.

This articulation agreement is effective immediately and provides considerable flexibility benefits for students as they plot their course through higher learning. This agreement represents a significant step toward addressing the shortage of qualified healthcare providers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and across the nation. Through the availability of online coursework and limited on-campus requirements, the HU EXSC program is an invaluable opportunity for those who live beyond a commutable distance to Harrisburg, PA, but still wish to seek this important degree and career path.

HU Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Cameron J. McCoy, PhD, marked the occasion by saying:

“Harrisburg University is pleased to welcome the Pierpont community into our growing network of partner institutions. 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.”

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates “much faster than average” growth in the physical therapist job market from 2022 to 2032, with 37,200 additional job openings anticipated. Likewise, according to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), students pursuing a career in physical therapy can expect a “bright outlook” based on current job market trends and approximately 13,900 new job openings by 2032.

The healthcare field has struggled to keep pace with demand and departures since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. An estimated 15,000 physical therapists left their positions between 2021 and 2022, or around 11 percent of the physical therapy workforce. This is a higher attrition rate than nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, and physicians. The shortage of qualified professionals in healthcare is especially keenly felt in the nation’s rural regions due to the concentration of practitioners in metropolitan areas.

The articulation agreement guarantees admission to the Harrisburg University 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 Community and Technical College with a Physical Therapist Assistant associate degree 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 Community and Technical College’s Physical Therapist Assistant program will be awarded a block of 53 transfer credits upon completion of their PTA associate degree and after providing evidence of their physical therapist assistant license. No diagnostic testing is needed. The agreement is valid until September 2026.

Pierpont Community and Technical College Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Michael Waide, commented:

“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. We are excited about this partnership with HU to meet the growing need for healthcare professionals in our region and beyond.”

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


Pierpont Community and Technical College has been North Central West Virginia’s leader in community and career education since 1974, offering a diverse and flexible selection of degrees, certifications, skill sets, and workforce training to learners at any stage of their academic journey. Students gain practical experience in nationally ranked programs and are provided with the skills and credentials needed to enter the workforce or continue their education. Pierpont is committed to providing accessible, comprehensive, and responsive Education That Works.


Harrisburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is a private, nonprofit university offering bachelor’s and graduate degree programs in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. For additional information about the University’s affordable, demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, please call 717-901-5146 or email Stay updated by following Harrisburg University on XLinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.