MCC Physical Therapist Assistant graduate earns perfect score on national board exam


MCC 2017 PTA Graduate Sarah Barbieri, left.  Dr. Tamra Coleman, right.
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For the second time this year, a Mohave Community College class of 2017 graduate earned a perfect score on a national board exam.

Sarah Barbaria scored 800 out of a possible 800 on the National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensure Examination.

“I think I was mostly stunned and in disbelief,” said Barbaria after she heard about her 100% result from MCC Instructor Dr. Tamra Coleman.  “Tami texted me and asked if I’d seen my results and if I had time to chat real quick. I was fearing the worst – that I had failed and needed to retake it.”

MCC 2017 PTA Graduate Sarah Barbieri, left.  Dr. Tamra Coleman, right.

MCC 2017 PTA Graduate Sarah Barbaria, left. Dr. Tamra Coleman, right.

Members of the MCC Board of Governors first heard about Barbaria’s perfect board exam score after the board members presented the MCC Award of Excellence to 2017 Medical Assisting Program Graduate Brandy Poe.  Poe received a 100% on the medical assisting national board exam.

“We will be handing out another award next month,” Dr. Michael Kearns told the Trustees.  “We just learned another MCC student has also achieved a perfect board exam score.”

Dr. Kearns said getting a perfect score on board exams is extremely difficult, and he related it to getting a perfect score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT.

“To have two students get perfect scores on two separate board exams is not only outstanding, it’s a testament to the quality of education our students are getting,” he said.

Barbaria said the exam was very tough, but she was ready for it thanks to what she learned from MCC Instructors Dr. Liz Briere and Dr. Coleman.

“We not only received a very thorough introduction to manual therapy, even more than some PT programs from what I’ve heard, but we were also given the skills to develop our clinical reasoning,” said Barbaria. “A few of the job interviews that I had were actually practical interviews that resembled our practical exams during the MCC program. “

MCC 2017 PTA Graduate Sarah Barbieri and friend.

MCC 2017 PTA Graduate Sarah Barbaria and friend.

Barbaria wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest after graduating from MCC.  She interviewed at four clinics and received job offers from all four.  She chose to start her new career at Falling Waters Injury and Health Management Center in Bend, Oregon.

Barbaria was valedictorian of her high school in Grass Valley, CA.  Before attending MCC she earned a bachelors from UC Santa Barbara and then worked as manager of an aquatics program.  

She also worked in a physical therapy office and said that is when she realized she wanted to be a PTA.  “I really enjoyed how the therapists were able to help their patients improve, but keep a fun and energetic atmosphere at the same time.”  She then applied to enter the PTA program at MCC.

The MCC Physical Therapist Assistant program is nationally accredited, has a fully equipped physical therapy lab and state of the art technology.

For more information call 1-866-MOHAVECC or chat online at  The college is now accepting and enrolling students for the spring semester, which begins on January 16, 2018.