Darin Jernigan MS, DPT, WEMT Director Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Darin Jernigan MS, DPT, WEMT

Director Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Office: Owen-Redfield Complex 242

208- 282-4815


Professional Work Experience

  • Physical Therapist – 26 years
  • Seasonal Climbing Ranger Grand Teton National Park – 19 years
  • Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) – 18 years
  • Instructor, College of Technology PTA Program – 14 years

Career Highlights

  • Practiced Physical Therapy in 10 states
  • Completed a 30 day mountain patrol on Mt McKinley AK. stationed at the 14,000’ camp performing Search & Rescue for the National Park Service
  • Was awarded “Employee of the Year” for a fortune 500 rehabilitation company in the 1990’s
  • Graduated 14 PTA classes, and roughly 225 PTA graduates!

One of my Favorite Professional Experiences…

During my professional career, one of the most gratifying things I have experienced is being the recipient of the College of Technology (COT) Outstanding Achievement Award.  This award is based on the perceptions of students, fellow faculty, and administrators.  As a result of the award, I was asked to be one of the speakers for the 2012 COT graduation ceremony, which I must admit was an incredible honor and privilege.  It was apparent to me at that time that I had found my professional calling as a facilitator/mentor/synergist for my community, colleagues, and students.

Darin Jernigan Director Physical Therapist Assistant Program Rock Climbing

As an undergraduate student at ISU, I was greatly influenced by a professor in the Biology Department, Dr. Alex Urfer.  He was able to entice me to learn for the sake of learning itself.  He helped to guide me into a field of study that allowed me to become “internally motivated."  As an instructor, I aim to get students self-motivated to learn as well. I believe that self-motivation is best taught through the commitment, enthusiasm, and knowledge that teachers demonstrate to their students in the classroom and in life. 

There is also an intangible aspect to being a leader, or teacher, in enabling students to open their minds to the possibility of alternative truths, realities, and values.  I strive to have my students understand how limited we are as human beings by our own personal experience and how our personal experience has shaped our perception of the world in which we live.  I challenge my students to take off their “masks” and look at the world from a different perspective.  We inherently have a screen, or mask, that makes it difficult for us to see the world differently than being defined by our own experiences.  I hope to teach my students that they have the ability to accept and change their perspective on how they view others and the world in which they live.

My goal as an instructor is to have every one of my students have positive feelings about their experience in the PTA program and the classes I teach.  Following is a comment a student made about me in a previous course evaluation that concerned what they liked about the class: “The professor and his passion for Physical Therapy. Darin had the enthusiasm to be able to get all of us so excited for learning. He is the best professor that I have ever had.”  I hope you can say the same thing about me too, someday…


Dave Smith Health Occupations and Physical Therapist Assistant Instructor

Dave Smith MS, PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant Instructor

Office: Owen-Redfield Complex Room 330



Professional Work Experience

  • Physical Therapist Assistant – 10 years
    • University of Utah Medical Center
    • VA Medical Center
    • McKay-Dee Sports Medicine
  • Instructor, College of Technology – 1.5 years

Career Highlights

  • Provided physical therapy to our nation’s veterans for 6+ years
  • Found a way to exercise while I work (Physical Therapy)
  • Found a way to make money doing what I love (teaching)

One of my favorite professional experiences

While working at the VA Medical Center and the University of Utah Medical Center, I was fortunate enough to be involved in multiple groundbreaking research studies that would revolutionize health care and physical therapy as well as change the life of countless patients.


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