The Physical Therapist Assistant Program has two distinct phases: the preparation phase and the professional phase.
During the preparation phase, students can work toward their goal of being accepted into the PTA Program by completing several program requirements, including:
Once all the criteria are completed, the student applies for acceptance into the PTA Program during the designated application period. This phase may take one year or more depending on the student's scheduling of courses and required activities. Successful completion of the program criteria during this pre-application period does not guarantee admission to the PTA program. The PTA program is a limited-access/limited-quota/lock-step program. Each year, only a limited number of pre-PTA students are accepted from an applicant pool.
Those students who have completed the application process are in the professional phase. During the five semester program, all of the professional courses are offered. These courses include didactic (classroom) and clinical experiences.
During their last three semesters, students are scheduled for full-time internships in physical therapy departments throughout this region. The professional courses taken during this phase are non-transferable to the State University System.
Classes for the Professional Phase of the PTA Program begin in August.
Upon successful completion of this program, students are awarded an Associate in Science Degree for the Physical Therapist Assistant and are eligible to take the state licensure examination.
The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) American Physical Therapy Association granted the PTA Program accreditation status in May 1993. Accreditation was reaffirmed in March 1998 and October 2008, each for a period of 10 years.
For a full list of courses and requirements, please visit the PTA curriculum page.
The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a skilled technical health care worker who implements treatment programs under the direction and delegation of the Physical Therapist. Some duties of the PTA include reading patients' charts; transferring patients; applying physical agents such as heat, cold and electrical stimulation to specific muscles; instructing patients in functional skills; and observing and reporting changes in a patient's condition to the Physical Therapist.
Physical Therapist Assistants work in settings where Physical Therapists are employed. PTAs work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, private practices, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, school systems and other qualified agencies.