Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate Degree

Overview

The Physical Therapist Assistant is a skilled technical health care worker who carries out patient treatment programs under the supervision of a Physical Therapist. The assistant works to relieve pain and/or increase function in patients via therapeutic application of heat, cold, light, water, electricity, sound, massage, exercise, gait, and functional activity.

This page outlines the School of Health Care's PTA degree track, constituting both the general course pre-requisites as well as the Major Course Requirements (technical portion) of the Physical Therapist Assistant program. All pre-requisites must be completed prior to a student being considered for an interview into the technical portion of the PTA Program.

The Physical Therapist Assistant curriculum is configured sequentially to allow the student to complete the general education courses in a flexible format. During this time, the student can complete not only the academic requirements needed for the associate degree but can also complete the observation requirements and all necessary documentation required prior to applying for the technical portion of the degree. Movement into the technical portion is dependent on the successful completion of the pre-requisite coursework as well as the additional specific admissions requirements found below.

Educational clinical experience is provided in a variety of settings including, but not limited to: hospitals, rehabilitation agencies, schools, private offices, and long-term care facilities.

Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Midlands Technical College is accredited by: 
CAPTE

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
3030 Potomac Avenue, Suite 100
Alexandra, VA 22305-3085
Telephone: 703.706.3245
Email: accreditation@apta.org
Website: www.capteonline.org​

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 803.822.3337 or email pta@midlandstech.edu.

PTA Learning Experiences

To enhance student learning, the Physical Therapist Assistant Degree Program utilizes dedicated classroom and laboratory space within Lexington Hall, on the Airport Campus. Student preclinical experience in the physical therapy skills labs allows students to attain competency prior to progression into the required clinical rotations (externships/internships). Clinical experiences are arranged through affiliations with local physical therapy practices and other healthcare facilities.​

Click to here view the MTC PTA Clinic Manual

Information Sessions

Mandatory PTA Program Sessions – PTA program information sessions are held virtually on the first Wednesday of the month from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Please email the program at pta@midlandstech.edu for details and the meeting link.

Information sessions will not be held in the month of January, if the first Wednesday of the month is a holiday, or during the month following the close of the application cycle. Attendance of at least one session is mandatory and must be completed prior to submitting an application for consideration of acceptance into the technical portion of the PTA Program. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the profession and the program, including admission requirements, meet the faculty, and see the facilities. Preregistration for information sessions is not required. Attendance will be recorded, so be sure to sign in.

Specific Admission Requirements to the Physical Therapist Assistant program

Prior to being considered for acceptance into the PTA Program all prospective students will need to:

  • Apply and be accepted to MTC. This includes having all previous college and/or high school transcripts submitted and assessed by the college.
  • Attend an advisory appointment with your assigned School of Health Care advisor. This meeting will highlight the details and requirements for admittance into the PTA Program.
  • Attend at least one mandatory PTA Program information session (see above).
  • Complete 20 or more hours of recent (within the past 2 years) clinical Physical Therapy observation experiences, 10 hours should be in an acute care hospital setting with 10 additional hours attained in another type of PT setting(s).
    • Proof of observation attendance is to be recorded on the MTC PTA Program observation evaluation forms. These forms must be picked up in person and directly from the PTA program.
  • Write a 2-3 page self-reflection of experience summary paper about your observation experiences.

The above items need to be completed prior to submittal of the PTA Program application.

  • Submit all required application materials by the due date published on the program website.
  • Complete all pre-requisite courses with adherence to the Health Sciences “Course Repeat Policy” and “Course Acceptance Timeframe Policy.”
    • All pre-requisite courses must be successfully completed by the end of the spring semester of the application / intended acceptance year and must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher (calculated using only the pre-requisite courses as outlined in the “Program Plan” below).
  • Successfully interview with the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Admissions Committee.
    • A student will only be considered for an offer of interview after the student has successfully completed all prerequisite courses and all required application materials are properly submitted.
    • Please prepare ahead for an interview that has been offered. Students that fail to progress into the technical portion due to a poor interview will not be permitted to apply again.

Only after a student is accepted into the PTA Program’s technical portion do the following items need to be completed prior to the Fall Term start date:

  • Have an acceptable criminal background check and drug screening results.
  • Be certified in First-Aid and CPR (BLS/AED) for the Health Care Provider.
  • Have proof that all School of Health Care and PTA Program vaccination requirements/records are up to date.
  • Meet, at a minimum, the Essential Functions and Technical Standards requirements.

Essential Functions and Technical Standards

The following standards reflect reasonable expectations of a student in the PTA Program for the performance of common physical therapy functions. In adopting these standards, the PTA Program is mindful of the patient’s right to safe and quality treatment by a skilled PTA. These skills are necessary for the PTA to function in a broad variety of clinical situations while providing the spectrum of physical therapy interventions. These standards generally reflect what may be required for the employment of the graduate PTA. Upon admission, to verify that a student has the ability to perform these essential functions, students may be required to demonstrate the following technical standards:

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving Skills

Definition: Ability to collect, interpret and integrate information and make decisions.

Standard (examples are not all-inclusive):

  • Collect, interpret and integrate information and make decisions.
  • Read and comprehend relevant information in textbooks, medical records, and professional literature.
  • Identify cause/effect relationships in the provision of health care.
  • Identify patient problems and adjust patient goals and interventions appropriately within the health care team plan of care.
  • Respond calmly and effectively to emergencies.
  • Know when and how to apply universal precautions.
  • Use effective teaching, learning, and test-taking strategies.
Interpersonal Skills

Definition: Ability to collaboratively work with all PTA students and with program faculty in the classroom, lab, and clinical setting.

Standard (examples are not all-inclusive):

  • Work collaboratively with all PTA students, faculty and staff, clinicians and patients in the classroom, lab, and clinical settings.
  • Embody the spirit of cooperation and collegiality, employing basic conflict management skills as situations require.
  • Establish positive and supportive rapport with patients/clients and colleagues.
  • Participate in all lab situations to experience both clinician and patient roles, receiving and communicating empathy.
  • Establish positive, supportive, effective and harmonious relationships in diverse settings, with diverse patient/clients and colleagues.
Behavioral/Emotional/ Social Coping Skills

Definition: Ability to respond appropriately to stressful environments or during impending deadlines.

Standard (examples are not all-inclusive):

  • Display maturity, good judgment, sensitivity, and emotional stability when in academic and professional settings.
  • Manage heavy academic schedules and deadlines.
  • Concentrate on professional duties without distraction in all settings.
  • Set priorities and perform all aspects of therapy services in fast-paced academic and clinical situations.
  • Cope effectively with psychosocial issues involving illness, disability, and death without hindering the effective performance of duties.
  • Work collaboratively with all PTA students, faculty and staff, clinicians and patients in the classroom, lab, and clinical settings.
Communication Skills

Definition: Ability to communicate effectively in English using verbal, nonverbal and written formats with faculty, other students, patients, families, and health care workers.

Standard (examples are not all-inclusive):

  • Communicate effectively in English using verbal, non-verbal and written formats with faculty, other students, patients, families, and health care workers.
  • Describe and teach physical therapy procedures in both oral and written format.
  • Give directions to patients and family members.
  • Answer questions to the satisfaction of patients, co-workers, physicians, and other health care providers.
  • Keep accurate logs and records of treatment procedures and charges using appropriate medical terminology, correct spelling and grammar?
  • Demonstrate active listening skills. Recognize, interpret and respond to non-verbal behavior of self and others.
Physical Mobility/Motor Skills

Definition: Sufficient motor ability to execute the movement and skills required for safe and effective physical therapy treatment.

Standard (examples are not all-inclusive):

  • Execute the movement and skills required for safe and effective physical therapy treatment.
  • Demonstrate adequate coordination, balance, speed, and agility to assist and safely manage patients who are walking on level and unlevel terrain to include: stairs, ramps, grass/gravel, curbs, and diverse home flooring.
  • Demonstrate and perform exercise programs and functional activities required of established patient care interventions without injuring self or others.
  • Move, adjust and position patients or equipment which involves bending, stooping freely to the floor, reaching overhead, lifting, pulling or guiding a weight of 200-250 pounds.
  • Provide emergency care and administer CPR.
  • Stand, kneel, sit, walk or crawl for 90 minutes without rest.
  • Perform transfer and gait training techniques using correct and safe body mechanics.
  • Manipulate with sufficient dexterity bi-manually the devices used in physical therapy, such as adjusting gauges, dials with one hand while moving thermal/electric devices with the other hand.
  • Manipulate small nuts/bolts, and therapy equipment settings with sufficient hand strength and dexterity.
Sensory Abilities

Definition: Sufficient auditory, visual and tactile ability to monitor and assess health needs.

Standard (examples are not all-inclusive):

  • Monitor and assess patient’s health needs with sufficient auditory, visual and tactile acuity.
  • Visual – (corrected as necessary) recognize and interpret facial expressions and body language and patient posture, identify normal and abnormal patterns of movement, discriminate color changes and interpret and assess the environment up to 20 feet; read or set parameters on physical therapy equipment.
  • Auditory – (corrected as necessary) recognize and respond to soft voices or voices under protective garb, auditory timers, equipment/emergency alarms, and effectively use devices for the measurement of vital signs and breath sounds. Be able to hear patients and respond to patient critical needs when not in direct line of sight.
  • Tactile –palpate a pulse and detect changes or abnormalities of surface texture, skin temperature, body segment contour, muscle tone, and joint movement.
Professionalism

Definition: Ability to demonstrate professional behaviors and a strong work ethic.

Standard (examples are not all-inclusive):

  • Demonstrate unselfish, honest, moral and ethical behavior in all academic and professional settings.
  • Take initiative; be creative, prepared, flexible, enthusiastic, cooperative, tolerant, respectful of authority, and industrious in all academic, clinical and professional settings.
  • Demonstrate time management skills that promote punctual attendance to class, labs, and clinics as required.
  • Demonstrate a work ethic consistent with professional standards.
  • Recognize personal limitations and request assistance as appropriate.
  • Demonstrate responsibility for personal and professional development.
  • Demonstrate respect for the patient, other health care providers and the profession of physical therapy.
  • Maintain confidences.
  • Present a professional appearance and maintain personal hygiene.

Adapted from the Red Alert: The Americans with Disabilities Act - Implications for Nursing Education (March '93)

Application Process

The application cycle for the Fall 2022 incoming cohort is now open. This is an online application process that can only be accessed through a dedicated link supplied to you during an advising appointment. For those wanting to be considered during this application cycle, please contact your MTC advisor to set up an appointment and verify that you are on track and ready to apply and, if so, to gain access to the online application. Be prepared to upload all required documents as are indicated on the application prior to submittal; missing documents will be considered an incomplete application and therefore not be accepted.
 
This current application cycle will close on March 31, 2022, with offers of interview going out to qualified students over the following few weeks. Once closed, no late applications will be accepted or considered; please plan accordingly.

Progression

No more than two prerequisite courses may be unsuccessfully attempted (requiring repeating) and no single course may be unsuccessfully attempted and repeated more than once. The repeat policy is collectively applied to coursework taken at MTC and/or other colleges.

After program acceptance and matriculation, all technical portion (PTH prefixed) courses of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program are sequentially dependent and must be successfully completed with a “C” or higher in order to progress further within the curriculum.

Please view our program statistics. 

Readmission

Physical Therapist Assistant Program technical portion students who chose to withdraw OR who are unable to continue due to grade deficiency must (re)apply for program readmission consideration. Readmission is not guaranteed and is dependent on a space-available basis. Students may re-enter the program only once and must repeat, complete, and pass all Physical Therapist Assistant Program technical coursework to be eligible for graduation and licensure consideration.

How to Enroll

To pursue this degree, you must apply to MTC using our online application.

Apply Now

Questions?

Print Plan

Sample Program Plan and Costs

On-Campus Traditional. Classes meet on campus.
Virtual 100% online. Meets with a live instructor and classmates on specific days, at specific times. Uses web conferencing software, like Zoom.
Hybrid Some classes on campus. Some classes online or virtual.
Online 100% online. Due dates for projects and assignments. Self-paced work on your time.
Semester Course ID Course Title Classroom Online Hybrid Virtual Credits
Semester 1
(14 Credit Hours)
COL-106 Skills for College Success

Skills for College Success

ID: COL-106

Credit Hours: 1

This course is designed to enhance the skills of entering freshmen to facilitate their ability to succeed in the college environment. The course topics include student/instructor expectations, time management, library/computer orientation, listening/note-taking, studying for success, learning styles/personality types, and diversity and differences on campus.

1
ENG-101 English Comp I

English Comp I

ID: ENG-101

Credit Hours: 3

This is a (college transfer) course in which the following topics are presented: a study of composition in conjunction with appropriate literary selections, with frequent theme assignments to reinforce effective writing. A review of standard usage and the basic techniques of research are also presented.

3
PSY-201 General Psychology

General Psychology

ID: PSY-201

Credit Hours: 3

This course includes the following topics and concepts in the science of behavior: scientific method, biological bases for behavior, perception, motivation, learning memory, development, personality, abnormal behavior, therapeutic techniques, and social psychology.

3
BIO-210 Anatomy and Physiology I

Anatomy and Physiology I

ID: BIO-210

Credit Hours: 4

This is the first in a sequence of courses, including an intensive coverage of the body as an integrated whole. All body systems are studied. Emphasis is placed on the manner in which systems interact to maintain homeostasis. The study includes general chemistry principles, biochemistry, cells and tissues and the following systems will be covered: integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous and special senses.

4
PHI-115 Contemporary Moral Issues

Contemporary Moral Issues

ID: PHI-115

Credit Hours: 3

This course examines moral issues in contemporary society, including basic principles and applications of ethics.

3
Semester 2
(13 Credit Hours)
MAT-120 Probability and Statistics

Probability and Statistics

ID: MAT-120

Credit Hours: 3

This course includes the following topics: introductory probability and statistics, including organization of data, sample space concepts, random variables, counting problems, binomial and normal distributions, central limit theorem, confidence intervals,and test hypothesis for large and small samples; types I and II errors; linear regression; and correlation. (Graphic calculator required)

3
BIO-211 Anatomy and Physiology II

Anatomy and Physiology II

ID: BIO-211

Credit Hours: 4

This is a continuation of a sequence of courses, including intensive coverage of the body as an integrated whole. All body systems are studied. Emplasis is placed on the manner in which systems interact to maintain homeostasis. The following systems will be covered: endocrine, lymphatic, immune, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive.

4
SPC-205 Public Speaking

Public Speaking

ID: SPC-205

Credit Hours: 3

This course is an introduction to principles of public speaking with application of speaking skills. Students entering this course must be able to communicate clearly with American speakers of English.

3
AHS-102 Medical Terminology

Medical Terminology

ID: AHS-102

Credit Hours: 3

This course covers medical terms, including roots, prefixes, and suffixes, with emphasis on spelling, definition, and pronunciation.

3
Semester 3
(7 Credit Hours)
PTH-101 Physical Therapy Profes Preparation

Physical Therapy Profes Preparation

ID: PTH-101

Credit Hours: 2

This course introduces the purpose, philosophy and history of physical therapy and medical/legal documentation.

2
PTH-204 Physical Therapy Functional Anatomy and Application.

Physical Therapy Functional Anatomy and Application.

ID: PTH-204

Credit Hours: 5

The course introduces the basic concepts and principles of muscles, joints and motion. Emphasis is placed on the development of competence in goniometry, manual muscle testing, and traditional testing necessary to plan for patient treatment.

5
Semester 4
(12 Credit Hours)
PTH-202 Physical Therapy Modalities

Physical Therapy Modalities

ID: PTH-202

Credit Hours: 4

This course introduces patient care techniques, including patient preparation and therapeutic hot/cold modalities.

4
PTH-206 Therapeutic Procedures

Therapeutic Procedures

ID: PTH-206

Credit Hours: 2

This course introduces the rationale and skills for patient therapeutic procedures, including basic exercises, gait training and other skills necessary to patient treatment.

2
PTH-221 Pathology I

Pathology I

ID: PTH-221

Credit Hours: 2

This course is an introduction to basic pathophysiology of the body with the emphasis on the body's reaction to disease and injury.

2
PTH-222 Pathology II

Pathology II

ID: PTH-222

Credit Hours: 2

This course is a continuation of the pathologies commonly treated in physical therapy with emphasis on etiology, clinical picture, diagnosis and treatment.

2
PTH-225 Electrotherapy

Electrotherapy

ID: PTH-225

Credit Hours: 2

This course provides a study of the rationale, contraindications, and application techniques of various electrical equipment.

2
Semester 5
(9 Credit Hours)
PTH-252 Clinical Practice I

Clinical Practice I

ID: PTH-252

Credit Hours: 2

This course introduces the elementary clinical procedures involved in the patient care setting.

2
PTH-226 Therapeutic Exercises

Therapeutic Exercises

ID: PTH-226

Credit Hours: 3

This course provides a study of the rationale, contraindications and exercise skills needed to develop appropriate exercise programs.

3
PTH-244 Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation

ID: PTH-244

Credit Hours: 4

This course introduces neurological principles, pathology, and specialized rehabilitation techniques for pediatric and adult care.

4
Semester 6
(15 Credit Hours)
PTH-253 Clinical Practice II

Clinical Practice II

ID: PTH-253

Credit Hours: 3

This course involves the student's participation in the basic treatment techniques of physical therapy, intensified in both the clinic and classroom setting.

3
PTH-266 Physical Therapy Practicum I

Physical Therapy Practicum I

ID: PTH-266

Credit Hours: 6

This course includes patient treatments under the direct supervision of a registered physical therapist and/or a registered physical therapist assistant.

6
PTH-276 Physical Therapy Practicum II

Physical Therapy Practicum II

ID: PTH-276

Credit Hours: 6

This course includes a practicum experience in a clinical setting using advanced skills under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist and/or a licensed physical therapist assistant.

6
  Total Credit Hours 70
  Estimated Cost
Financial Aid
$13,160.00
Not including fees and equipment

Careers

Physical Therapist Assistant

The Physical Therapist Assistant is a skilled technical health care worker who carries out patient treatment programs under the supervision of a Physical Therapist. The assistant works to relieve pain and/or increase function in patients via therapeutic application of heat, cold, light, water, electricity, sound, massage, exercise, gait, and functional activity.

Projected Job Growth

+13%

Average Annual Salary

$54,869
According to EMSI data as of 2018

Where Can I Work?

  • Hospitals
  • Veterans Affairs Health System
  • Medical Clinics
  • Long-term Care Facilities
  • Nursing Home Facilities
  • Home Health Organizations

What’s next after I complete this program?

Enter the Workforce

After graduating from this CAPTE-accredited PTA program and passing of the National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensing Board Exam, students can enter the workforce as a licensed PTA. There are numerous and varied clinical settings for PTAs, ranging across the spectrum of patient function as well as throughout the lifespan. The potential for career growth is dependent on employee drive and company availability.

Want more information?

Academic programs count as academic credit for a certificate, diploma or degree and may transfer toward future academic endeavors at four-year colleges and universities.
Training programs can be completed in a matter of weeks or months, are focused on career training, and provide credentials and certificates needed in the specific fields of study. Coursework does not transfer.
Not sure: Check out these resources to explore what fits your goals.

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