The Physical Therapist Assistant program is intended to prepare students for the practice of physical therapy under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Students will be prepared to perform select therapeutic interventions, assess patient response, document responses to interventions and make recommendations for modifications to ensure patient/client safety. Students will learn to provide care to people who have had strokes, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, orthopedic and sports injuries amongst others. They will be prepared to communicate with the supervising physical therapist, interact with patients, families and caregivers, and work collaboratively with other health care providers. Students will provide care in keeping with the ethical standards of the profession, to individuals of all ages with recognition of individual, cultural and economic differences. Health and wellness promotion as a component of injury and disease prevention will be incorporated. Students will participate in a student-led Physical Therapy Assistant organization for completion of a service project. Because of the advancements in medicine and in the physical therapy profession, students will be taught to appreciate the need for life-long learning for their own benefit as well as for the benefit of the profession.
About the curriculum
View the classes you will be attending in the College Catalog.
Physical Therapist Assistant graduates who choose to continue their education, can complete the Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Studies at Penn College. This degree offers enhanced career opportunities.
Employment settings for Physical Therapist Assistants are varied and include acute care hospitals, long term care facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, and outpatient orthopedic settings primarily. Job opportunities are present in urban and suburban settings, however are projected to be most favorable in rural settings like north central Pennsylvania and southern New York in coming years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $57,430 in May 2017. The top 10 percent earned more than $79,380.
Industries with the highest published employment for this occupation are:
|Industry||Employment||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Offices of Other Health Practitioners||41,780||$26.72||$55,570|
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||17,200||$26.48||$55,070|
|Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)||9,990||$31.54||$65,600|
|Home Health Care Services||7,870||$31.56||$65,640|
|Offices of Physicians||4,220||$25.59||$53,220|
Statistics reported in May 2017
Accreditation and Program Information
Effective July 22, 2016, Pennsylvania College of Technology has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: email@example.com). Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.
Implications of August Graduation
The physical therapist assistant program at Pennsylvania College of Technology is planning for a charter class graduation in August 2018. Initial accreditation decisions are acted upon at the next regularly scheduled Fall Meeting of the Commission following the on-site visit, which must occur during the penultimate term when the charter class is enrolled. CAPTE will not make exceptions to its rules to accommodate graduation dates that precede regularly scheduled CAPTE meeting dates, e.g., graduation in the summer. A summer graduation does not allow the initial accreditation decision to occur prior to the graduation date. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) sets the dates for licensing exams. The first sitting for students with an August graduation date would be in January. Therefore, the timing of the planned graduation date increases the likelihood of a significant financial disadvantage for students due to an approximate six-month delay in possible employment as a physical therapist assistant.
Special Admissions Requirements
Students who are accepted into the pre-major program will complete coursework that will meet general education requirements for the PTA major. Upon completion of this coursework, students who meet the qualifications for acceptance into the program will be ranked based on their performance in the pre-major coursework. The top 20 students in this ranking will be receive acceptance into the PTA program beginning in the Spring semester. For further details, please see the PTA Program Selective Admission Procedure.
Students enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant major must maintain a "C" or better in all of their major coursework. The following grading system will be used to assess performance within the major courses:
A = 93-100
B = 85-92
C = 75-84
F = below a 75% (student has not met minimum requirements)
Students who earn an "F" in any major course within the first technical semester will be placed back into the pre-major status and will have the opportunity to be selected back into the program in December. Students who earn an "F" in any 200 level major course will not be permitted to progress through the PTA curriculum until the deficiencies have been remediated and the student has earned a "C" grade or better. A student may continue to take non-PTA courses in the PTA curriculum.
Students with less than a 2.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation as stated in the College catalog. In order to be considered a candidate for graduation, the student must have an overall GPA of at least a 2.0.
Students requesting admission to the Physical Therapy Assistant program must provide course syllabi from related technical coursework to be reviewed by the Program Director for determination of acceptance. Transfer credit and advanced placement is evaluated by the Registrar's office. If students are transferring physical therapy specific courses, they must present a full course description and syllabi with course objectives to the Physical Therapy Assistant director, who will evaluate for equivalency to core-specific courses. Students wishing to transfer into the technical phase of the program will be assessed based on the same standards of those coming out of high school. Students must have achieved a minimum of a B in all prerequisite courses.
International health credentials/licensure, science courses, and most math courses will not be accepted to satisfy requirements of this major. Please see additional information for international students applying to Health Science majors.
Tools, Uniforms & Supplies
Students will be required to have access to a computer, but are not required to possess a laptop computer. Students will be required to purchase designated Penn College polo shirts and a name tag for use on clinical experiences. This will be at the discretion of the Clinical Director. Students will be required to purchase personal malpractice insurance prior to their first clinical experience. Students are responsible for the cost of all clearances and immunizations as will be noted on the website and consistent with other health science degrees. Students will be required to purchase a student membership to the APTA by the second spring semester of the program.
Some items are available for purchase through The College Store.
Clubs & Activities
Notice of Conviction
Child abuse clearance and criminal background checks are required by agencies involved in clinical education experiences. Agencies can bar students from their sties if a criminal record exists or a positive drug test is noted. By virtue of contract for Penn College students to be at clinical sites, drug testing is required for admission and students will be subject to random drug testing while in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program. The Pennsylvania State Board of Education and Licensure and APTA advise that a drug-related conviction and/or conviction of a felonious act may result in denial and/or revocation of a license to practice physical therapy. Inability to gain clinical education experiences results in inability to meet program objectives and outcomes, and will have a negative impact on a student's ability to progress through the curriculum. For additional clarification, students should speak with their program director.
Physical Therapist Assistant Advisory Committee
- Patrick J Barry, DPT, Director of Therapy Operations, Geisinger - Healthsouth LLC
- Ms. Ellen Detweiler, Physical Therapist, Susquehanna Health
- Ms. Kimberly L Dixon, MPT, Physical Therapist, Susquehanna Health System
- Ms. Boneita A Dodge, MPT, Staff Physical Therapist, Susquehanna Health
- Ms. Jodi Fletcher Stiner, MPT, GCS, Physical Therapist, Evangelical Community Hospital
- Mr. Castan Kiersch, MPT, Facility Director/Physical Therapist, PHOENIX Rehabilitation and Health Services, Inc.
- Dr. Mary Lazarski Stout, Owner/CEO, Central Penn Physical Therapy, Inc.
- Ms. Denise Lorson, PT, Supervisor, Therapeutic Services, The Children's Development Center
- Dr. Donald Shipe, Facility Director/Physical Therapist, PHOENIX Rehabilitation and Health Services, Inc.
- Dr. Kelli L Smith, Physical Therapist, Genesis Rehabilitation/Susquehanna Health/Muncy Valley
- Mr. Richard Smith, Physical Therapy Assistant, Sun Orthopedic Physical Therapy
- Ms. Sheryl E Snyder, Coordinator of Clinical Education, Susquehanna Health
- Ms. Terra Thompson, Physical Therapist Assistant, Cole Memorial Hospital
- Dr. Loragene Walker, Staff Physical Therapist, AdvantageCare Rehab - Susque-View
- Dr. Barry M Wrench, Facility Director/Physical Therapist, PHOENIX Rehabilitation & Health Services Inc.
Advisory committees, which act as recommending bodies to the faculty and administration, consist of in-field professionals who act as partners in the development of curriculum. Their curricular and equipment advice as well as their industry connections and internship opportunities are invaluable to our students and to the growth of our institution.