Physical Therapist Assistant (TP)

(Effective Fall 2017)

The Physical Therapist Assistant program is intended to prepare students to provide physical therapy interventions 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.

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.

Recommended High School Subjects

A strong college preparatory program with an emphasis on math and science is recommended.  Students should complete a minimum of algebra and trigonometry, with geometry strongly recommended.  High school science coursework should include a biology course, and either physics or chemistry coursework with a lab component.  Students who do not meet these recommendations can work with a College adviser to prepare for the program. 

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.

Special Equipment Needs

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.

Remediation Strategies

All entering students will be tested for English, math and reading deficiencies.  Students must remediate all deficiencies prior to being eligible for selection into the Physical Therapy Assistant major.  Students who have more than one deficiency on placement testing should meet with the PTA Program Director to discuss a plan to complete developmental courses and pre-major requirements.

Transfer Procedures

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.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:
  • work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist in an ethical, legal, safe and professional manner;
  • implement a comprehensive treatment plan developed by a physical therapist promoting optimal outcomes for patients;
  • demonstrate effective oral, written and nonverbal communication in a culturally competent manner with patients and their families, colleagues, other health care providers and the public;
  • interact skillfully with patients from across the life span;
  • demonstrate a commitment to professional growth and lifelong learning to promote evidence-based practice; and
  • demonstrate the necessary information literacy skills to utilize available resources effectively and appropriately throughout their career.


Performance Standards

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.


First Semester Credits
FYE101 First Year Experience 1  
BIO115 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4  
ENL111 English Composition I 3  
MTR100 Medical Terminology Survey 1  
MPA Math Elective (153 or Higher) 3  
PSY111 General Psychology 3  
Second Semester Credits
BIO125 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4  
FIT Fitness and Lifetime Sports Elective 1  
PTA100 Introduction to Physical Therapy 3  
PTA120 Clinical Kinesiology 3  
PTA130 PT Procedures I 4  
Summer Session Credits
PTA210 Pathology for the PTA 2  
CSC124 Information, Technology, and Society 3  
PTA225 Physical Agents 4  
Third Semester Credits
PTA215 Level 1 Clinical Experience 2  
PTA220 Therapeutic Exercise 3  
PTA230 Clinical Neurology 4  
SPC201 Interpersonal Communication 3  
Fourth Semester Credits
PTA250 PT Procedures II 3  
PTA260 Rehabilitation 3  
PTA265 Orthopedics and Sports in PT 3  
PTA240 Ethics and Law for the PTA 2  
PTA245 PTA Professional Seminar 1  
Summer Session Credits
PTA270 Level 2A Clinical Experience 3  
PTA275 Level 2B Clinical Experience 3  

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.


The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Pennsylvania College of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 570-320-4439 or email


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