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Physical Therapist Assistant

AWARD OFFERED Associate in Applied Science Degree

Admission Requirements and Curriculum
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What is PTA
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About the Program

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a skilled technical health care worker who assists the physical therapist in providing services that help improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Patients include accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions such as low-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.

Duties of the physical therapist assistant are varied but include rehabilitation of orthopedic, neurological, pediatric, and sports-related problems. Once a patient is evaluated and a treatment plan is designed by the physical therapist, the physical therapist assistant can provide many aspects of treatment, as prescribed by the physical therapist. Components of treatment procedures performed by these workers involve exercise, massage, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold packs, traction, and ultrasound. The physical therapist assistant is responsible for reporting patient responses and treatment outcomes to the physical therapist. Physical therapist assistants are employed in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health care agencies, private practices, and other specialized health care settings.

Career Outlook

Employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations through the year 2022. The demand for physical therapist assistants will continue to rise, in accordance with the increasing number of individuals with disabilities or limited function. The growing elderly population is particularly vulnerable to chronic and debilitating conditions that require therapeutic services, making the role of the PT/PTA team vital. In addition, future medical developments should permit an increased percentage of trauma victims to survive, creating added demand for therapy services. Physical therapists are expected to increasingly utilize assistants to reduce the cost of physical therapy services.

Median annual earnings of physical therapist assistants were $52,160 in May 2012, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $72,720. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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Sample Plan of Study (see current catalog for additional details)

AAS Physical Therapist Assistant

1st Semester
1 ORI 110 Freshman Seminar
3 ENG 101 English Composition I
3 PSY 200 General Psychology
4 BIO 201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I**
3 MTH 100 Intermediate College Algebra
3 PHL 206 Ethics and Society (or HUM 101)
17 Total Hours

2nd Semester
3 SPH 106 Fundamentals of Oral Communication
3 PSY 210 Human Growth and Development
4 BIO 202 Human Anatomy and Physiology I**
3 HIT 110 Medical Terminology***
3 PTA 120 Introduction to Kinesiology****
16 Total Hours

3rd Semester-Fall Semester ONLY
2 PTA 200 PT Issues and Trends
2 PTA 202 PTA Communication Skills
3 PTA 220 Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology
2 PTA 222 Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology Lab
2 PTA 240 Physical Disabilities
4 PTA 250 Therapeutic Procedures I
1 PTA 258 Introduction to the Clinical Environment
1 PTA 260 Clinical Education I
17 Total Hours

4th Semester-Sping Semester ONLY
2 PTA 230 Neuroscience
2 PTA 231 Rehabilitation Techniques
2 PTA 232 Orthopedics for the PTA
2 PTA 241 Physical Disabilities II
4 PTA 251 Therapeutic Procedures II
2 PTA 266 Clinical Field Work I
1 PTA 290 Therapeutic Exercise
15 Total Hours

5th Semester-Summer Semester ONLY
2 PTA 201 PTA Seminar
5 PTA 268 Clinical Practicum
7 Total Hours

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