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Physical Therapist Assistant

If you're looking for a career that's physically active and allows you to help improve the quality of life for patients, this is an outstanding option. As a physical therapist assistant (PTA) you help people who have limited use of their bodies regain strength, balance, flexibility and mobility. Working under the supervision of a physical therapist, you perform various assessments, exercises and treatments. Your training will cover topics such as:

  • range of motion
  • ambulation and coordination
  • ultra sound and electrical stimulation
  • massage

Fast Facts

Twenty-three hours of general education coursework must be completed prior to admission to the program. PTA preparation itself consists of 43 hours of technical and clinical education courses. You'll also learn to collect data, assess the patient's safety and responses to intervention.

What is the Occupational Outlook?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment for PTAs is expected to grow 45 percent through 2020, much faster than the average for other occupations. As a PTA you may find employment in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, nursing homes, home health agencies, and sports and fitness facilities.*

To learn more about PT/PTA careers, visit http://www.apta.org/Careers/

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

Program Overview

*Note: You must download and install Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™ in order to view and print PDF documents.

Other Considerations

Licensure: National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) - Passing of the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) is required for licensure. In order to sit for the NPTE, students must graduate from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredited program and meet eligibility criteria designated by each state’s licensing authority. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) administers the NPTE.

Accreditation information: Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone 703-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Heartland Community College is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist assistant education program from CAPTE. The program will submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the technical phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in technical courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

HCC and the HCC PTA program are proceeding forward with a high intention and purpose for achieving candidacy and ultimately accreditation of the PTA program. The contingency plan for students in the event failure of candidacy or accreditation occurs includes:

  • Advising the students about the existence of accredited programs in Illinois and close to HCC
  • Assisting the students as much as feasibly possible in contacting and facilitating communication about the possibilities of transferring to an accredited program/advising the student regarding alternate carrier pathways that are supported by HCC

State Licensing Authority: Visit the FSBPT website for links to each state’s licensing website where eligibility criteria can be found. Applicants seeking licensure in the state of Illinois will need to answer a set of personal history, child support, and/or student loan information questions.

Contact Information: If you have any further questions, please contact:

Jane Miller PT, MHS
Instructor of Physical Therapist Assistant Program