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Heartland Community College's Physical Therapist Assistant program leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree in Physical Therapist Assistant. This degree includes general education courses, PTA technical courses and practical clinical experience.

As a selective admission program, the PTA program enrollment is limited to 16 students per year. Decision for admission is based on achievement of minimum academic criteria, residency and the quality of the applicant's credentials in relation to those of other applicants.

Prepare to Apply

Review Accreditation Information

Please review important accreditation information.

Meet with an Academic Advisor

Call or visit an academic advisor for assistance with course selection and the application process.

Review the Planning Guide

The application planning guide (PDF) provides an overview of the differences between a physical therapist and physical therapist assistant and offers suggestion for course selection.

Attend an Information Meeting

Visit the PTA department page for details about information meetings.

These meetings provide an overview of the admission process.

Review Other Program Requirements

Program requirements are listed in the PTA Program Handbook (PDF).

  • Essential functions (pg. 24). Applicants accepted to the program must be able to perform the essential functions of the program with or without reasonable accommodation. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services to discuss any concerns associated with the program.
  • Requirements to begin program after Notification of Acceptance (pg. 39)
  • Student criminal background check (pg. 43)
  • Student drug screen (pg. 45)
  • Requirements for clinical participation (pg. 122)

Review Licensure Considerations

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

Applicants seeking licensure in the state of Illinois will need to answer several licensure questions including personal history, child support and/or student loan information questions.

Review Program Cost

The cost sheet (PDF) was designed to provide information related to potential expenses incurred by the prospective student in the HCC PTA Program. The totals may vary depending on previous completion of general education courses, costs associated with immunizations and tests, if you have health insurance and if it covers the costs of health related testing and immunizations. The fees associated with a criminal background check and drug screening are estimates and are paid directly to the company performing the checks / screens. The NPTE exam fee and state license fee are for reference only and are not paid to Heartland Community College. If you elect to take the test and become licensed in a different state you would be responsible for determining those fees. Travel fees are related to clinical education and vary dependent on location (generally held to within 90 miles of HCC) and current fuel costs.

Review PTA Curriculum

  • General Education Courses
    General education courses must be completed prior to admission.
  • PTA Courses
    The PTA courses begin each spring for those applicants accepted into the program and can be completed in three semesters and one summer term. These courses are offered only at the Normal Campus during the day and must be taken in order as outlined in the Curriculum Sequence. Due to the rigor of the program, students are encouraged to keep work hours at a minimum, no more than 10 hours per week for full-time students.
  • Clinical Education Experiences
    Clinical experiences are completed off campus in various practice settings during the summer term and last spring semester. Hours vary and can include day/evening and/ or weekend hours. The majority of clinical sites are located within a 90 mile radius of the college. Students should expect one (1) site located outside the immediate Bloomington – Normal metro during their time in the program. Each student is responsible for the costs incurred during clinical education assignments.
Admission Requirements

PTA Admission Policy

PTA student admission procedures and practices adhere to applicable law, are nondiscriminatory, assure equal opportunity to all applicants and are consistent with the Heartland Community College Equal Opportunity Statement. The PTA program at Heartland Community College is a selective admission program.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program enrollment is limited to 16 students per year. Decision for admission is based on achievement of minimum academic criteria and the quality of the applicant's credentials in relation to those of other applicants.

Academic Requirements

  • All general education courses completed OR in progress during the fall semester of the application deadline.
  • Minimum grade of a 'C' in all general education courses AND a minimum GPA of 2.5 in these courses:
    • HLTH 225, BIOL 181 & 182, or equivalent, completed within the last five years.
  • Minimum comprehensive score of 59.4% on the ATI TEAS.
  • Residency
    • Applicants who are legal residents of Community College District #540 will be given preference for admission provided all admission criteria are met. Applicants will be required to show proof of residency (driver's license or state ID) as part of the application process, and students admitted to the program will be required to show proof of residency at the time of registration each term. Applicants who are granted the in-district tuition rate because they work in the district or have a parent or guardian who works in the district are not considered in-district applicants for selective admission programs. Applicants who attend other institutions of higher education within District 540 and live in college/university housing are not considered in-district applicants for selective admission programs.
    • Out-of-district applicants will be considered for admission after all qualified and eligible in-district applicants have been offered admission. Applicants with temporary visas will not be considered until all qualified and eligible in-district and out-of-district applicants have been offered admission.
    • Official definition of residency and description of District #540 boundaries are available in Enrollment Services.
How To Apply

Step 1. Apply to Heartland Community College

Step 2. Apply to the PTA Program. Application only available April 1-August 1**

  • Application Dates
    • Application open: April 1
    • Application due: August 1
    • Documentation due: September 1
  • Submit the following required documentation:
    • PTA Application (PDF)
    • Official copies of transcripts from colleges where general education courses were completed
    • Photocopy of driver's license or State ID
    • Midterm grades if enrolled in general education courses in the fall semester of application deadline (due October 25)

**Applications may be reopened at a later date if seats remain available.

Step 3. Take the ATI Test of Academic Skills (TEAS)
The ATI TEAS will be offered at Heartland Community College's Normal Campus:

  • A $55 fee must be paid at the time of testing.
  • To schedule the ATI TEAS test, please log into your myHeartland account, click on appointments, Allied Health, TEAS testing. Check your Heartland email for confirmation.
  • Study guides are available at and at the HCC Library.
  • Students may retake the ATI TEAS test one time within the application period at HCC (April - September). The highest grade within the application period will be used for evaluation.
  • ATI TEAS comprehensive score of 59.4% or greater is required for admission into the PTA program.

Transfer Students

Students with credits from another physical therapist assistant program may apply. PTA credits will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis. All other credits are subject to Heartland Community College's transfer policy. Transfers will be admitted as space permits, after regular admission and re-entry students. The following materials must be submitted:

  • Letter requesting transfer into the HCC PTA program
  • Heartland Community College application for admission
  • Official copies of all college and PTA school transcripts
  • Syllabus and detailed content outline of each PTA course completed with a 'C' or better

Re-entry Students

Please see HCC PTA Program Handbook (PDF) for readmission and re-entry criteria.

How are Applicants Selected
Eligible applicants will be evaluated and placed in ranked order based on the following selection criteria and weighting.
Weighting Criteria
65% Normalized GPA on general education courses [(Pre-admission GPA / 4.0) X 100]
30% ATI TEAS Score
5% Prior Academic Achievement
  • Master Degree or higher (100), OR
  • Bachelor Degree (75), OR
  • Associate Degree (50), OR
  • College Certificate in CNA, EMT, Massage Therapy (25), OR
  • If none of the above (0)
[Normalized GPA] X 65% + [ATI TEAS Score] X 30% + [Prior Achievement] 5% = SCORE

In case of a tie, the applicant with the highest GPA in the general education courses will be given priority.

Notification of Acceptance

The top-ranked 16 applicants from the application cycle will be offered seats.

Applicants will be notified of their status regarding admission via their Heartland email by November 15.

Applicants not accepted during an application cycle will need to submit a new application for the PTA program during a subsequent application cycle. Applications and waiting lists are not maintained from year to year.

Applicants that are offered a seat in the program must meet the following requirements prior to official acceptance into the program. Please refer to the PTA Program Handbook (PDF).

  • Complete currently enrolled pre-admission courses with a 'C' or greater AND a GPA of 2.5 in the pre-admission courses
  • Attend Orientation
  • Submit to a criminal background check and drug testing and disclose any previous criminal convictions (pg. 43 - 47)
  • Fulfill all clinical education requirements (pg. 53)
  • Satisfy all financial obligations to the college

Physical Therapist Assistant Questions

Contact the PTA Department

Physical Therapist Assistant Update