Department Chairperson - Dr. Emily Houseknecht
Consistent with the philosophy of the College, and the core values of physical therapy, the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) curriculum combines science and technical courses with the core courses to provide an education leading to the development of a competent and compassionate graduate.
The curriculum uses a variety of teaching and learning environments. Students are introduced to the importance of professional activities and lifelong learning through course content, assignments, availability of professional literature and exposure to academic and clinical faculty dedicated to the profession. The curriculum, although evolving and continually subject to revision, is designed to educate and graduate students possessing an understanding of, an appreciation for, and a competence in, the field of physical therapy and their role as physical therapist assistants.
Upon completion of the Associate of Science Degree Physical Therapist Assistant program, the graduate will:
- perform as a competent and skilled physical therapist assistant at the entry level, having an in-depth knowledge of the basic and clinical sciences, relative to patient/client management from the simplest to the most complex patient conditions;
- apply knowledge to prevent, correct and/or alleviate acute or prolonged movement dysfunctions;
- function in a clinical team atmosphere, appropriately referring patients/clients to other healthcare providers/agencies/ resources within the context of managed patient care;
- demonstrate awareness for the commitment to a pursuit of personal and professional development and growth, becoming lifelong learners seeking experiences necessary to remain current with changes in health care policy and patient care;
- demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant, Core Values, and Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy as a guide for practice;
- demonstrate advocacy skills for the professional and the consumer; and
- be eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination (NPTAE) to enable entry-level employment in the physical therapy field.
The Physical Therapist Assistant curriculum is designed to prepare successful graduates to pass the NPTAE and enter the work force as health care providers skilled to assist the physical therapist in the delivery of physical therapy services. State registration/certification requirements and Practice Acts vary and assistants must abide by the Practice Act in the state in which they wish to be employed.
The physical therapist and the physical therapist assistant work as a team, the assistant conducting treatments under the supervision of the therapist. Physical therapists establish plans of care which require the physical therapist assistant to utilize special equipment while conducting thermal, electrical, and mechanical treatments. Physical therapy plans often include exercise and functional training programs administered by the assistant. Assistants are responsible for reporting patient response to the physical therapist, documenting physical therapy interventions and performing selected measurements.
The curriculum is a combination of general study and technical courses. The technical or physical therapist assistant courses include both theoretical and laboratory instruction. Clinical education courses occur in a variety of health care settings.
Minimum Requirements for Eligibility for Admissions:
Note: Meeting minimum program requirements does not approve program entry.
- College Application.
- Completed work equal to standard high school course with a minimum of 16 units, including four units of English, three units of a social studies, two units of mathematics and two units of science with a related laboratory.
- One course in chemistry or physics, one course in algebra and one course in biology at either high school or college level with a minimum grade of “C.” Note: Higher grades in the sciences are indicative of success in the program and will be taken into consideration for admission purposes.
- Students transferring into the program from another major within the College, transferring from Pre-Physical Therapy Assistant (PTAP), or transferring in from another College must have a minimum of a 2.75 overall GPA, have completed BIOL 201 with a “C” or better and completed at least 6 credits successfully per semester enrolled.
- Students transferring into the program from a Physical Therapist Assistant or Doctor of Physical Therapy program at a different institution will be required to complete the physical therapist assistant specific course work at Mount Aloysius College, including clinical rotations, regardless of courses completed at another college. Students may transfer in general education and medical terminology credits.
Forms and information relevant to application are obtained from the Admissions Office. All admissions requirements standard to Mount Aloysius College apply to Physical Therapist Assistant candidates. Class enrollment is limited.
- All students must follow College policy regarding admission eligibility.
- Students must complete LIBA 150 and ENGL 110 with a “C” or higher in the first semester in the PTA program. In order to progress within the program these courses must be passed with a “C” or better. If a student earns less than a “C” in one of these two courses in the first semester in the PTA program he/she will be allowed to re-take the course. A second attempt with lower than a “C” will result in dismissal from the PTA program.
- Students must maintain an overall 2.00 GPA to remain in the PTA program. Students whose overall GPA falls below 2.00 will be dismissed from the PTA program. Re-admission to the program will be considered by the program director if the student raises the overall GPA above 2.00
- Students must achieve a “C” or better in all PTA specific courses, all science courses including BIOL 201 , BIOL 202 , BIOL 230 , and psychology courses PSYC 101 and PSYC 102 . A grade below “C” in any of these courses results in dismissal from the PTA program.
- Students must comply with all health requirements as outlined on the form.
- Health forms are obtained from the Health Services Department and returned to the Health Services Department where the results are kept confidential.
- Only one re-admission to the PTA Program is permitted. Re-admission is not assured and is on a space available basis after consultation with the program director.
- Students are required to complete summer clinical coursework.
- Students must provide their own transportation to clinical sites and are responsible for their own room and board during the course, if necessary.
- Students enrolled in the Physical Therapist Assistant curriculum may not be employed as a physical therapist assistant.
- Students that are attending a clinical have multiple requirements that need to be completed and submitted electronically. A clinical experience will not be permitted without a physical exam, titers to ensure immunity to Mumps, Rubella, Rubeola, and Varicella, immunization information for Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis, and Influenza, and a two- step Tuberculosis test. The Health Service Department assists students in creating an account and using a Certified Profile system to upload documentation for approval and tracking.
- Students are required to have a current clear urine drug screen, submit to a criminal record check, an FBI fingerprint record check and have a child abuse history clearance.
- Students in a Health Studies Division curriculum are assessed a one-time fee to cover incidental expenses connected with your program’s clinical education. One American Heart Association Healthcare Provider CPR certification (Adult, Child, Infant and AED), one urine drug screening, one criminal record check, one FBI fingerprint record check, and one child abuse clearance (if required) are included in the fee. If additional criminal record checks, child abuse clearances or urine drug screens are required, the student will be responsible for any additional costs associated with updating their requirements.
- Students are required to have and maintain a current American Heart Association Healthcare Provider CPR Certification (Adult, Child, Infant and AED) for the duration of their clinical experience.
Factors Considered in the Selection of Students
Motivation and Knowledge of the Field - The Admissions Committee believes that students who are knowledgeable about the field of Physical Therapy are more likely to take maximum advantage of the educational opportunities in physical therapist assistant school. Interest in and knowledge of the field may be evidenced by an applicant having taken advantage of all available opportunities for learning about physical therapy. A minimum of sixteen hours of observation/volunteer/actual work experience hours are required. Students are required to submit an essay conveying their knowledge of the field and the role of the Physical Therapist Assistant. Students are required to complete a “Requirements of a Candidate for Physical Therapy Assistant Student” form.
Acceptance into the Program
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program admits thirty (30) students annually to the Fall Semester. Those applicants who have met minimum acceptable requirements will be notified by the Office of Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions of their acceptance into the College. Final acceptance into the PTA program is contingent upon completion of all prerequisite courses, documentation of 16 hours of clinical observation; submission of an essay that conveys knowledge of the field; and evidence of an overall GPA of 2.75 or better, and completion of requirements noted above. Students transferring into the PTA program from another major within the College or transferring in from another college must meet all admission requirements and complete all required forms to be accepted for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Overall GPA and grades in science and Psychology courses will be taken into consideration for acceptance into the program.
Students who are dismissed from the PTA program or who withdraw from the program are eligible to apply for re-admission once. A letter of intent to apply for re-admission must be submitted to the program director. Applications for re-admission to the PTA program are considered on an individual basis. Students must meet all admission requirements including a 2.00 overall GPA and acceptance is contingent on space available. Re-admission to the PTA program is only allowed once.
The designation of PTAP curriculum in no way ensures entry to the PTA Program. Entry to the Program is on a space available basis and dependent on students meeting all requirements for admission as stated. Admission has to be approved by the Program Director. Students who are in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTAP) must meet the following criteria before being eligible to apply for entry to the PTA Program:
- Completion of algebra, chemistry or physics, and biology at high school or college level with a “C” or better. If an incoming student does not have the algebra or chemistry within the previous five years, the student will be required to complete MAT091: Basic Algebra and/or CHM095: Basic Lab Chemistry through NursingABC.com;
- Completion of at least 12 credits within one year at the College/ 6 credits per semester;
- Earned an overall GPA of 2.75 or better;
- Spaces available in the PTA program are limited. Selection of students is based on overall GPA at the end of the spring semester of the year applying to the program and the grades in science courses required for the program. Students should be aware that keeping their overall GPA as high as possible increases the possibility of selection to the program. An overall GPA of 2.75 is the minimum requirement for admission and does NOT indicate acceptance into the program.
- Consideration will be given to student’s academic progress and professional/ academic behavior in addition to GPA. For example, if a student is unable to meet the 2.75 GPA requirement due to needing to retake a PTA course in which they have previously received a “D” or “F” in, the Program Director will take into consideration grades in other courses taken since, attendance and behaviors in other courses, as well as the presence or absence of student warnings/referrals/alerts through the Academic Success Office.
- Completion of BIOL 201 with a “C” or better;
- Completion and submission to the program director of the General Requirements form, 16 hours of documented observation in physical therapy including at least 8 hours in an in-patient facility and 8 hours in an out-patient facility; and
- Students must meet with the Program Director to identify their wish to enter the program no later than the end of January of the year they wish to enter the PTA Program.
Physical Therapist Assistant to Bachelor’s Degree (2+2) Options: Biology with a Pre-Physical Therapy Specialization or Leadership in Healthcare
Mount Aloysius College offers two unique 2+2 options for students interested in physical therapy or business management. The first phase of both options is a 2 year (plus summer of second year) Physical Therapist Assistant associate’s degree. The PTA program is CAPTE accredited and prepares students for their national physical therapist assistant examination (NPTAE).
The second phase of the Biology with a Pre-Physical Therapy Specialization (2+2) option allows students to continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a Pre-Physical Therapy specialization from Mount Aloysius College. This degree path prepares the student to continue on to graduate school for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The DPT degree is typically a three-year degree earned at the professional school of the student’s choice. Advantages to the 2+2 pre-professional option include valuable academic and clinical experience to learn more about patient intervention options and supplemental income as a PTA. It is also possible to do the PTA or Biology Pre-PT degrees separately. Students interested in this option, will complete a total of 137-138 total credits by earning both the associate of science and Bachelor of Science degrees.
The second phase of the Leadership in Healthcare (2+2) option allows students to continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Leadership in Healthcare from Mount Aloysius College. This degree path provides the student with a background in business management and develops leadership skills while providing the framework to apply these principles to the healthcare field. Students interested in this option typically are looking to work in healthcare management or administration, open their own physical therapy clinic, or apply these skills to coaching in the future. This option requires students to complete 130 total credits by earning both the associate of science and Bachelor of Science degrees.