Physical Therapist Assistant Career Program A.S.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN A DYNAMIC CAREER IN HEALTH CARE?
DO YOU LIKE THE IDEA OF HELPING PEOPLE RECOVER FROM INJURY AND ILLNESS?

A CAREER AS A PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT MAY BE FOR YOU!

Mission

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at Norwalk Community College exists to fill an increasing need in southwest Fairfield County for highly qualified, entry-level PTAs. By providing a solid foundational and program curriculum, the program endeavors to be a leader and partner in the surrounding community, which is in keeping with the mission of the institution. Graduates of the program are compassionate, culturally competent, life-long learners who communicate appropriately with patients/clients, caregivers and other healthcare providers to provide safe, ethical, efficient and effective interventions with competent education methods to the populations that they serve.

Application Information

Applications are available each year starting February 1st (or the first business day thereafter) and are due June 1st (or the first business day thereafter) for admission in the fall semester.  Please first check that you have met all the admissions requirements.  If you are ready to apply this year, simply pick up an application from the door of the PTA office suite (W003), or in the Allied Health Office (H113).  Or, you may request that one is mailed to you by contacting us.

So, what is a physical therapist assistant?

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs help people of all ages who have medical problems, or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Care provided by a PTA may include teaching patients/clients exercise for mobility, strength and coordination, training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers, massage, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.

What is the difference between a physical therapist (PT) and a physical therapist assistant (PTA)?

PHYSICAL THERAPIST (PT)
PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT (PTA)
EDUCATION
All PT programs in the U.S. require students to earn a Doctorate degree All PTA programs in the U.S. are at the associate degree level
ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS
PT programs generally require a bachelor’s degree PTA programs require a high school diploma
LENGTH OF TIME IN SCHOOL
up to 8 years 2 years
PRACTICE DIFFERENCES
PTs perform patient/client evaluations and set up treatment plans. PTAs do not perform evaluations and there are certain skills that are considered “PT only.” PTAs work under the direction and supervision of a PT.

Contact us today to discuss your career path in the physical therapy profession.

Will my PTA credits transfer to a PT school?

Courses from an associate level PTA degree do not typically transfer to a graduate level PT program, however, general education courses, such as math and English will count toward the bachelor’s degree required for admission to a PT program.  PTA/technical education courses may transfer to a four-year school as electives.  Check with the school you plan to attend for details.

PTAs who go on to PT school have the advantage of vast background knowledge in physical therapy, as well as the ability to work a flexible schedule for high pay while attending school.  There are two programs in the country that specifically designed for PTAs wishing to become PTs.  Information for those Bridge programs can be found on the American Physical Therapy Association’s website.

Are there other careers I can consider?

In addition to physical therapy, consider these other careers in the Allied Health field:

  • Exercise Science*
  • Medical Assistant *
  • Nursing *
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Respiratory Therapy *
  • Speech Therapy

*available at Norwalk Community College

Program Description

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program1 is designed to provide fundamental and theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills to prepare the student to assume the role of the PTA. This program prepares the student to be a paraprofessional to work under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist providing physical therapy interventions and associated data collection techniques, such as therapeutic exercise, physical modalities and other specialized clinical skills needed in a rehabilitation setting.

Graduates are eligible to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Graduates who pass this exam are eligible for licensure in the State of Connecticut and elsewhere.

1The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Norwalk Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (203) 857-7198 or email jbresnick@norwalk.edu.

Admissions Policy

The PTA program will have competitive admissions and requirements to which all students must adhere. Applicants must achieve a composite ATI-TEAS test score of 50% or higher.

Program Outcomes

To provide quality instruction that prepares highly qualified entry level PTAs who:

  1. Apply clinical concepts to deliver safe, appropriate and effective physical therapy interventions and associated data collection to patients throughout the lifespan in a variety of settings;
  2. Integrate appropriate communication strategies to effectively interact with and educate patients/clients, caregivers, health care providers, third-party payers and the general population;
  3. Apply strategies to effect continuous improvement of the physical therapy profession;
  4. Utilize human, fiscal and systems resources appropriately to provide efficient, ethical physical therapy services;
  5. Display professionalism, accountability, integrity and cultural competence in all of the duties associated with being a PTA; and
  6. Display compassion, caring, altruism and social responsibility, not only as a PTA, but as citizens of the community.
 Requirements (68 Credits)
 College Core Requirements (29 Credits)
 ENG 101 Composition 3 credits
 ENG 102 Literature and Composition 3 credits
 COM 173 Public Speaking 3 credits
 CSA 105 Introduction to Software Applications 3 credits
 PSY 111 General Psychology I 3 credits
 BIO 211 Anatomy and Physiology I 4 credits
 BIO 212 Anatomy and Physiology II 4 credits
 MAT 172 College Algebra 3 credits OR  MAT 201 Statistics 3 credits
 IDS 210 Humanities: The Creative Voice 3 credits OR IDS 230 Liberal Arts / Humanities: Great Books 3 credits
 Major Requirements (39 Credits)
 PTA 120 Introduction to Physical Therapy 3 credits
 PTA 125 Physical Therapy for Function 4 credits
 PTA 230 Physical Agents in Physical Therapy 4 credits
 PTA 235 Kinesiology for Rehabilitation 4 credits
 PTA 250 Therapeutic Exercise 5 credits
 PTA 253 Pathophysiology for Rehabilitation 3 credits
 PTA 258 PTA in the Healthcare Arena 2 credits
 PTA 259 Clinical Experience Orientation 1 credit
 PTA 261 PTA Internship I 3 credits (120 hours)
 PTA 262 PTA Internship II 5 credits (280 hours)
 PTA 265 PTA Internship III 5 credits (280 hours)
 Recommended Sequence of Study
 Prerequisite
 BIO 211 Anatomy and Physiology I 4 credits
 Fall Session 1
 ENG 101 Composition 3 credits
 BIO 212 Anatomy and Physiology II 4 credits
 CSA 105 Introduction to Software Applications 3 credits
 PTA 120 Introduction to Physical Therapy 3 credits
 PTA 125 Physical Therapy for Function 4 credits
 Spring Session 1
 ENG 102 Literature and Composition 3 credits
 PSY 111 General Psychology I 3 credits
 PTA 235 Kinesiology for Rehabilitation 4 credits
 PTA 253 Pathophysiology for Rehabilitation 3 credits
 MAT 172 College Algebra 3 credits OR MAT 201 Statistics 3 credits
 Summer Session
 PTA 259 Clinical Experience Orientation 1 credit
 Fall Session 2
 COM 173 Public Speaking 3 credits
 PTA 230 Physical Agents in Physical Therapy 4 credits
 PTA 250 Therapeutic Exercise 5 credits
 PTA 261 PTA Internship I 3 credits (120 hours)
 IDS 210 Humanities: The Creative Voice 3 credits OR IDS 230 Liberal Arts / Humanities: Great Books 3 credits
 Spring Session 2
 PTA 258 PTA in the Healthcare Arena 2 credits
 PTA 262 PTA Internship II 5 credits (280 hours)
 PTA 265 PTA Internship III 5 credits (280 hours)