Physical Therapist Assistant Career Program A.S.
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.
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)
|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|
|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|
|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
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), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (203) 857-7198 or email email@example.com.
The program has determined that its curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, based on the following:
CAPTE accreditation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant program satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at www.fsbpt.org.
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.
To provide quality instruction that prepares highly qualified entry level PTAs who:
- 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;
- Integrate appropriate communication strategies to effectively interact with and educate patients/clients, caregivers, health care providers, third-party payers and the general population;
- Apply strategies to effect continuous improvement of the physical therapy profession;
- Utilize human, fiscal and systems resources appropriately to provide efficient, ethical physical therapy services;
- Display professionalism, accountability, integrity and cultural competence in all of the duties associated with being a PTA; and
- Display compassion, caring, altruism and social responsibility, not only as a PTA, but as citizens of the community.